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A senior figure at HS2 Ltd has detailed points on the Phase 2b Crewe to Manchester section of the high-speed line where it will interface with Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).
The NPR scheme was originally proposed to be a high-speed connection between cities in north England, but was greatly curtailed with the release of the Integrated Rail Plan in November 2021. The remaining plan is to create 64km of high-speed lines on the “core NPR network” from Liverpool through Warrington and Manchester to Marsden. It will then connect to the Transpennine Route.
As first mentioned in the IRP, the next stages of the new high-speed section of NPR are “expected” to be led by HS2 Ltd.
Speaking at NCE’s Future of Rail conference, HS2 Phase 2 managing director Tim Smart said: “We’ve been prompted that there’s some new build [on the Northern Powerhouse route] just east of Warrington and then through to Manchester Piccadilly and then of that to Marsden. We confidently expect that we will be asked to do the study on that new route and that will be moved into a hybrid bill at the time we complete the studies.
“There isn’t a timescale on that at the moment, but we’re working with Network Rail for that whole section. We take the lead on the new build, Network Rail on the rest of the Transpennine Route Upgrade of what is the Northern Powerhouse route.”
While the NPR construction details will be confirmed in its own hybrid bill, HS2 Ltd has given more clarity on the interfaces between the two high-speed rail lines that are included in the HS2 Crewe to Manchester bill.
These interfaces are designated active or passive provision.
Active provision refers to the inclusion of all the necessary works for NPR services to operate on HS2 in future in the HS2 Crewe to Manchester Bill and delivering them in one go as part of a single HS2 construction phase.
Passive provision refers to the minimum level of additional works that would be needed in the HS2 Crewe to Manchester Bill to ensure that NPR can connect to HS2 in future without significantly interrupting HS2 operations. At locations where passive provision is planned, this generally involves the provision of civil engineering structures and earthworks from HS2 to a distance of 500m away.
The interfaces are:
Crewe Northern Connection (active provision)
The inclusion of Crewe Northern Connection would enable high speed services that call at an enhanced Crewe Hub station to then re-join the HS2 main line north of Crewe, as opposed to the using the West Coast Main Line. This would enable enhanced connectivity between Crewe and Manchester via HS2 that would not be possible with Phase 2b alone.
Subject to the construction of the NPR route to Warrington and Liverpool, Crewe Northern Connection would also deliver faster journeys between Liverpool and Crewe than is achieved by HS2 without the Crewe Northern Connection.
Crewe Northern Connection is intended to enable up to an additional 4 trains per hour serving Liverpool and Manchester Airport and Piccadilly High Speed Stations from Crewe Hub.
London to Liverpool Junction (passive provision)
Passive provision is made in the HS2 Crewe to Manchester Bill for a junction between HS2 and a future NPR route to Warrington and Liverpool. This junction would enable high speed services on the HS2 main line north of Crewe to connect to a future NPR line to Liverpool and bypass the West Coast Main Line, improving journey times between London, Crewe and Liverpool.
To enable this, the railway has been designed to allow two additional tracks to be laid at a later date for a new London to Liverpool line. Earthworks and civil engineering structures are provided to support the London to Liverpool line to cross over the railway near Hoo Green Lane.
Manchester to Liverpool Junction (passive provision)
Passive provision is provided for a junction between the HS2 railway and a new NPR line to Warrington and Liverpool. This junction, combined with a new line between Liverpool and Manchester, would enable high speed services from Liverpool to avoid the constraints of the existing conventional network and travel to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly high-speed stations.
The earthworks and civil engineering structures required to support a junction with NPR are provided on the railway in the vicinity of Ashley and extended west, under the A556 to a point near Millington Lane.
Manchester Airport high-speed station (active provision)
Four platforms are provided at Manchester Airport station to provide further capacity for NPR services calling at the Airport in future, in addition to the HS2 services serving the station. Additional capacity within the station design and car parking space is also provided for predicted future NPR need.
Manchester to Leeds junction (passive provision)
A grade separated junction in the Ardwick area to connect a new NPR line from Manchester to Yorkshire to support NPR services between Manchester and Leeds.
In future, it is proposed that both NPR and HS2 services would use the HS2 Manchester Spur between Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly High Speed stations. Then NPR services between Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds would be required to reverse from the Manchester Piccadilly High Speed station to the future Manchester to Leeds Junction to continue their journey onwards to Leeds.
Manchester Piccadilly high speed station (active provision)
Two 400m platforms are provided at Manchester Piccadilly High Speed station for future NPR services from Liverpool and Yorkshire, in addition to the 4 HS2 platforms, providing a total of 6 platforms. The design and layout of the approach tracks to Manchester Piccadilly High Speed station have also been designed to provide operational flexibility and capacity for future service growth, including NPR.
On top of these provisions, HS2 Ltd has said that in a number of locations the proposed HS2 infrastructure has been designed to avoid precluding future NPR services.
This article first appeared on www.newcivilengineer.com
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