HS2 Update

Issue date: 3rd April 2013

On 28th January the Government announced the route of phase 2 of the proposed HS2 rail line, covering links to Manchester and Leeds from north of Birmingham.  Phase 1 is the previously announced route from London to north of Birmingham, with links to the present West Coast Main Line in the Lichfield area.

IWA contributed to the consultation for phase 1, as did the then British Waterways (BW), and this resulted in a Service Level Agreement between HS2 Ltd and BW regarding the latter’s requirements at the points of crossing of navigable waterways.  Only one restoration was affected, the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals. Lichfield & Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust is working with the rail promoters, HS2 Ltd, to address concerns about a crossing of the canal at Cappers Lane, near Lichfield.  There are local concerns about the visual effect of a very high embankment that would be needed to cross existing transport corridors in the area. This in turn would affect a planned crossing near Woodend Lock on the Trent & Mersey Canal; however, this cannot be resolved until the embankment issue has been settled.

Phase 2 of the line crosses a number of existing waterways, which would be subject to the already agreed Service Level Agreement between BW (now CRT) and HS2 Ltd, and although there is not currently believed to be any loss of navigation, there will undoubtedly be an impact on the waterway environment at these points.

HS2 does, however, have the potential for a much more significant affect on waterway restoration schemes.  Going north from phase 1, these are the Ashby, the Chesterfield and the Barnsley canals.

In the case of the Ashby Canal, the new railway would cross the protected line of the canal east of Measham where it is planned to run parallel to the east side of the A42, which is to be re-aligned to the west from the point northwards from where the two transport corridors meet. This is a few hundred yards north of the canal crossing and the new railway would absorb the western part of the land that is scheduled for a housing development (scheduled to go for Outline Planning Approval this spring) that is to include the canal’s reinstatement along the former railway alignment just east of the A42 with a newly created arm that would use the former canal route to create a basin in the town centre.  

The Chesterfield Canal is the most significantly affected restoration project and the new railway would impact on the canal route in four separate locations. There are full details on Chesterfield Canal Trust's website, along with maps showing the proposed crossings.

The Barnsley Canal's proposed realignment in Cudworth would be crossed about 1/2 mile south of the Stairfoot Roundabout where it is proposed to use half of a former railway alignment for the canal.  Because the restored canal is planned to drop down a flight of locks, the new canal should still be possible if a bridge is provided, but would need some route adjustment for the Worsborough Branch, which is needed as a water supply.

To help create a common approach for the restoration concerns, IWA’s Restoration Committee has established a working group by all those involved in advance of the formal public consultation that is anticipated this summer.