News story

HS2 route to the East Midlands, Leeds and Manchester set out by the government

Government sets out its preferred route for Phase Two of HS2 from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds.

  • government has set out its preferred route from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds
  • completing this phase will unlock the full benefits of HS2
  • when HS2 is complete in 2033 the total number of main line commuter and intercity trains per hour each way into and out of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds will almost double to 48 - the total number of intercity seats will treble to almost 15,000 per hour
  • new £900 million contract awarded for preparatory work for the West Midlands to London route

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today (15 November 2016) confirmed the majority of the preferred HS2 route from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds in a major boost for the UK’s future economic prosperity and a further clear signal the country is open for business.

This is a major step towards:

  • significantly increasing capacity on our congested railways for both passengers and freight
  • improving connections between the biggest cities and regions
  • generating jobs, skills and economic growth
  • helping build an economy that works for all

The new HS2 trains will carry over 300,000 people a day and will triple seats available out of Euston at peak hours, freeing up space on the existing network for additional commuter and freight services.

HS2 will create around 25,000 jobs during construction as well as 2,000 apprenticeships. It will also support growth in the wider economy, worth an additional 100,000 jobs.

The direct benefits of HS2 will reach far beyond the towns and regions directly served by the newly built railway lines. As the full network is completed, new HS2 trains will continue up the East and West Coast Main Lines, serving areas including:

  • Stafford
  • Liverpool
  • Preston
  • Warrington
  • Wigan
  • Carlisle
  • Glasgow
  • York
  • Darlington
  • Durham
  • Newcastle
  • Edinburgh
HS2 improving connections between our cities and regions.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said:

Our railways owe much to the Victorian engineers who pioneered them, but we cannot rest on their legacy when we face overcrowding and capacity problems.

HS2 is an ambitious and exciting project and the government is seizing the opportunity it offers to build a transport network fit for the 21st century; one that works for all and makes clear to the world that Britain remains open for business.

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. They represent the greatest upgrade to our railway in living memory.

But while it will bring significant benefits, I recognise the difficulties faced by communities along the route. They will be treated with fairness, compassion and respect and, as with Phase One, we intend to introduce further compensation which goes over and above what is required by law.

The Transport Secretary has today also announced that HS2 Ltd has awarded a £900 million contract 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)

so that construction on the first phase of HS2 between the West Midlands and London can get underway next year as planned.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said:

The new HS2 routes laid out today will make sure our plans to create an economy that works for everyone remain right on track.

We are determined to get both the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse firing on all cylinders and HS2 will help create new growth, jobs and homes right across the line.

The Transport Secretary has published a command paper High Speed Two: from Crewe to Manchester, the West Midlands to Leeds and beyond, setting out today’s announcement in more detail.

On the western leg, HS2 will:

  • continue north from Crewe to Manchester Airport
  • continue from Manchester Airport on to Manchester city centre, where a new HS2 station will be built next to Manchester Piccadilly

There will also be a connection to Liverpool and to the existing West Coast main line allowing HS2 services to continue north, serving stations to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

On the eastern leg, HS2 will:

  • continue from the West Midlands to Toton in the East Midlands, where a new HS2 station will be built to serve Nottingham, Derby and the wider region
  • continue north from the East Midlands to South Yorkshire
  • in line with Sir David Higgins’ recommendation, we propose HS2 should serve Sheffield with a connection to the existing station with the main route be moved further east and we will be consulting before a final decision is made next year
  • from South Yorkshire, HS2 will continue to Leeds where a new HS2 station will be built in Leeds city centre, adjacent to the existing station
  • HS2 will also have a connection onto the East Coast Main Line, allowing HS2 to serve York, Newcastle and other places in the north-east

There are 7 refinements on which Department for Transport is consulting.

These are, on the western leg:

  • to move the previously proposed rolling stock depot at Golborne to a site north of Crewe
  • to move the approach to Manchester Piccadilly up to 370 metres eastwards with the northern tunnel portal in Ardwick, to avoid direct impacts on residential properties and a school at West Gorton
  • to move the route in the Middlewich - Northwich area in Cheshire up to 800 metres westwards

On the eastern leg:

  • to move the route to the east of Measham in Leicestershire, avoiding the most significant impacts on local manufacturing businesses and development sites
  • to go around instead of tunnel under East Midlands Airport
  • to amend the alignment of the preferred route as it passes through Long Eaton to reduce severance in the local community and reduce impacts on the highway network and existing rail infrastructure
  • to move the alignment of the route from Derbyshire to West Yorkshire to reflect a change in the proposals for serving the Sheffield city region, as recommended by Sir David Higgins in his report Sheffield and South Yorkshire published in July 2016

The Department for Transport has today issued safeguarding directions for the preferred Phase 2b route which protects the preferred route from conflicting development and also means that those people who are most affected by the plans to build Phase 2b can now apply to the government to buy their home.

The department is also consulting on discretionary property schemes. These schemes are the same as those currently in operation for people living along the Phase One route. Two of these schemes will enter into operation from today on an interim basis - these are Express Purchase and Need to Sell, and if confirmed by the government, all the schemes will be in place until 1 year after the railway is fully operational.

As part of the HS2 Woodland Fund we have made available an initial allocation of £1 million to the Forestry Commission to support projects that will help restore, enhance and extend ancient woodland on private land or in partnership with multiple landowners . This could support projects similar to the restoration of Chalkney Wood in Essex that has successfully removed all the conifers from an ancient woodland to restore it to native species.

The government originally set out plans for HS2 Phase Two in 2013. Since then it was decided to develop Phase Two in 2 stages:

  • Phase 2a – from the West Midlands to Crewe that was announced last year
  • Phase 2b – from Crewe to Manchester and from the West Midlands to Leeds, South Yorkshire and the East Midlands

Phase 2a will open in 2027, Phase 2b in 2033.

More about HS2 Phase Two, from the West Midlands to Leeds and Manchester.

HS2 and major projects media enquiries