Will HS2 stop in Staffordshire?

MP calls for HS2 stop in Staffordshire

Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy is calling for a HS2 station in Staffordshire

  • Will there be a HS2 station in Staffordshire?

Business leaders and politicians in Staffordshire are making the case for a high speed rail station (HS2) to be built in the north of the county.

The Y-route north for HS2 will be published in the coming months and will connect London and the West Midlands with Manchester and Leeds.

The eastern branch will have stops in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire before reaching Leeds.

The western branch runs from the West Midlands to Manchester and the business community in north Staffordshire has expressed a keen desire for HS2 to stop in the county.

Stafford MP Jeremy Lefroy (Conservative) will meet Transport Secretary Justine Greening to press north Staffordshire’s case.

He told his local newspaper, the Staffordshire Newsletter, on March 7 that HS2 had cross party support and therefore looked ‘very likely’.

“It is imperative that we make every possible case for our area to gain a stop on the proposed line.

“North Staffordshire has the 10th largest conurbation in the country. If HS2 helps to set the economic map for the future then I believe that it is essential that we have a stop here.

This is not just for our benefit, but with everything we have to offer, I believe it will benefit the rest of the country too,” he added.

  • How would HS2 benefit Stoke-on-Trent?

Go-HS2 was invited to North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce’s Transport Committee (March 9) to deliver a talk on HS2 in the West Midlands and discuss the possibilities for Stoke-on-Trent and the surrounding area.

Stoke is exploring the benefits HS2 could bring to the Potteries, but is also keen to examine the benefits of released capacity on existing lines for both passengers and freight.

Similarly to other West Coast Main Line (WCML) towns and cities Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford will benefit from released capacity on the WCML when phase one of HS2 is completed.

Hybrid trains, which can run on existing and high speed lines, will serve Stoke and Stafford, transferring onto HS2 near Lichfield when phase one is completed.

It is estimated that Stoke-on-Trent’s journey time to London would be cut from around 1h 33m to 1h 13m with the hybrid services. Stafford could see a reduction in journey times to Euston of 1h 24m down to around 55m.

Stoke City Council is examining where a station could be best located and what level of service would be required.

Although Staffordshire has attracted headlines from residents concerned about the impact of HS2 in the south of the county (Lichfield) many important factors have been overlooked so far.

The county has already lost stations (Wedgwood and Barlaston in 2003) due to capacity constraints. Sadly, neither of these stations has reopened.

In January Network Rail produced a detailed report on the main alternative to HS2 produced by the 51M group – councils along the line of route in opposition to HS2.

Network Rail reported that two stations in Staffordshire (Stone and Rugeley) would lose London services, effectively closing Stone.

Campaigners fought hard to get services back in Stone and trains returned to the market town in December 2008. Stone is now calling for better links to Birmingham.

51M also supports plans to build a Stafford bypass. This is a 21km stretch of new line through countryside connecting Colwich with Norton Bridge. It would only allow for one extra train per hour from London. HS2 and Staffordshire is examined in greater detail by rail journalist Nick Kingsley.

There is understandably concern and opposition among communities living along the proposed route, but Staffordshire has much to gain from the capacity HS2 releases and, perhaps, its own station on the route.

This entry was posted in Capacity, Economic and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Will HS2 stop in Staffordshire?

  1. Excellent post dealing with the real issues facing Staffordshire, and many thanks for the nod to my blog! Can I just make a minor technical point? I think it’d be better to avoid the term ‘hybrid’ train — this raises the association with some form of unproven energy use like fuel cells or huge batteries (hence why the Toyota Prius is a hybrid). The HS2 ‘classic compatible’ rolling stock will just be a standard high speed train built to a size which fits the restrictive loading gauge of the UK’s Victorian network — two generations of these trains already exist, the Eurostar fleet and the ‘Javelin’ trains for London – Kent HS1 services. The point about HS2 is that it requires no ground-breaking technological leaps, but rather the application of the most modern inter-city rail technology of which around 13 000 km already exists globally.

    Alternatives put forward by 51M and other opponents in contrast make repeated reference to signalling systems such as ETCS Level 2 that are unproven on ageing, mixed-use (passenger/freight) railways like the West Coast Main Line. The government has also steadfastly and correctly dismissed Maglev – a technology that is by definition standalone (Maglev cannot share any of the UK’s current transport infrastructure) and has achieved only one commercial application (an airport shuttle in China) despite more than four decades of costly research.

    Second: worth bearing in mind that when HS2 Phase II opens, there is the unanswered question of what happens to the Phase I junction at Lichfield. Currently DfT wish to see Liverpool services use the existing WCML from there under Phase II, thus incurring a time penalty compared to Manchester trains. I’d argue that a better use would be a service running from Lichfield via Colwich to Stoke (keeping Stoke’s close link to HS2 after 2032 without building more connections to the Phase II route). From Stoke this service could then cut across country to Crewe and continue to places like Chester, Blackpool or Manchester Airport, providing better links to those places than exist at present.

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