Plans to connect Manchester with the new High Speed rail service (HS2) have been confirmed.
The second part of the project will link Crewe to Manchester Airport and Manchester Airport to Manchester city centre. A new station, fit to host HS2, will also be built close to Manchester Piccadilly.
The route will then proceed further north to Glasgow and Edinburg through the already existing West Coast main line.
Greater Manchester Combined Authorities (GMCA) has welcomed the project saying it could lead to 180,000 more jobs by 2040. Greater Manchester’s GVA could also see an increase of £1.3billion.
The Manchester Piccadilly area will also go through a renovation scheme. 4,500 new local houses will be built and 700,000spm will be dedicated to commercial and retail services.
Richard Leese, Leader of Manchester City Council and GMCA Lead for Economic Strategy, spoke about the benefits HS2 could bring. He said that Greater Manchester will become “a hub for rail improvements”, promoting “a sound economic future” for the region.
Tony Lloyd, Greater Manchester Mayor, said that the northern voices have been heard. It is now “critical” to proceed with the project to deliver “real benefits” for the people of Greater Manchester.
News of the project, which will cost the government £56bn, has, however, sparked lots of controversy around the community.
Stop HS2, a campaign against the new rail service, strongly opposes the project. They claim the number of inter-city trains will be cut. This will disadvantage “many places which are currently through stops on the routes to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds”.
Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 Campaign Manager, said that the HS2 will demand cuts of up to £8.3bn to existing services. Moreover, according to international evidence, “any economic benefit wouldn’t be felt in the Midlands or North, but in London”.
The HS2 services to Manchester are expected to open in 2033.