Tuesday, July 18, 2023

News: Latest on HS2 through South Yorkshire


The government has finally set out how it will assess the potential options to run HS2 trains into Leeds through South Yorkshire given that it has ditched plans for the Phase 2b Eastern leg and scaled back ambitions for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).

A number of potential routes, with some that include the potential for a stop in Rotherham, have been confirmed.

The government announced in November 2021 that the HS2 Phase 2b Eastern leg will terminate at East Midlands Parkway and no longer reach Leeds through the communities in the east of Rotherham. Instead, the completion of the electrification of the Midland Main Line (MML) (due in the early 2030s) would allow high speed journeys from London to Chesterfield and Sheffield in the same times to those originally proposed by HS2.

The Government wants to see whether "similar or better benefits could be obtained in a more affordable way, earlier and allow for an iterative approach to delivery" and is now using an "adaptive approach" to further projects beyond the core pipeline.

The £96 billion Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands also scaled back ambitions for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) and added that a study of route options to take HS2 to Leeds will be led by Network Rail.

Now the terms of reference for the study, which is expected to take two years to complete, have been published.

In its scope is an assessment of the different options for HS2 services to Leeds, following on from work done on the strategic alternatives to the Eastern Leg for the Integrated Rail Plan.

The documents explain: "The study will assess viable choices consistent with the decisions reached in the Integrated Rail Plan. These would include but are not limited to:

- via Newark: the extension of HS2 Nottingham services via Newark and the East Coast Main Line route
- via Sheffield: the extension of HS2 services from Sheffield
- via Manchester: the extension of HS2 services from Manchester assuming Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) infrastructure and the HS2 Phase 2b Western Leg as set out in the High-Speed Rail (Crewe-Manchester) Bill, including a new high-speed surface station at Manchester Piccadilly
- via Erewash: with upgrades and electrification to the Erewash Valley and Old Road lines, as well as sections of a new line to complete a route to Leeds
- via full Eastern Leg: completing the HS2 Eastern Leg from the East Midlands broadly, as previously scoped

"During the course of the study, we intend to review the case for focusing development work on a smaller number of options taking account of evidence including costs, affordability, benefits and value for money."

Rothbiz highlighted some of these alternative routes last year with the options most likely to serve Rotherham being the upgrade and electrification of the route north of Sheffield to Leeds, or the upgrade of the Erewash Valley line and the "Old Road" between Clay Cross Junction and Masborough Junction. A new high speed line between broadly Rotherham and Leeds, known as the "M18 Short Alignment" would connect to the northern leg of the currently proposed Eastern leg into Leeds.

Plans for a new mainline station for Rotherham are being progressed, backed by government cash.

Whilst the Government studies how best to take HS2 services to Leeds, safeguarding of the previously proposed high speed route through Rotherham (affecting Wales, Aston, Ulley, Brampton-en-le–Morthen, Thurcroft, Bramley, Ravenfield and Hooton Roberts) will remain in place, extending the period of uncertainty for property owners.

The Transport Committee has looked at the government's decision to scale back NPR and has expressed concern over the continued delays. Its chair, Iain Stewart MP, said: "One can only wonder if all of this will still be achievable within the £96bn spending envelope, or whether inflation and rising interest rates will continue to cut this budget down in real terms.”

HS2 website

Images: HS2 Ltd


Anonymous,  July 18, 2023 at 12:51 PM  

As someone who as actually worked on this project,I can say that we don't want it in this area.Thr area I worked,the job was chaos,, excavation and environmental damage on a massive scale,only to find out that, they'd excavated and destroyed woodlands that they didn't need too.Massive waste of money and environmental vandalism on an unimaginable scale.No.thanks!

Jez July 19, 2023 at 4:44 PM  

That's levelling up for you!

Steven Cutts August 13, 2023 at 7:34 PM  

Hs2 is basic and essential infrastructure that is already twenty years late. Our failure to complete this project is humiliating. Now we must start what we have finished extending high speed rail from London and ultimately to Scotland.

Anonymous,  October 1, 2023 at 6:10 PM  

The improvements of MML - London to Sheffield is welcome but it seems clear that Sheffield (along with Barnsley & Rotherham) only 35 miles from Leeds and Manchester, is now excluded from being in the 'Northern Powerhouse' because we are South of the Pennines and, therefore, will miss any improved links to further North.
An opportunity was there with HS2, now lost. (Possibly more important than quick journeys to London)

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