Manchester

HS2 to enter Manchester via tunnel under city

HS2 image of proposed train
Image caption The HS2 link will see the journey time from Manchester to London reduced by nearly an hour

The HS2 network, which will link Manchester to Birmingham and London via high-speed rail, will enter the city through a 7.5 mile (12km) tunnel.

The plans, which have been welcomed by business and council leaders, will see journey times from Manchester to Birmingham cut to 41 minutes.

The tunnel will run from Ardwick to Manchester Airport.

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce's Emma Antrobus said it would bring a "significant economic impact".

She said it would "increase productivity and create jobs".

The tunnel, which is the longest in the second phase of the high-speed rail project, will descend at Davenport Green to the north-east of the airport.

It will then take a route through historic limestone workings under Wythenshawe, Northenden, Didsbury, Withington, Fallowfield, Rusholme and Longsight before emerging near the A57 in Ardwick.

The new route, which will be finalised in 2014 and is due to be built by 2033, will also see the HS2 line link with the West Coast Main Line near Wigan.

It will also see the journey time from Manchester to London reduced by nearly an hour to 1 hour and eight minutes via the Birmingham link.

'Emerging economic powerhouse'

The chair of Transport for Greater Manchester Committee, Councillor Andrew Fender, said high-speed rail was "good news for the economy, not just for Greater Manchester but also the wider North".

"Today's announcement isn't just about faster trains - high-speed rail will create up to 30,000 station-supported jobs in Manchester and help to drive productivity in the region, bridging the economic gap between the North and the South," he said.

Ms Antrobus said the link would "boost Greater Manchester" and "improve connectivity".

"It's about businesses being able to do business in different locations, as the capacity that we currently have on the West Coast Main Line can be used to allow people to connect with large towns that currently have very limited services," she said.

Both the leader of Manchester City Council, Sir Richard Leese, and Salford mayor Ian Stewart also welcomed the plans.

Sir Richard said HS2 was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity [which] will unlock the economic potential of the North West", with Mr Stewart adding that the link would "help to solidify the wider region's place as an emerging economic powerhouse".

But Joe Rudkin, the campaign manager of Stop HS2, said he doubted that the rail link would be an economic fillip for Manchester and other places in the North West.

He said: "The problem is that all of the politicians who support it have not spoken to economists and academics - all the evidence points to the fact that it will suck more economic activity to London."

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