Monday, July 17, 2017

News: Government confirms HS2 route through Rotherham

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The Government has confirmed its chosen route of the HS2 line through South Yorkshire as the M18 route that was consulted upon last year - with a station in Sheffield city centre and a fast route to Leeds through the East of Rotherham.

Superseding a 2013 route with a station at Meadowhall, the 2016 option proposes that HS2 services between London and Sheffield would take a 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 will also call at Chesterfield.

The 2016 announcement also discussed the potential future option of HS2 services extending onwards to the existing Meadowhall station, Rotherham, or Barnsley and a study was set to look at the potential for a parkway station on the M18/Eastern leg of the HS2 route which could serve the South Yorkshire area as a whole.

Despite 4,157 respondents expressing opposition to the new proposals, a station at Meadowhall has been dropped. A northern loop out of Sheffield Midland has not been confirmed and the documents add that although "work continues, no decision has been made on a parkway station."

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A Government report on the consultation concludes: "Having carefully considered the points made by respondents to the consultation and further advice from HS2 Ltd, the Secretary of State has decided that confirming the route as consulted in 2016 supports his strategic aims of serving South Yorkshire whilst maintaining the integrity of the service to the larger markets in Leeds, York and the North East and direct connectivity into northern city centres in support of the Northern Powerhouse ambition.

"The Secretary of State has also asked HS2 Ltd to take forward work on a connection back onto the HS2 main line north of Sheffield through a northern junction in the vicinity of Clayton (with powers sought in the Phase 2b hybrid Bill) to support delivery of TfN's ambition for frequent 30 minute services between Sheffield and Leeds. Provision for this junction is to be made within the HS2 budget."

HS2 Ltd has compared an unpublished refined route through Meadowhall with the new route on the M18 / Eastern alignment.

The Economic Case published today concludes: "There were no alternatives to Phase 2b that could deliver the same level of benefit for the country, stand the test of time and provide the same level of capacity, connectivity and service that Phase 2b does in pursuit of our strategic objectives."

The HS2 line East of Rotherham would enter the borough at Woodhall Services as it follows the line of the M1. It would then switch to follow the route of the M18 motorway before heading out of the borough on a curve through the Dearne Valley. In Rotherham, it would affect Wales, Aston, Ulley, Brampton-en-le–Morthen, Thurcroft, Bramley, Ravenfield and Hooton Roberts.

All of this route section has a design speed of 360km/h (223 mph) to allow the route to follow close to the M1 and M18 motorway corridors.

Regarding the environmental impacts, HS2 Ltd said it will consider in greater detail options for mitigating the landscape impact of this route alignment, including at locations such as Aston.

The Government response admitted that "The decision about how HS2 can best serve the South Yorkshire region has been difficult as the considerations informing the decision are finely balanced, and opinion amongst local stakeholders about the best location for an HS2 station in the region has remained divided."

Rotherham Council registered a strong opposition during the consultation, instead backing the Meadowhall option, stating that: "Rotherham is not served at all by the proposals, but suffers the devastating impact of the line." Sheffield Council, who pushed for the station to be in the city centre at Victoria, argued that a proposed HS2 station at Midland still offered opportunities that would exceed what a station at Meadowhall could have offered.

The Government said that it remains on track to open the link from London to Birmingham in 2026, the route to Crewe in 2027 and the routes to the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Manchester in 2033.

HS2 Ltd website

Images: HS2 Ltd


1 comments:

Bob Langley July 18, 2017 at 10:07 AM  

The Government have carefully considered the points made by the respondents. Think not. This all leaves a bad taste.

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