With delays and changes to plans, the Mayors of Greater Manchester and London have jointly called for HS2 to be built, in full, from London Euston station to Manchester Piccadilly station.
The letter also outlines the importance of building Manchester Piccadilly as an underground station that supports Northern Powerhouse Rail in full — rather than the proposed above-ground station — and that HS2 connects with a London terminus at Euston, not six miles outside the city centre.
Euston station has been delayed, meaning that when the HS2’s first leg, between Birmingham and London opens in around 2030, the London terminus will be in west London, at Old Oak Common.
The changes to the HS2 railway have alarmed railway experts, who have repeatedly noted that the bulk of the benefit comes from the later phases of the railway north of Birmingham, where there’s far more scope to improve the lack of regional railway services when HS2 opens.
The letter was sent ahead of Parliamentary committee meetings later this month which will discuss the plans for the Manchester leg of the HS2 railway.
“We are at a critical point in shaping how our country works and how our major economic centres are connected, not just for a couple of decades but for generations to come.
The Western Leg of the HS2 Phase 2b Bill has now reached Committee Stage in the House of Commons, with discussions about the future shape of a Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) – HS2 station at Manchester Piccadilly set to commence in the next few weeks.
The future NPR – HS2 station at Manchester Piccadilly will be at the heart of the UK’s high-speed rail network, and delivering the right solution at Manchester Piccadilly – an underground station that supports NPR in full, is important not just for the North, but for all of the UK, including London and the South East. We therefore want to work with Government to make sure it is built once and built right.
At the same time, we want to ensure HS2 connects with a London terminus at Euston, not six miles outside the city centre. The people of the London Borough of Camden have already made significant sacrifices for the Euston project, with many having had their homes and businesses demolished or relocated. The delay in ensuring the HS2 terminus is in Euston is causing continued frustration and uncertainty for many businesses and communities
Furthermore, the knock-on effect on London’s transport system as a result of this delay is extremely concerning. Without the Government supporting the acquisition of additional rolling stock for the Elizabeth Line, to carry people between the temporary terminus of Old Oak Common and central London, the capacity benefits of the line could be virtually wiped out due to the delay.
We are clear that London therefore needs support to mitigate the problems caused by this delay, and that the capital, and indeed the rest of the country, needs certainty that the HS2 terminus will be at Euston.
Across the business community, both in London and the North, there is a consensus that current plans for both stations could permanently damage Britain’s economic ambitions. If we are committed to growing our economy, and connecting our cities, then we need to make sure we get this right now, not hamstring the opportunities of future generations.
We will formally make our case to the Committee this month, but it is Government that ultimately makes the decision on the right solutions for the NPR – HS2 station at Manchester Piccadilly and at Euston Station. We ask you to now commit to working with us to build it once and build it right.”