Interested stakeholders are to be consulted over the ‘possibility’ of building a high speed rail hub station in Cheshire.
The Department for Transport has published the hybrid bill for high speed rail routes linking London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
Cheshire East Council, HS2 and Network Rail have put together a business case for a hub station at Crewe which would be built at the existing station rather than the first mooted Basford site.
Although HS2 and the DoT have backed proposals for a hub station in principle a viable financial case to bring the hub station to Crewe is still to be finalised.
A four month consultation will now take place to assess the potential for a hub station at Crewe and the government will work with Cheshire East Council and other interested parties to look at a business model to fund the proposals.
The transport department say plans for the route to Crewe will improve connections across the north west and HS2 services could potentially be introduced to Stoke.
Crewe will link up to the West Coast main line, Manchester and Birmingham.
This consultation seeks views on:
- Building 400 metre platforms at Crewe station to enable longer trains to and from London
- Providing a Junction north of Crewe station to connect to the West Coast Main Line.
The hub consultation states: "Proposals for a Crewe hub are additional to the core HS2 scheme and any future decisions on whether to take forward proposals for a hub will be subject to affordability."
Infrastructure options include enabling more HS2 services to stop at Crewe and provide the opportunity to serve Stoke.
The hub consultation will also examine future freight and local and regional passenger services
The DoT will now consult with local authorities, local enterprise partnerships, the rail industry, passengers, businesses and communities.
Councillor Rachel Bailey, leader of Cheshire East Council, said: "We welcome the Hybrid Bill for Phase 2a of HS2, from Birmingham to Crewe, being put before Parliament. This is a key milestone for this ‘once in a generation’ rail project, which will see a Crewe hub station opening in 2027.
“This council also welcomes further recognition of the overwhelming case for a HS2 hub station in Crewe. We are pleased to see that the Department for Transport has launched a consultation on the Crewe HS2 hub station and related components. The council will consider the consultation proposals in detail to ensure our consultation responses reflect the best possible outcomes for Cheshire East residents.
“This council and the Constellation Partnership (a sub-regional group of neighbouring local authorities and local enterprise partnerships) now look forward to the opportunity to vigorously press the case for the enormous benefits to the economy that an enhanced HS2 hub station at Crewe – with unrivalled 360-degree connectivity and up to seven high-speed trains an hour serving Manchester, Birmingham and London – would deliver, not only to the sub-region but also to the Midlands, North West and Wales.
“I would also reiterate that we wish to see the highest standards of mitigation and compensation for those people and businesses affected by the route.”
Transport secretary Chris Grayling said: "Britain’s new railway line will bring huge economic benefits across the country and help ensure this government delivers on its promise to spread wealth beyond London and the south east.
“But as well as creating skilled jobs, apprenticeships and business opportunities, it will also mean real day-to-day improvements for people across the country.
By building a whole new railway line for high-speed intercity connections, we will free up local services, meaning more comfort, more seats and more trains for passengers across the north and the midlands.
He added: “We will now press ahead with building the line, while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect."
David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Ltd said: “Today we have taken a huge step forward in connecting eight of our largest cities, freeing up space on our railways and building a catalyst for growth across the country. Once completed 30 million people will be served by HS2 across over 25 stations, helping to change the economic geography of the country, and bring prosperity to the midlands, the north, and beyond.”