High Speed 2 (HS2) Ltd has proposed ditching plans to send its services to a parkway station on the outskirts of Sheffield in favour of using the existing central station.
The scheme promoter was previously thought to have favoured a station at Meadowhall to the north east of the city. But transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has been under pressure from lobbyists for years to ensure a city centre option won out.
HS2 chairman David Higgins, appointed in 2013, is now urging that the city centre option be built, setting out his plans in a new report, published today.
“A city centre station solution for Sheffield high speed services would allow the main HS2 line to be built east of the previously proposed route, through less densely populated areas that would avoid the complexities of building a line via Meadowhall,” said the promoter.
The newly proposed route could also cut journey times on services heading to Leeds, York and Newcastle, and is set to offer a £1bn cost saving.
“Projects of HS2’s size, scale and significance should seek to provide the maximum benefit for the people they serve,” said Higgins. “I have listened to the very constructive comments and discussions that have taken place on how HS2 should best serve South Yorkshire and recommend the option of HS2 services using the existing city centre station.
“Decisions of this scale sometimes involve compromise, and through dialogue I believe we have reached the best solution for South Yorkshire.”
The new option proposes that HS2 services between London and Sheffield would spur off the new north-south high speed line and travel directly to the existing Sheffield Midland station using the existing railway line. These trains could potentially also call at Chesterfield, it added.
There remained an option to extend HS2 services onwards to the existing Meadowhall station, Rotherham, or Barnsley in the future, it continued. HS2 Ltd will also investigate the possibility of a parkway station on this newly proposed route, which in part follows the M18 motorway.
McLoughlin will now consider Higgins’ report and is due to make an announcement on the full HS2 Phase 2 route later this year.