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HS2 reveals plan to share lines with Northern Powerhouse Rail

Hs2 high speed 2 birmingham interchange visual 3to2

The first steps to fully integrating the second phase of High Speed 2 (HS2) with the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) scheme have been announced as HS2 launches its phase 2b design refinement consultation.

The integration of the two schemes - which up until now have been developed separately - will see NPR developed in “close” co-ordination with HS2, and is “intended to make use of HS2 lines where that makes sense”.

Phase 2b of the HS2 route will run from Crewe to Manchester on the western branch, and the West Midlands to Leeds on the eastern branch.

The strategic outline business case for the £39bn NPR scheme was approved in February and is a package of new lines and upgrades to improve east-west connections between Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds Sheffield and Hull and north to York and Newcastle.

Experts have been calling for the move including former HS2 independent design panel member Alistair Lenczner who is proposing a scheme, dubbed HS2 North, that uses existing rail infrastructure to replace sections of HS2

Last month, Transport for the North director of Northern Powerhouse Rail Tim Wood also told New Civil Engineer that both schemes would benefit from “synchronised procurement strategies”.

In a statement, transport secretary Chris Grayling said the proposals included for infrastructure that would “one day allow” NPR trains to use the HS2 route and vice versa.

The new consultation covers 11 changes being made to the design of the phase 2b route in a bid to make it more efficient, cost effective and minimise disruption.

These include plans to allow for two future junctions that could see the HS2 line into Manchester also used as part of NPR; further scope to support the interfaces with NPR (including at Leeds) and Midlands Connect; and work to upgrade existing sections of the rail network to allow HS2 trains to run between the south and north cities.

The refinements made to the design fall into three categories; relocations and realignments to make it more efficient; new infrastructure to facilitate construction or maintenance of the HS2 line and fleet; and new scope to ensure integration with the future NPR scheme.

The launch of the consultation comes at an uncertain time for the HS2 project with many fearing that it could get scrapped as part of a shake up with a new Conservative party leader.

Speaking to New Civil Engineer earlier this week, Grayling said that HS2 was essential and any new leader would “quickly realise” this.

“HS2 has the power to unlock capacity on the existing network, and my view is that whoever takes over, when they sit down and look at the practicalities and necessities of those projects, they will quickly realise that they are essential to the future of the country,” he said.

 Proposed design refinementDescription of proposed change

Relocations and Realignments

1 Relocation of the Palatine Road vent shaft, West Didsbury, Manchester The Secretary of State is minded to relocate the vent shaft for the Manchester tunnel to an alternative site within Withington golf course to reduce the impact on flood storage capacity in the area.
2 Relocation of the Lytham Road vent shaft to Birchfields Road, Fallowfield, Manchester The Secretary of State is minded to relocate the vent shaft, for the Manchester tunnel from the playing fields of Manchester Enterprise Academy on Lytham Road, to the car park of Fallowfield Retail Park on Birchfields Road.
3 Realignment of the route at junction 10 of the M42, North Warwickshire The Secretary of State is minded to replace the currently proposed cut and cover tunnel under junction 10 of the M42 with a bored tunnel to reduce impacts on the junction. This change requires a minor realignment of the route through Kingsbury Water Park.
4 Realignment of the route between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Diseworth, Leicestershire The Secretary of State is minded to realign approximately 13km of the current route by a maximum of 170m to the east between Ashby-de-la-Zouch and Diseworth. This is to reduce impacts associated with crossing former open-cast mines and historic landfills in the area between Ashby-de-laZouch and Diseworth.
5 Realignment of the route at Trowell in Nottinghamshire to avoid the M1 The Secretary of State is minded to realign the proposed route as it passes Trowell to avoid the need to permanently realign the M1.
6 Leeds corridor, Woodlesford to Leeds station The Secretary of State is minded to change the height of the route for 8km on the approach into Leeds station so the line runs predominantly on a viaduct, rather than a combination of at ground level cutting and embankment.

New Infrastructure

7 Temporary construction railhead and permanent maintenance facility at Ashley, Cheshire The Secretary of State is minded to introduce two pieces of new infrastructure near Ashley. One is a temporary railhead south of the route to support construction of the new railway. The second is a permanent infrastructure maintenance base – rail (IMB-R), for storage of overnight maintenance trains, at a separate site north of the route and to the west of Ashley.
8 Permanent maintenance facility at Austrey, North Warwickshire The Secretary of State is minded to introduce a permanent infrastructure maintenance base for rail – (IMB-R) near Austrey in North Warwickshire.
9 Temporary construction railhead at Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire The Secretary of State is minded to introduce a temporary construction railhead near junction 13 of the A42 and the existing Leicester to Burton upon Trent rail line, to support the construction of the HS2 new railway.
10 10 Permanent train stabling facility at Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne The Secretary of State is minded to include a stabling facility at Heaton, near Newcastle, to store high speed trains serving the north.

New Scope

11 Passive provision for two junctions at High Legh, Cheshire The Secretary of State is minded to include passive provision for two junctions to enable future use of the HS2 line into Manchester for NPR services between Manchester, Warrington and Liverpool; and a second to also allow HS2 services between London and Liverpool to use future NPR infrastructure.

Hs2 phase 2b locations of the proposed design refinements

HS2 phase 2b locations of the proposed design refinements

The consultation will run from 6 June until 11:45pm on 6 September.

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