18th July 2017
More details have emerged of how HS2, the government's planned high speed rail line, will affect Crewe and its surroundings.
The final route was confirmed yesterday, as were plans to build a new hub station on the existing site of Crewe train station.
We heard yesterday that this was the preferred option for HS2 bosses though it apparently was not confirmed.
Since then, Crewe and Nantwich MP Laura Smith has asked for reassurances in the commons. She said: “I asked yesterday in the chamber, will the hub definitely be at the current Crewe station, and they confirmed to me that it certainly would be. I will be holding the Secretary of State to that promise.”
So what can we expect?
Those behind the project say that journey times between Crewe and London will be cut from 90 minutes to just 55 minutes.
The Crewe tunnel, initially proposed in 2013, will now be longer than originally planned. This will help reduce the impact on Hough and Basford.
Connections to the West Coast Mainline have been penciled in for further south which is expected to alleviate construction in the town. The government also says Crewe’s connectivity to the rest of Cheshire and Merseyside makes it an ideal location.
Campaigners are unhappy with the plans however over concerns for the environment as well as cost.
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said: “More environmental destruction, more cost, but no new ideas – that’s what HS2 Phase 2 b is. While it has been presented to help transport in the north, HS2 is mainly about making it easier to get to London, as there are no east west links involved. It will make no difference to journeys from Leeds to Manchester or Sheffield to Manchester. And with no links to HS1 in the plans, it will not help with journeys from the north to continental Europe.
“Not only have the Government published the route for Phase 2b without giving MPs a chance to discuss it with any Transport minister today, they also admitted on Friday that they still hadn’t finished analysing the consultation responses about the route they have chosen. This is entirely typical of the way they work with HS2, they ignore any possible problems with the project so they can claim to be sticking to an unrealistic timetable.”
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling hit back at those claims in the commons, he said: “It is incredible, inconceivable, and simply nonsense to suggest that HS2 would cost five times more than HS1 cost per mile. This project has a cost attached of £55.7bn for the whole thing, it is currently on time and on budget and I expect it to stay that way.”
Laura Smith welcomed the announcement, she said: “This is the chance for Crewe to get back on the map with regards for being a railway town. We have to make sure that Crewe does benefit and that means with jobs, how people locally can be transported, we are certainly not looking at just becoming a commuter town for London.”