Recently, plans for the HS2 rail system changed from implementing an underground station in Manchester to an overground station. This has caused Manchester to strike back with a petition to reverse the decision, with hopes to better benefit surrounding communities.
With the completion of the HS2 high speed integrated rail system– which will reduce journey times to London to 62 minutes as well as shorten journeys across the North respectively – Manchester’s position as a global economic hub and gateway to the UK will be consolidated and expanded.
The ability to offer reliable and resilient connectivity is not only important for existing businesses, but it is also a determining factor in attracting new businesses with critical need for logistics and commercial transport links.
However, recent changes have seen the integrated rail system plan for an overground station, instead of its previously intended underground station.
This has caused issues with both residents and the local council, as they believe an overground station will negatively affect surrounding communities, reverse regeneration plans and pollute nearby areas.
“An overground station would stymie the continuing regeneration of east Manchester for a decade or halt it completely in some areas, while severing the city’s Metrolink service for years…”
With the implementation of HS2, Manchester was hoping to future-proof the city, however, the overground station’s plans indicate full capacity upon day one, meaning there will be no opportunity to add extra services in the future, negatively effecting future connectivity and being unable to deal with an increased number of passengers delivered by the constantly growing city.
Thankfully, as the petition continues, news on a new rail system that can be implemented sooner than the expected 2040 date of HS2 has been announced.
The government and Grant Shapps detailed a £96bn integrated rail plan, with a completion date of 2025.
Grant Shapps, Transport Secretary has said, “This is the single biggest investment any government has ever made in Britain’s railways. It’s right up there and probably beyond what the Victorians were doing.”
The detailed rail plan promises to improve the TransPenine route. The newly planned integrated investment promises two extra trains every hour between Manchester and York, as well as a 40%reduction in train journeys. Previously, a train from Leeds to Manchester would take 1 hour without disruption, but the investment plans to cut this journey to30 minutes.
This new system will tie over the city until HS2 has completed and will positively benefit surrounding areas as it will be integrated with the currently existing Piccadilly and Victoria train stations.