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The Crewe to Manchester leg of HS2 has moved one step closer as the legal process in Parliament to allow it to go ahead gets underway.

Crewe and Nantwich MP Dr Kieran Mullan and HS2 project champion Pete Waterman toured Crewe station to mark the occasion with new Rail Minister Wendy Morton MP.

The Crewe to Manchester leg should bring down journey times for passengers, to 15 minutes to Manchester Airport and 24 minutes to Manchester Piccadilly.

Mr Waterman is also backing Crewe’s bid to become the headquarters for Great British Railways, the organisation which will run the UK’s railways.

Dr Mullan said: “It was great news when the Crewe to Manchester leg was confirmed in the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan and will not only bring quick, reliable connections across the region but also better access to job opportunities for local people.

“It isn’t about getting to London quicker; it is about improving transport across our region as the big intercity travel will move onto the high-speed lines.”

Mr Waterman added: “It has been a long road and it is just fantastic to know we are so close to the finish line.

“I always believed Crewe should be at the heart of HS2, so it was great to be there as the last piece of the jigsaw, the Crewe to Manchester leg starts the process of being signed off in Parliament.”

HS2 Crewe to Manchester Bill
Crewe and Nantwich MP Dr Kieran Mullan and HS2 project champion Pete Waterman with new Rail Minister Wendy Morton MP.

HS2 Minister Andrew Stephenson said: “We have time and time again proven our commitment to improving transport connections throughout the North and levelling up communities in the process.

“It marks the next chapter in achieving this – fulfilling the promises in our £96 billion Integrated Rail Plan to shorten journey times, provide reliable and sustainable services, while supporting local services and delivering a modern, fully connected transport network fit for the future even sooner.”

The Bill will see a new junction near Crewe developed, not only improving future services on the route but giving Crewe the potential to be a Hub station in mid-Cheshire able to accommodate more trains.

The Crewe to Manchester could create 17,500 direct jobs across the North West.

Part of the new high speed line will also be used for Northern Powerhouse Rail services between Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool.

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We are determined to improve transport connections and level up communities across the country and this Bill marks a landmark moment as we bring HS2 to Manchester and lay the foundations for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

“Our £96bn investment in rail in the North and Midlands and in connecting them to London will bring communities together, create thousands of jobs and make towns and cities in these key areas more attractive to business up to 10 years quicker than under any previous plans.

“The IRP is the blueprint for the government’s commitment to building better transport links, generating prosperity and opportunity across the North and Midlands bringing benefits up to 10 years sooner than previously planned, all while delivering on levelling up the country.”

Cllr Craig Browne, deputy leader of Cheshire East Council and chair of its highways and transport committee, said: “HS2 is a strategically important project for the council and the authority has long been a supporter of the scheme.

“Over recent years, rail passengers have experienced frequent delays and cancellations as a result of congestion on our predominantly Victorian railway infrastructure.

“The coming of HS2 offers a once in a lifetime opportunity to finally begin to address this, whilst also helping to remove freight from our national road network.

“We also recognise the wider economic and regeneration potential that it can unlock for Crewe and the wider borough, including jobs and increased business confidence to invest.

“However, we also recognise that it will have significant impacts on the environment and the ecology of Cheshire East and cause disruption to many residents.

“Our support remains conditional on the delivery of an enhanced hub station for Crewe and on securing the maximum level of mitigation from the scheme, including that the maximum levels of compensation are offered to Cheshire East residents and businesses negatively impacted by HS2.

“We welcome the publication of the environmental statement and supporting documents alongside the Bill and note confirmation of the changes to the Rolling Stock depot north of Crewe.

“We will now review these and work with local ward members to seek the appropriate mitigation against the negative impacts of the scheme.

“The council does have the option to petition government on proposals included in the Bill and this will require a full council resolution.

“The council’s petition against the HS2 Phase 2a Bill (Birmingham to Crewe route) did secure a number of assurances, including funding to provide additional environmental and ecological mitigations in and around the line of route.”

Clare Hayward MBE, DL, Chair of Cheshire and Warrington Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Ensuring all of Cheshire and Warrington is properly connected to the rest of the North West and the country as a whole, and delivering an integrated sustainable transport solution, is vital in ensuring our continued economic growth and delivering on our net zero ambitions.

“High speed links to the airport, and Manchester beyond are a key part of this, providing easy access to good employment opportunities as well as ensuring our vital industries, including net zero, are easily accessible and properly joined up to important infrastructure.

“Crewe has a proud rail heritage and has long been seen as the gateway to the north and today’s announcement is an important step in it continuing to be so. I look forward to seeing the project progress and come to fruition, providing economic benefits to all our area and the people that live here.”

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