The company building HS2 has put forward new route proposals involving a spur to Sheffield city centre, scrapping plans for a new station at Meadowhall, to the east of the city.
HS2 Ltd said the ‘alternative recommendations’ in a report by chairman David Higgins would cut journey times and reduce the cost of the high speed rail project by around £1bn.
Sheffield station, in the city centre
The new option proposes that HS2 services between London and Sheffield would take a spur off the orth-south high speed line and travel directly to the existing Sheffield station using the existing railway line. These trains could potentially also call at Chesterfield.
HS2 Ltd said a ‘city centre station solution’ for Sheffield would allow the main HS2 line to be built east of the previous route, ‘through less densely populated areas that would avoid the complexities of building a line via Meadowhall’.
It will also investigate the possibility of a parkway station on this newly proposed route, which in part follows the M18 motorway. There is also the future option of HS2 services extending onwards to the existing Meadowhall station, Rotherham, or Barnsley.
Mr Higgins said: ‘Projects of HS2’s size, scale and significance should seek to provide the maximum benefit for the people they serve. I have listened to the very constructive comments and discussions that have taken place on how HS2 should best serve South Yorkshire and recommend the option of HS2 services using the existing city centre station.
‘Decisions of this scale sometimes involve compromise, and through dialogue I believe we have reached the best solution for South Yorkshire.’
Sir Nigel Knowles, chair of the Sheffield City Region LEP welcoming the alternative plans, which will be considered by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, who will make an announcement on the full HS2 Phase 2 route later this year.
HS2 Ltd said using the existing Sheffield station also opens up the possibility of running high speed trains from the city to Leeds by building a link back onto the main HS2 line north of Sheffield.
It said such a link could deliver Transport for the North’s ambition for a frequent 30 minute journey time between the two cities, and might also be used by Birmingham-Leeds HS2 services, allowing them to route through Sheffield.
Stop HS2 campaign Manager Joe Rukin said: ‘The decision of HS2 Ltd not to build a new station in Sheffield is an admission that their original route could not be delivered due to unstable ground conditions, and that they desperately need to cut their ever spiralling costs.'