High speed trains could run between Manchester and Liverpool in the future, after proposed changes to HS2 Phase 2b were announced.
A consultation has been launched by the government on the second phase of the rail link that will connect London to the north of the UK; proposed changes could pave the way for better rail links throughout the north.
Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, launched the consultation, confirming that 11 proposed design refinements of the HS2 Phase 2b route will be consulted on.
It will help HS2 Ltd to make any necessary improvements on environmental, technical, service and cost aspects of the scheme.
In a written statement to Parliament, Nusrat Ghani, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Transport (DfT), confirmed the 11 proposed refinements of the section of rail that will run from Birmingham to Leeds via the East Midlands, and from Crewe to Manchester.
She confirmed that these proposals include, for the first time, plans for infrastructure to allow Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) trains to use the HS2 route in the future, and vice versa.
Ms Ghani described the consultation as “another major milestone” for HS2 Phase 2b, and said the proposals open up a future where a route between Manchester and Liverpool could be created.
She said: “The consultation includes proposals to allow for two future junctions that could see the HS2 line into Manchester used as part of NPR.
“These proposals have been developed in partnership with Transport for the North and, in the future, would open up the opportunity for a potential new route between Manchester and Liverpool that could also be used for services between London and Liverpool.”
The consultation will also consider work on the existing rail network, which will allow HS2 trains to run between the south and northern cities.
Progress on the £56 billion project is ongoing, with 9,000 jobs already supported by the delivery of HS2.