Cheshire East Council has welcomed the recommendation that Crewe should be the site of a North West hub station for the HS2 high-speed rail network.
HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins today said he would be advising the Government that the new station should be built and operational by 2027, five years earlier than first expected. .
Sir David said journey times between Crewe and London would be cut to just 55 minutes, 35 minutes quicker than the fastest current journey. Within one hour from London by rail, it would link a vast hinterland to the high-speed network, including Stoke-on-Trent, Warrington, Liverpool and North Wales.
Councillor Michael Jones, Leader of Cheshire East Council, said the new station and the investment that goes with it would have a transformational effect on Cheshire East and the wider North West region.
Councillor Jones said: “The Crewe HS2 Superhub will produce 64,000 jobs and boost the North West’s economic output by £3.5 billion per annum. It will act as a major gateway for the region, energising the northern powerhouse.
“Cheshire East Council is already working on a strong programme of local and strategic infrastructure Improvements to create a High Growth City around Crewe, but the Superhub will have a transformational effect.
“There are more than 800 acres of prime development land near to the Superhub station. Overall, we believe that HS2 will unlock development sites throughout Cheshire and North Staffordshire for new offices, factories, warehouses shops and new homes.
“The newly located station creates the opportunity for a well-planned, multi-modal station interchange, with new transit links into Crewe.
“We can also introduce new connectivity to other towns in Cheshire.”
But the leader stressed that this was not just about Crewe and the borough of Cheshire East but the wider region including Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire.
“I look forward to meeting with and involving Stoke and Staffordshire councils and the Staffordshire Chambers of Commerce in developing further plans to enable the people of Staffordshire to benefit from this exciting project.
“I agree with Sir David when he says in his report that Crewe has been a major railway intersection since Victorian times offering connectivity to North Wales, Merseyside, Staffordshire and the North West in general.
“He has said that the Stoke option would be too costly and would not provide the connectivity required.
“But we have every intention of engaging with Staffordshire County Council and Stoke City Council so that they can share in the benefit.”
Sir David has further recommended that the Government considers asking HS2 to look at the possibility of running classic compatible high speed services to Stoke-on-Trent, Macclesfield and Stockport to link with HS2 via the West Coast mainline.