Campaigners for an HS2 station in Sheffield city centre claim it would be no more expensive than Meadowhall – if the cost of connecting it to HS3 services are included.
The official estimate for an HS2 station at the old Victoria site is £680m more than the out-of-town option, due to the cost of extra tunnelling and bridges.
But improved rail services between northern cities – dubbed HS3 – will connect city centres, according to Transport for the North. And the cost of linking HS3 with an HS2 station at Meadowhall, four miles away, would cost hundreds of millions of pounds, effectively cancelling out any savings, campaigners say.
They also claim a city centre HS2 station would create an extra 6,500 jobs, £530m in annual business rates, £2.5bn in annual income and 1,000 homes more than a station at Meadowhall.
Supporters include Sheffield City Council, both universities, law and accountancy firms, Leeds and Newcastle city councils and Sheffield Chamber.
Chamber executive director Richard Wright said: “The argument is, get the station in the right place in the first place and you avoid the additional cost of getting people across that four-mile disconnect.
“This requires seeing HS3 and HS2 as a single UK Plc investment – not two standalone projects which is what we have curr- ently.
“Against the extra economic benefits, the difference – estimated at £86m – is pretty small and will be more than delivered by additional business rates. It’s very much the ‘knows the cost of everything and the value of nothing’ syndrome.
“Sheffield Chamber is very much supporting the city centre because this is the best economic argument we have seen.”