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HS2 link could complete six years early

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The government has announced that the section of the High Speed 2 line between Birmingham and Crewe could be finished six years earlier than planned

The Department for Transport has announced that it has decided to deliver construction of the rail route - including a plan by Farrells to create a High Speed 2 ‘super-hub’ station at Crewe - by 2027 rather than 2033.

In a command paper, it said that work by Network Rail suggests that it is feasible to deliver the new hub station at Crewe.

It said: ‘A Crewe hub station would generate significant opportunities – not only for Crewe itself but also for the surrounding sub-region.’

However, it said that further detailed work on costs and funding is required before a final decision is made next autumn.

Last October, Farrells unveiled a masterplan for Crewe on behalf of Cheshire East Council, with the enormous new station at its heart.

The proposed hub would integrate HS2, West Coast Main Line and local train services on a single level.

The government said it has yet to make a decision on whether other proposed sections of the second phase can be brought forward early. The first phase from Birmingham to London is currently planned to open in 2026.

However, a new report by HS2 chairman David Higgins has recommended an integrated design for the HS2 station in Leeds, ‘while maintaining a southerly route into the city’.

The government said it would examine arguments in favour of a station located in Sheffield city centre - its current favoured option is located outside the city at Meadowhall.

In addition, the government said that ‘a station at Manchester Piccadilly continues to look like the right location for HS2’s Manchester terminus’, whilst also backing a separate station at Manchester Airport.

Higgins also recommended an East Midlands hub station should be located at Toton, to serve the East Midlands.

He said: “It has been very gratifying, as we develop the plans for phase two, to see a consensus grow among the city regions in the East Midlands and Yorkshire on the siting of future hub stations at Toton and Leeds city centre respectively.’

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