Transport secretary Chris Grayling has set out plans ‘confirming the majority of the route’ for Phase 2b of HS2, but with no final decision on proposals to link to Sheffield via a spur.
On its western leg, HS2 will continue from Crewe to Manchester Airport and then Manchester city centre, where a new HS2 station will be built next to Manchester Piccadilly.
On the eastern leg, HS2 will continue from the West Midlands to Toton in the East Midlands, where a new station will be built to serve the region, then through South Yorkshire to Leeds, where a new HS2 station will be built next to the existing Leeds city centre station.
Mr Grayling said he was proposing and would consult on seven ‘refinements’ to the route. One of these, following a recommendation from HS2 Ltd chairman Sir David Higgins, is that it should connect via a spur to the existing Sheffield station, with the main route moved further to the East.
The DfT said there would also be connections to Liverpool and the existing West Coast Main Line leading to Scotland, and also onto the East Coast Main Line, allowing HS2 to serve York and the North East.
Mr Grayling said: ‘The full HS2 route will be a game-changer for the country that will slash journey times and perhaps most importantly give rail passengers on the existing network thousands of extra seats every day.’
He also announced that enabling works contracts worth a total of £900m and covering the whole of Phase One have been awarded to:
- Area South – CS JV (Costain Group Plc, Skanska Construction UK Ltd)
- Area Central – Fusion JV (Morgan Sindall Plc, BAM Nuttall Ltd, Ferrovial Agroman (UK) Ltd)
- Area North – LM JV (Laing O’Rourke Construction Ltd, J Murphy & Sons Ltd)
The works include archaeological investigations, site clearance and the setting up of construction compounds ahead of the start of the main civil engineering work.
Mr Grayling also issued safeguarding directions for the preferred Phase 2b route, protecting it from conflicting development and allowing people affected by the plans to access statutory compensation.
He said he would also consult on discretionary property compensation schemes, which are ‘the same as those currently in operation for people living along the Phase One route’.
Two of these schemes will enter into operation on an interim basis, from today, these are Express Purchase and Need to Sell. Further information on property schemes can be found at www.gov.uk/hs2.
If confirmed by the government, all the property schemes will be in place until 1 year after the railway is fully operational.