A ‘high-speed northern powerhouse railway’ would run underneath, Chorlton bus station would move to Piccadilly and part of Fairfield Street would shut permanently
Manchester Piccadilly station would change out of all recognition under a dramatic high-level vision being put forward to ministers, the M.E.N. can reveal.
A vast expansion costing up to £1.6bn would see high-speed trains pick up passengers in space currently closed to the public beneath the station, while a ‘Grand Arcade’ to rival Kings Cross-St Pancras would link the current footprint with new HS2 platforms.
Chorlton Street coach station would move to the south western corner of the station – built onto Fairfield Street – while the current tram stop would move to the north.
Fairfield Street itself would shut to traffic forever between Travis Street and London Road, along the side of the current station.
The radical proposals are contained within a background paper drawn up by Arup, a consultancy hired by the National Infrastructure Commission to help it compile recommendations for George Osborne on the future of northern transport.
Arup’s evaluation of two slightly different versions put the cost at either around £1.2bn or around £1.6bn, which would include new tunnelling to run high speed trains into Manchester and out to Leeds underneath the city.
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Much of the work is envisaged by the report to be complete within the next decade – with high speed rail itself being the final part of the jigsaw.
Arup suggests radically expanding the station to link up the current railway, a new coach terminus, a redesigned Metrolink, HS2 the so-called ‘northern powerhouse railway’ – high-speed trains to other nearby cities, including Leeds.
Within less than a decade the coach station would be in place, according to the plan, with new shops underneath the station in ‘undercroft’ space currently mostly used for staff parking.
Taxi drop-offs would either move to the new coach station or to the north of the station within that time.
After that the HS2 terminus would be built across the northern edge of the station, with a ‘Grand Arcade’ linking it to the existing platforms and concourse.
Underneath it platforms would whisk high speed trains out to Leeds, through north Manchester.
The Northern Infrastructure Commission – which has today reported back its findings to the Chancellor, including for a wholesale transformation of Manchester Piccadilly – admits not all these proposals will necessarily be taken up.
George Osborne has not so far given any indication of his thoughts on the proposals.
But the NIC recommends a package of private and public funding – including, potentially, from Manchester council – being planned out for a major redevelopment in the next year.
Ultimately HS2 is not expected to reach Manchester until 2032 at the earliest, with final routes to be decided by the government in the autumn.