HS2 in city centre ‘simplest and best’

HS2 station in Sheffield city centre by HLM Architects
HS2 station in Sheffield city centre by HLM Architects

A new HS2 line to Leeds could end up gridlocked if the station is at Meadowhall, an expert says.

Services from Birmingham would jockey for space with ‘HS3’ trains destined for Leeds and Manchester heading north out of Sheffield city centre, according to Jim Steer, of transport consultancy Steer Davies Gleave.

HS3 is a plan for frequent, fast trains between northern city centres including Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester.

HS3 was announced after the original HS2 route was drawn up and integrating the two is a big headache for transport planners.

Mr Steer said the simplest and cheapest answer was to build the station in Sheffield city centre, then HS2 trains could also serve as HS3 services.

Mr Steer said: “With a station at Meadowhall the new HS2 line would run out of capacity due to the HS3 trains on the same track.

“We have always said high speed lines should serve city centres. These decisions last centuries and we have to consider all options.

“It would be such a shame not to really get to the bottom of it. The cost differences are not huge and there are benefits for the entire region.

“The best thing all round would be for HS2 to be integrated into the existing Midland station to make use of the onward rail links to the rest of the region that are already there.”

An HS2 Ltd spokesman said: “HS2 is central to the development of transport across the North. We will continue to work closely with Transport for the North to ensure that HS2, in tandem with Northern Powerhouse Rail (HS3), plays an integral part in unlocking northern England’s full potential.”

A report from the National Infrastructure Commission earlier this year recommended that HS3 services should use HS2 tracks wherever possible.

It called for HS3 to be ‘kick-started’ and integrated with HS2. It adds: ‘Route decisions on the northern sections of HS2 to be announced later this year should support enhanced high-speed connections between Leeds and Sheffield’.