Mayors of both Manchester and London have set out their priorities for HS2 in a letter sent to Transport Secretary, Mark Harper.
Both Andy Burnham and Sadiq Khan alongside Camden Council leader Cllr Georgia Gould and Manchester Council leader, Cllr Bev Craig have reiterated their collective belief that both an underground station at Manchester Piccadilly station, a London terminus at Euston, and not Old Oak Common are hugely important to the success of the project.
The letter comes ahead of the High Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill Select Committee which will be discussing the western leg Phase 2b Bill which commences on 12 June.
The calls for the governments continued commitment to the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and HS2 terminus at Piccadilly station follows the visit to Manchester by rail minister Huw Merriman last week, who reiterated the governments support for the project to continue. However, the plans outlined by the rail minister are different from the ambitions by the leaders of both Manchester and London.
The proposed NPR-HS2 terminus at Piccadilly is a huge rail infrastructure project. Including a completely new high-speed station, modifications to the existing Metrolink network at the station including a replacement turnback facility at New Islington. Those plans however at Manchester does not include provision for it to be underground, which Mark Thurston said last year, was cost prohibitive.
He said at the time: “It would have meant digging a very large underground box and cavern to accommodate all those platforms, and that would have cost very large sums of money. It would also have led to huge amounts of disruption in central Manchester.
“I think the estimates we had were up to £5bn extra for that station, so the Department, Ministers and the Government took the view that that was not the right thing to do, and that instead a surface station with a turn-back facility should be used, allowing trains to go in one way and come back out the other way.
In the letter, the leaders said: “The future NPR – HS2 station at Manchester Piccadilly will be at the heart of the UK’s high-speed rail network, and delivering the right solution at Manchester Piccadilly – an underground station that supports NPR in full, is important not just for the North, but for all of the UK, including London and the South East. We therefore want to work with Government to make sure it is built once and built right.”
Despite reports that suggested that HS2 was to be cut short in the capital, starting at Old Oak Common rather than Euston as planned, HS2 and the government remain committed to the terminus being built at Euston. The plans include an extended station and rail approach and also a completely new operations centre.
The letter calls for reassurances from the government that Euston terminus will be built with the leaders commenting: “We want to ensure HS2 connects with a London terminus at Euston, not six miles outside the city centre. The delay in ensuring the HS2 terminus is in Euston is causing continued frustration and uncertainty for many businesses and communities.”
Want to know more about the opportunities to become a key supplier to the UK rail industry? Attend TransCityRail and access an exclusive marketplace of buyers from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, Major Contractors, and all other tiers of the supply chain. For more information and to secure your place click here.