For the Board to agree its position in relation to strategic issues associated with the Bill for HS2 Phase 2b.
Lead: Tim Foster
10.1 Members received the report from the Interim Strategy and Programme Director.
10.2 The Chair updated Board on the current position and informed Board that the Chief Executive had received a copy of a letter which Lancashire County Council had sent to the Rail Minister regarding the Golborne Link.
10.3 Members expressed their dissatisfaction on the cancellation of the Golborne Link and raised specific questions about the Crewe Hub as well as the plans for Manchester Piccadilly.
10.4 On the removal of the Golborne link, Cllr Robinson raised concerns that if an appropriate alternative is not identified then this will lead to a bottleneck north of Crewe and hinder both current passenger services and the growth of freight on the West Coast Mainline. Cllr Robinson enquired about the timelines for identifying an alternative proposal and whether that might offer the opportunity to increase capacity.
On this issue Cllr Riley expressed concern that the Government’s decision reinforces the view that Lancashire will fall off the HS2 rail map.
Cllr Edwards opined that written reassurance are needed from Government that HS2 services will serve Wigan, Preston, Lancaster, Cumbria and on to Scotland, as originally planned. He welcomed the review but requested that it take place at pace.
10.5 Mayor Brabin enquired about the terms of reference for the Sheffield to Leeds line which have been promised for the last eight months.
She suggested that the letter to the Secretary of State be made public.
10.6 Cllr Browne stated that the Hybrid Bill needs to deliver the necessary infrastructure to enable enhanced service specifications. He highlighted the fact that due to how HS2 is being built that Crewe will be the only Northern stopping point for the North for a decade. He expressed concern about the lack of commitment from Government to build a multi modal hub station capable of dealing with the capacity of customers that will occur on five to seven trains an hour, however if it is as few as only one to two HS2 trains an hour this will not provide businesses with confidence.
10.7 Cllr Western raised concerns about Manchester Piccadilly station. He was particularly concerned about the nature of the analysis undertaken by HS2 which did not consider the benefits of a fully optimised underground solution. He requested that TfN engage with Transport for Greater Manchester and partners in order undertake an analysis of the HS2 recommendations and then come back to board to discuss a way forward.
10.8 The Chair highlighted paragraph 3.8 of the report and emphasised the relevance of this paragraph to Board with projects the scale of HS2.
10.9 Mr. Nick Bisson addressed concerns raised by Members. On the issue of the Golborne Link, he explained that whilst the Government has yet to respond to the Union Connectivity Review it has decided to remove it from the current HS2 legislation going through the House. He explained that when phase 2a opens he anticipates that services will reach Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle and Glasgow. He further stated that the opening of the Western Leg will lead to a journey time benefit for Manchester; Golborne would have provided a further journey time benefit going North. He emphasised that there will be HS2 services extending north of Crewe. When considering the alternatives to the Golborne Link the Department needs to balance benefits and affordability.
On the concerns relating to the level of service calling at he stated that the plan is five trains southbound and up to seven northbound.
Mr. Bisson stated that Terms of Reference relating to the Leeds study, there will be published soon.
Addressing the issue of Piccadilly, he explained that HS2 has published the technical advice to Government and he believed that this reflects the advice given by Richard George to the Board previously.
10.10 Cllr Browne expressed concern that whilst other areas of the country are getting a hub station it appears that Crewe would see only two extended platforms which he believes will not give the capacity to deliver five to seven trains an hour.
10.11 Cllr Gittins requested that discussions on other routes be done in consultation with Board Members.
1) That the Chairman write to the Secretary of State restating the Board’s support for HS2 to the North and the Board’s continued desire to work with the Government to deliver it at the earliest possible opportunity;
2) That the letter to the Secretary of State should also recommend that:
· The terms of reference for the HS2 Sheffield to Leeds study be published as soon as possible.
· The Government uses its response to the Union Connectivity Review as the opportunity to commission work on the alternatives to the Golborne Link will be developed and that this work should be taken forward in collaboration with TfN.
· Clarity is required as to how HS2 and NPR services will serve Crewe.
· Where savings are realised as a result of changes to the design of HS2 and/or NPR these should be retained within the overall funding envelope defined in the Integrated Rail Plan.
· Further clarity is required on the decisions made in respect of Manchester Piccadilly.
3) That TfN and TfGM work together on analysis of Piccadilly Station options.