‘Fury’, said Tony
The interim mayor of Greater Manchester, Tony Lloyd, told the BBC Radio 4 Today programme (10 May 2016) that he had heard nothing about plans to remove Manchester Ringway airport station from the proposed HS2 scheme, and said there would be ‘fury’ if reports turned out to have any foundation.
However, he was unable to provide a coherent argument as to why the airport needed HS2, or why HS2 needed to serve the airport. The airport’s catchment area is the north of England, the north Midlands, and north Wales. Surely, it would make more sense to focus on providing western rail access to the airport from Ashley, on the Altrincham to Chester line, to improve connectivity from its own ‘hinterland’.
On April 7, the Beleben blog described the proposed HS2 infrastructure as “the biggest encumbrance to improving rail connectivity in northern England”. But HS2 is also the biggest encumbrance to the viability of electrification of the under-used Midland Main Line.
The eastern leg of HS2 would provide low quality access to Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, and most of West Yorkshire. It would make sense to cancel HS2 east and extend Midland Main Line electrification beyond Sheffield, thereby allowing a fast intercity service between Leeds and St Pancras via the Erewash valley.