HS2 in South Yorkshire - Route Options

HS2 in South Yorkshire - Route Options

12 July 2016

Following the publication of the ‘HS2 Plus’ report in July 2014, the author, Sir David Higgins was asked to report back to the Secretary of State for Transport with options.   His later report ‘Rebalancing Britain’ proposed that ‘Transport for the North’ be set up to undertake the work, and that it should represent Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Newcastle.

In November 2015 the Secretary of State produced a Command Paper to Parliament ‘ High Speed Two: East and West The next steps to Crewe and beyond’ reviewing progress on HS2 and how it linked with northern cities and confirming government’s intention to go to Crewe six years ahead of plan.   It also confirmed the intention to link HS2 into the improvement of east- west links being worked on by northern cities and it set out where stations were to be.

On the east leg the Eastern Hub station was confirmed as near Toton.  The South Yorkshire hub at Sheffield Meadowhall was proposed as a good option but there remained scope for changes. 

On Wednesday 7th July Sir David Higgins produced two reports on South Yorkshire and Sheffield, to set out the options for the location of the South Yorkshire Hub station. 

  • A station level with the M1 at Meadowhall as in the 2013 consultation- the ‘Base’ option
  • A station in Sheffield city centre, at Midland Station- the Midland Station route at +£2,000M
  • A station near the Sheffield City centre, at the site of Victoria Station at a cost of +£700M
  • A ‘classic train’ option which provided a spur or loop via Chesterfield into Sheffield – Midland station, which allowed the main line route to run further to the east closer to the M1/ M18 before turning to Leeds and linking in to the East Coast Main Line – the M18/ Eastern Route saving £1,000m


The option analysis provided in the report highlights the difficulties of producing a good design for Meadowhall, and the impact of the work on adjacent businesses and retail outlets. It also mentions the road congestion already present around this M1 section. The Midland Station option has major cost impacts and affects swathes of the city, as well as being vulnerable to flooding of the Don.

The Victoria station is also expensive due to tunnelling out of the city, and does not provide good links with the city centre and other transport across the region. However the ‘classic spur/ loop’ together with moving the mainline further eastward seems to address Sheffield’s wish for city centre linkage to HS2, avoids the high cost of bringing 400kph standard track into and out of the city, and provide a more direct and cheaper main line to the north.     

In canal and inland waterways terms the options have detailed and different impacts. These can be summarised as follows:

  • Moving the main route eastward will avoid the major impact on the Chesterfield Canal restoration near Staveley, and also avoids the route of the Barnsley Dearne and Dove. However it will cross the Norwood Tunnel route of the Chesterfield Canal, the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Navigation near Mexborough, and may impose a ‘parkway style’ station in the area
  • Providing a ‘classic compatible’ (HS2 train running on conventional rail routes) route into Sheffield via Chesterfield will have little impact on canals as it uses mostly existing railways
  • Not building the Meadowhall Station will remove a major impact on the Sheffield and Tinsley Canal, which would have been seriously overshadowed by the station platform.


However, there remains the impact on the as yet unconfirmed Phase 2 route into Leeds, which seriously impacts navigation along the Aire and Calder Navigation near Woodlesford.

The Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, announced to Parliament:

"Before I reach a decision about HS2 in South Yorkshire I will want to consider today’s report in detail. It is my intention to make an announcement on the HS2 Phase Two route, of which South Yorkshire is a part, later this year. Should I decide to adopt the report’s recommendations as my preferred option in South Yorkshire I will then hold a public consultation in order to allow local stakeholders and affected communities the opportunity to comment on the proposal, alongside a consultation on the property compensation and assistance schemes for the entire route."

Read the Sheffield and South Yorkshire Report.
See the maps and more detailed documents.
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Photo-top: The recently completed Staveley Town Lock on the Chesterfield Canal.

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