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New underground station at Manchester Piccadilly mooted

Manchester City Council is due to consider plans for an underground station to link the proposed Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) with HS2.

The council’s strategic director Eddie Smith has recommended that the city build an underground terminus for the Northern Powerhouse Rail link beneath the existing Manchester Piccadilly station.

Plans submitted to the council for consideration at its next planning meeting on 19 October outline how co-ordinating the NPR and HS2 services at the same site could make Manchester Piccadilly “one of the best connected and productive locations in the North of England”.

“Our preferred solution for NPR, being developed with Transport for the North [TfN, which is responsible for NPR], is for an underground NPR station,” the report states.

“This provides not only a fully integrated station, capable of accommodating the NPR network vision set out in the Northern Transport Strategy for at least 8 NPR services per hour, but does not adversely impact on the available development land outside of the station.”

The report goes on to state that the alternative of building a new station for NPR next to Piccadilly would affect “the amount of developable land, and therefore the commercial and residential opportunities within the Piccadilly Central area”.

Such a plan will require new forms of funding though according to the recommendations. It says the budget required to recognise the proposal “goes beyond the budget available to HS2 Ltd to construct the HS2 stations”.

It says a solution to this will require “wider reforms to the fiscal regime” in Manchester.

The NPR link will see new and upgraded train routes designed to reduce travel times between Manchester and other major cities in the North, as well as a high-speed link to Manchester Airport.

Phase 2b of HS2 will bring the high-speed link from Crewe to Manchester, which is currently scheduled to be operational by 2033.

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