The final route for HS2's second phase, which encompasses the Y-shaped network towards Manchester and Leeds, has been confirmed today by the government.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said the decided route to the north west, East Midlands and Yorkshire will mean newly built homes on a South Yorkshire housing estate will be demolished.
One of the most controversial sections surrounded the path HS2 would take through Sheffield. Plans for a specific HS2 parkway station at a shopping centre had faced backlash from city councillors.
And the alternative confirmed today, plans to serve the station in the city centre, with the service running on existing lines and providing "frequent 30 minute services between Sheffield and Leeds".
But that route will cut through the Shimmer housing estate in Mexborough, with the department for transport saying 16 properties would need to be demolished. The government said it will ensure homeowners on the estate can secure "a comparable local home". For those whose homes need to be acquired for HS2, the existing statutory compensation package provides "unblighted market value plus 10 per cent, plus moving costs".
But former Labour leader and MP for Doncaster North Ed Miliband, called the choice of route "wrong and perverse without evidence of logic". He said the majority of respondents to the consultation on the option were against the proposal.
Govt. announces choice of M18 route in emailed letter to me. Wrong and perverse without evidence or logic. Manner of announcement insult.— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) July 17, 2017
Command Paper on HS2 report confirms 271 respondents for M18 route, 4157 against, a ratio of 15:1. #shamconsultation— Ed Miliband (@Ed_Miliband) July 17, 2017
Grayling said of today's announcement:
By building a whole new railway line for high-speed intercity connections, we will free up local services, meaning more comfort, more seats and more trains for passengers across the north and the midlands.
We will now press ahead with building the line, while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect.
In November, the government published the majority of the route HS2 will take north of Birmingham, with a consultation ongoing for seven areas. Today, Grayling confirmed six of the seven changes included then, such as changing the alignment of the route on the approach to Manchester Piccadilly station to avoid direct residential impacts, and tweaking the East Midlands Airport route to follow the eastern side of the A42 more closely.
He decided not to proceed with the proposed change of route at Measham, which would have meant the alignment move away from the A42; instead the route has been moved 80m further east from the preferred option from 2013, and the viaduct extended to mitigate commercial property impacts.
The first phase is due to open in December 2026, with the first trains between London and Birmingham, before continuing onto the existing West Coast Main Line. The government has announced a new franchise would initially operate both.
Meanwhile phase 2b, from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to the East Midlands and Leeds, is set to open in 2033.
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David Higgins, HS2’s chairman, said: “Today we have taken a huge step forward in connecting 8 of our largest cities, freeing up space on our railways and building a catalyst for growth across the country. Once completed 30 million people will be served by HS2 across over 25 stations, helping to change the economic geography of the country, and bring prosperity to the midlands, the north, and beyond."
|The HS2 route decisions|
|1. Relocating the western leg rolling stock depot from a site near Golborne to a site north of Crewe|
|2. Changing the alignment over a 26km length of route in the Middlewich-Northwich area of Cheshire, raising it as it passes the salt caverns to avoid brining and gas storage infrastructure|
|3. Changing the alignment of the route on the approach to Manchester Piccadilly station to avoid direct residential impacts and a primary school|
|4. Locating the route through Long Eaton on a high level viaduct through the town immediately adjacent to the existing low-level rail corridor|
|5. Changing the route near East Midlands Airport, so the route follows the eastern side of the A42 more closely, avoids a tunnel under the airport, does not cross the A42, and reduces the impacts on some communities|
|6. The re-alignment of the route between Derbyshire and West Yorkshire, which will be the route consulted in 2016, in part following the M1 and M18, and serves Sheffield City Centre via a spur from the HS2 line|
|7. Not to go-ahead with the proposed change of route at Measham; instead confirming a modified version of the 2013 preferred route, moving it around 80m further east|