Call for review to end row over high speed rail stop

A FRESH attempt to end the deadlock over the location of South Yorkshire's proposed high speed rail station has been launched.

How the Meadowhall HS2 station could look
How the Meadowhall HS2 station could look

Former Government minister and Sheffield MP Richard Caborn is among a group of figures from South Yorkshire trying to find a way forward in the ongoing dispute over the where the station should be built.

The current plan is for the proposed eastern leg of the HS2 high speed rail line to have a station at Meadowhall but Sheffield City Council has been campaigning for it to be moved to the city centre.

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Other council leaders in the area have insisted the station should remain at Meadowhall.

The new initiative centres on asking HS2 Ltd, the Government company developing the new rail line, to take a fresh look at the issue.

A similar process was carried out over the Leeds HS2 station plan last year when Chancellor George Osborne ordered a review of the initial proposal to build a new station close to Bridgewater Place, south of the River Aire.

Local councils and business groups considered several alternatives with HS2 before a new plan to integrate the new line with the existing Leeds station was agreed.

A similar review in South Yorkshire would be asked to look at the best way of integrating HS2 with the emerging plan for trans-Pennine high speed rail, dubbed HS3, and bring the biggest benefits to the whole area.

Mr Caborn said: “We are looking to follow the Leeds-type formula, to have a look at a number of options that could be there for linking HS2 and HS3.

“Our view is that HS3 has come forward since the plan for the HS2 line down the east side of the country and to some extent that is what the Leeds options were about, linking HS2 and HS3, together.

“We want to make sure that the impact of both HS2 and HS3 is maximised in the Sheffield City Region.”

A new study, led by Professor Tony May from Leeds University and transport consultant Jonathan Tyler, found that the new high speed TGV rail line from Tours to Bordeaux currently under construction in France is costing £20 million/km, compared to £105 million/km predicted for HS2.

The academics said there were “much less costly and environmentally damaging” ways of boosting rail capacity.

But Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership chairman Roger Marsh said: “The economic evidence is clear that international, inter-city and intra-regional connectivity is essential for a strong, successful North that can act as a genuine counterweight to London and the South East.”