Quicker route to HS2 an­nounced

Macclesfield Express - - MP IN TALKS OVER CARE HOME FUTURE -

A NEW high-speed rail link could cut jour­ney times for Mac­cles­field.

Bosses in charge of HS2 – a pro­posed high speed rail link from Birm­ing­ham to Manch­ester – have an­nounced plans for an ex­tra sec­tion of track which could mean Mac­cles­field Sta­tion is more eas­ily con­nected to the route.

Sir David Hig­gins, HS2 chair­man, rec­om­mended on Mon­day that there should be a con­nec­tion be­tween HS2 at Hand­sacre in Stafford­shire and the West Coast Main Line at Stafford.

Mac­cles­field Sta­tion is on the West Coast Main Line. ‘Com­pat­i­ble’ trains which are ca­pa­ble of trav­el­ling at a stan­dard-speed on the West Coast line as well as at the 250mph high speed could be used along the new con­nec­tion to Hand­sacre.

Pas­sen­gers from Mac­cles­field would be able to travel to Stafford on the HS2 com­pat­i­ble trains, which would then switch to high speed at Stafford.

Coun Michael Jones, Cheshire East leader, said: “The HS2 link to Stafford is good news for Mac­cles­field.

“There are two types of train in­volved in HS2 - HS2 high speed trains and HS2 com­pat­i­ble trains.

“Com­pat­i­ble trains from Mac­cles­field would run on the West Coast Main Line first then switch into high speed at Stafford.

“It will mean Mac­cles­field pas­sen­gers can get to HS2 more quickly so jour­ney times to London will be cut.”

Coun Jones said jour­ney times from Stafford to London could be cut from one hour 20 min­utes to around 45 min- utes. He said the Hand­sacre con­nec­tion was good for Mac­cles­field be­cause it doesn’t eas­ily con­nect by train to Crewe – where it’s pro­posed there will be a new HS2 ‘su­per hub’.

Sir David rec­om­mended Crewe as the pre­ferred north west hub dur­ing his an­nounce­ments on Mon­day.

He said he would ad­vise the Gov­ern­ment the new sta­tion should be built and op­er­a­tional by 2027, five years ear­lier than ex­pected.

This would cut jour­ney times be­tween Crewe and London to 55 min­utes, 35 min­utes quicker than at present.

Coun Jones said: “The Crewe HS2 Su­per­hub will pro­duce 64,000 jobs and boost the north west’s eco­nomic out­put by £3.5 bil­lion.

“It will act as a ma­jor gate­way for the re­gion.”

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