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Final route of Manchester section of HS2 announced – with plans to halve journey times to London

The modified plans were hailed a victory for the community in West Gorton

The revised HS2 route has been revealed – including changes to the approach to Manchester Piccadilly Station.

The government has today confirmed plans to re-align the route of the high speed rail link away from West Gorton and instead further eastwards through Ardwick.

The £55.7bn project, which will halve journey times from London, will cut through and under the region when it’s completed in 2033.

Residents of the estate around Rostron Avenue in West Gorton were horrified when the first Crewe-Manchester route was revealed in 2013. Rising through a tunnel, 250mph trains would have ploughed through the grounds of Armitage Church of England Primary School and required the demolition of more than 40 homes on a close-knit estate.

But in November 2016 engineers revealed modified plans – the only changes made to the Manchester section – so the track would run 370m to the east, avoiding the estate.

The modified plans were hailed a victory for the community in West Gorton.

A public consultation was launched into the proposed changes, and today the Government confirmed the re-alignment of the East Manchester route.

The Department for Transport say the re-alignment of the Manchester Piccadilly approach was the best option because it avoided demolishing houses in West Gorton, and cutting through the grounds of Armitage CofE Primary School.

They said the altered route reduces the flood risk and ‘engineering complexity’ by moving the tunnel portal out of the Corn Brook floodplain and away from other rail viaducts.

It also allows the approach to Piccadilly Station to be straightened, which will reduce the impact on the structure of the existing station, government plans said.

The new route will mean that a number of city centre businesses, office buildings and a church will have to be demolished to make way for HS2.

The congregation of the True Jesus Church, off St Andrew’s Street in Ardwick, now face vacating their new building under the HS2 proposals.

Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, confirmed a total of six out of seven proposed changes to the HS2 route today.

In the North West they include:

– Changing the alignment over a 26km length of route in the Middlewich-Northwich area of Cheshire, raising the route as it passes through the Cheshire salt caverns to avoid brining and gas storage infrastructure.

– The relocation of the Western Leg Rolling Stock Depot (RSD) from a site near Golborne to a site north of Crewe between the A530 Nantwich Road and the West Coast Main Line (WCML) near Wimboldsley.

Changes were also confirmed to routes near East Midlands Airport. Long Eaton and the line between Derbyshire and West Yorkshire.

Chris Grayling said: “Manchester’s brilliant businesses, shops and creative community have propelled the city from strength to strength.

“HS2 will give it a chance to prosper still further. The new links to the West Midlands and London will increase productivity and generate new business opportunities.

“And, crucially, it will also help Manchester’s long-suffering commuters by opening up services and freeing up seats on busy services at peak times.”

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