Could Manchester have an HS2 underground station?

A plan for a new Manchester Piccadilly Airline Station to accommodate HS2 and improved northern rail links would squander some of the huge potential benefits of this unique scheme, the council warns.

As the Government prepares to table the HS2 Bill to pave the way for the construction of the Crewe to Manchester phase of HS2, Chief of Council Cllr Bev Craig has called on the Government and HS2 Ltd to reconsider their approach – outlining instead a case for why a metro station would be much better for the city and the North as a whole.

With the station, to be built next to what is now Manchester Piccadilly, at the heart of the northern rail network and with HS2 seen as key to rebalancing the national economy, the message is: ‘We only have a chance and we cannot afford to misunderstand.”

Decisions made today will have implications for the next century.

Photo: rail network

Manchester City Council strongly supports the principle of HS2 which will provide vital extra capacity on our already congested rail network, improve connections between the North of England, West Midlands and London and act as a catalyst for more economic growth. large.

It will also contribute in the long term to reducing carbon and NO2 emissions by offering an attractive alternative to car travel.

Although the surface option as designed will always provide benefits, it will fail to maximize them and will create its own problems compared to the preferred underground option.

A surface station would be swallow in more vital land that could have been used for developments creating new jobs and other opportunities, the council says.

Estimates from independent advisers suggest that the additional land required by the air station and its associated infrastructure would result in the loss of almost half a million square meters of prime land that could have supported around 14,000 jobs.

In addition, approximately 2,600 jobs located within the construction area required by the surface option will be lost immediately as the work proceeds. This short-term impact for an underground station would be much less.

By 2050, the analysis concludes, the economic benefits to the city and region of the underground option would be £333m a year greater than the benefits of the aerial plan.

An above-ground station would also create the need for unwanted above-ground infrastructure that will dominate parts of the city, the council said.

This infrastructure, including huge new concrete viaducts, would overshadow parts of East Manchester, creating an unsightly environment and hampering connections between areas.

And they said that would fail to “sustain” the new station. Previous modeling commissioned by the Council and TfGM (the Bechtel report) showed that it would be at full capacity from day one – meaning there would be no scope for increased passenger numbers in the coming year and jeopardize its reliability and resilience.

The underground option would address all of these issues and create a station capable of supporting growth and better integrated with surrounding areas and other modes of transportation.

“We welcome the fact that HS2 is still coming to Manchester,” said Councilor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council.

“We know we could be seen as lucky compared to other northern cities that are also calling for rail improvements.

“But that only makes it all the more important that we maximize the benefits of what is delivered, not just for the city, but for the North as a whole.

“The aerial plan is the wrong one. It will be cheaper to build in the short term, but in the long term it will cost the region’s economy much more in missed opportunities.

“It will also cause greater disruption during its construction and leave a legacy of unsightly overpasses and other above-ground infrastructure that limit our ability to create new homes or jobs.

“Restricting the potential of what will be one of the most connected places in the country makes no sense.

“Nor is building a station with capacity constraints that would compromise its reliability and resilience from day one.

“We urge the government and HS2 Ltd to reconsider the compelling case of a tube station.

“This would not only solve the problems posed by the surface option, but create a station empowered to support growth, jobs and other opportunities and help achieve the government’s proclaimed leveling ambitions.

“If they want the option that provides the greatest benefits for years to come, they need to look below the surface.”

Bonny J. Streater