Engineering, Passenger Rail, Research & Development

Birmingham – Crewe high speed link to go ahead of schedule

Eurostar approaching the Medway Bridge in Strood, Kent. Photo: Creative Commons / ClemRutter

A further extension of the proposed high speed line between London and Birmingham will be opened six years early, the UK Government has said.

High Speed 2 (HS2), the government’s plan to build a high speed rail line from London to Birmingham by 2026, was to have an extension further north to Manchester and Liverpool by 2033.

But after hearing recommendations from HS2 boss Sir David Higgins, the government announced this week the line would be built as far as Crewe – a staging post between Birmingham and Manchester/Liverpool – while the line to Birmingham is under construction.

That means the London to Birmingham route should be completed by 2026, and the Birmingham to Crewe section by 2027, six years earlier than initially planned, the government said on November 30.

“Confirming that the route from the West Midlands to Crewe will open 6 years early is a major boost for the Midlands, Northern Powerhouse and beyond,” transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said.

McLoughlin said the government would work with landowners along the proposed section to protect the corridor from potential conflicting development.

“HS2 is a transformational scheme and we are committed to helping those who are affected by it,” he said.

“That is why we are proposing a comprehensive package of compensation and assistance for homeowners along the route, which goes well beyond what we are required to do by law.”

The government issuing safeguarding directions means owner-occupiers in the safeguarded area – usually 60 metres either side of the planned route – can serve the government with a blight notice, asking it to purchase their property.

“In addition to receiving the un-blighted value of their home, eligible owner-occupiers can also expect to receive a home-loss payment of 10% of the value of their home (up to £53,000) and reasonable moving costs,” the government explained.

Planning on High Speed 2 began in 2009, with the aim of extending England’s high speed rail network from London. High Speed 1 is the link between the UK end of the Channel Tunnel, and London.

In future, the high speed network could be extended to Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh, government and other bodies have proposed.

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