Crewe would have a London journey time of 58 minutes and Liverpool of 1 hour 36 minutes. Towns across the wider North West would also gain quicker journeys from HS2, with direct HS2 trains able to run to Carlisle, Lancaster, Preston, Wigan, Warrington, Chester and Runcorn.
5.7 Liverpool, Wigan, Warrington, Preston, Chester and Crewe are all strong
centres of rail demand, in part through providing a convenient access
point to the mainline rail network for their surrounding area. Connections
at Crewe and further north near Wigan, would enable HS2 trains to run
seamlessly onto the existing network serving a range of destinations and
providing journey time savings of at least half an hour and up to an hour.
The Government is keen to explore how a connection at Crewe between
the existing rail network and HS2 could effectively serve the wider Cheshire
and Staffordshire areas, particularly Stoke-on-Trent, through good road and
public transport connectivity.
5.12 In addition to the new stations, the Government also supports creating two additional connections from this leg of the HS2 network onto the existing rail network. This could enable wider markets to access HS2 services. These are:
●● a connection to the West Coast Main Line, just to the south of the existing Crewe station to provide ready accessibility to HS2 from the Cheshire/North Staffordshire area; to enable HS2 trains to continue north from Crewe to serve Liverpool and intermediate markets, as well as the wider North West; and giving access for North Wales to HS2.
●● a connection onto the existing West Coast Main Line to the south of Wigan, near Golborne, to enable HS2 trains to continue northwards to serve Glasgow, Edinburgh and intermediate markets.
5.13 The western leg of the network would need to be supported by depots for maintaining the rolling stock and the infrastructure of the lines themselves. The Government’s initial preference is to build these new depots at Crewe (infrastructure maintenance) and Golborne, south of Wigan (rolling stock).
5.25 Given its strategic location on the rail network, the Government’s initial
preferred option is for a rail hub at Crewe that could be used to provide
frequent, fast services to Liverpool and other key destinations in the
5.26 Crewe represents a potentially advantageous location for HS2 to connect to
the existing network. This is further enhanced by its strong connections with
a range of important rail markets, which we expect to improve by working
with the region as we develop the proposals for HS2. High speed trains
would run seamlessly off HS2 onto the existing network at Crewe, offering
very competitive rail journey times to and from the Midlands and London. A
further wider range of stations would be accessible with a single change of
trains at Crewe.
The Actual route:
Newcastle-Under-Lyme to Crewe
6.6 After crossing the A53 the route would enter a deep cutting leading to section of tunnel about half mile long through the hillside and under Whitmore Heath. It would emerge from the tunnel and head towards the West Coast Main Line, crossing it to the south of Madeley. It would run to the west of Madeley at a distance of approximately half a mile dropping into deep cutting and tunnel, further reducing impacts on the conservation area, and would head northwards towards Crewe parallel to and west of the West Coast Main Line for approximately five miles. Approaching Crewe, the route would be elevated as it continues to follow the West Coast Main Line. It would widen to form multiple tracks. Descending again, both the HS2 route and the West Coast Main Line pass under the A500 and enter Crewe. On entering Crewe, a junction from HS2 to the West Coast Main Line would allow HS2 trains to continue onto the existing network. This would also be the location of a link to an infrastructure maintenance depot, which is planned to the west of the route and the existing Basford Hall sidings. The HS2 route would descend into a cutting and then a two and a half mile tunnel which passes underneath Crewe and would emerge on the northern outskirts of the town, near Parkers Road avoiding demolitions in the Barrows Green area.
6.7 The Government’s initial preferred option for this route is based on work by HS2 Ltd that considered a wide variety of options through this area. A further short-listed option for the route from Newcastle-Under-Lyme was to head to Sandbach along the M6. However, the initial preferred route opens up the benefits of serving Crewe and the wider North West. In general, this route also performs better in sustainability terms.
Crewe to Golborne
6.8 Upon leaving Crewe the route would run immediately adjacent to the West Coast Main Line for 2.5 miles passing through open countryside at surface level. Heading north it would pass between Middlewich and Winsford onto a 745 metre long viaduct over the Trent and Mersey Canal and the River Dane floodplain. Bearing north east the route would run mainly on embankment passing approximately two miles to the east of Northwich before crossing the Altrincham to Chester railway line, the A556 and the A559. The route would then run in either shallow cutting or on the surface for just under two miles before rising onto embankment to cross the M6 to the north of Junction 19.
7.7 The Government’s initial preference for the depot would be located approximately half way along the route between the West Midlands and Manchester, south of the existing Crewe station and adjacent to the west side of Basford Hall sidings. It would provide links onto both directions of the short stretch of existing railway line that connects to the West Coast Main Line. The site is already identified for rail connected industrial development and a depot is therefore likely to be supported by local planning policy.