The final preferred route that the £56 billion High Speed 2 train line will take through the East Midlands has been announced by the government.
The eastern part of the route will miss Derby and Nottingham stations, in favour of an East Midlands hub at Toton to serve the two cities. Phase 2 of the project, which features this eastern spur, is projected to be completed by around 2033.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced the plans, saying that “HS2 is an ambitious and exciting project and the Government is seizing the opportunity it offers to build a transport network fit for the 21st century, one that works for all and makes clear to the world that Britain remains open for business”.
The new station at Toton will be positioned directly between Nottingham and Derby – around a mile away from junction 25 of the M1. It will include eight platforms; four for high speed rail and four for conventional services.
A link to Nottingham’s NET tram network has also been proposed, and a dedicated rail service from Nottingham and Derby could also serve the station.
However, the fact that Derby and Nottingham’s main stations have been officially snubbed means that commuters wishing to utilise the new high-speed link to London will need to make a detour.
Once on the line, travellers can expect to arrive at London Euston station from the new hub in just over 50 minutes, reducing the travel time to London by an hour when compared to conventional services.
Journey times on the proposed line from Toton
- Birmingham: 20 minutes
- Leeds: 27 minutes
- London: 52 minutes
- Sheffield: 26 minutes
- Newcastle: 1 hour 36 minutes
There is still some uncertainty to exactly where the track will be placed in some areas, which the Department for Transport are calling “refinements”, and are consulting on.
The main issues are whether the line should go around East Midlands Airport instead of tunnelling underneath it, and whether the route near the Long Eaton area should be amended to reduce the impact to local highways and communities.
Penny Gaines, chair of the Stop HS2 campaign group said that the huge project would not benefit the economies of either the Midlands nor the North. “The government is proposing spending £56 billion or more on a railway line most people don’t want”, she said.
“Plans to connect HS2 to Heathrow and to HS1 [between London and the Channel Tunnel] have long since been dropped, meaning that any hopes of getting from Manchester or Leeds to the Continent by train are impossible.”
A computer simulation shows how the multi-billion pound line will look
Once the Phase Two hybrid Bill receives Royal Assent, construction of the new Toton Station is expected to take around nine years, though the government is anticipating that it will take “much less” time.
Once completed, the station should be handling HS2 traffic by 2033.
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