Stoke-on-Trent 'could be part of HS2'

Image caption,
The route of phases 1 & 2 of the proposed HS2 rail service linking London Manchester and Leeds

A station in Stoke-on-Trent as part of the high-speed rail project "has not been ruled out", the HS2 boss says.

The government's preferred route for the second phase of the line, linking Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, includes a spur junction at Crewe, but no stop at Stoke-on-Trent.

The council has submitted a bid and leader Mohammed Pervez said Stoke-on-Trent would become a "core city".

A decision is due later in 2014.

Alison Munroe, chief executive of HS2 Ltd, told BBC News that the public consultation had just been completed and the secretary of state would make a decision at the end of the year.

'Absolutely huge'

Current proposals for the £50bn HS2 project would allow trains to run at 225 mph (362km/h) from London to Birmingham from 2026, with branches to Manchester and to Leeds via Sheffield planned by 2032.

Mr Pervez has said the proposed station would put Stoke-on-Trent within 55 minutes of London.

Councils in Coventry, Warwickshire and rural Staffordshire are opposed to the rail plan.

"This would make Stoke-on-Trent a core city," Mr Pervez said.

"The amount of growth that will happen is unimaginable and actually, the amount of contribution the area that Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire can make to the overall economy of the UK is absolutely huge."