The planned HS2 high speed rail route through Lowton and Golborne seems in some doubt following the Government’s decision to scrap a major part of the scheme this week.
The Government confirmed yesterday (Thursday, 18 November 2021) that the ‘Eastern leg’ of the proposed railway line from the East Midlands to Leeds would no longer be going ahead.
The revised plans for the railway investment also mean that there will no longer be a new 40-mile long high speed line from Manchester to Leeds. Instead, a new line is proposed from Warrington to Marsden in Yorkshire. Fom there, trains will run along an upgraded Transpennine route.
What’s happening with the Golborne Spur of HS2?
There seems to be some suggestions (yet again) that the proposed ‘Golborne Spur’ of the railway, which would cut through Lowton and Golborne, may also be dropped.
Local MP, James Grundy – who has been campaigning against the Golborne Spur – posted to his Facebook page yesterday (Thursday, 18 November 2021) indicating that he was hopeful that the line would not be built.
He cited Government documents which said that the Union Connectivity Review, which is looking into rail connections between England and Scotland, will make the final decision on whether the Golborne Spur goes ahead. It is now “considering the case for further improvements for high speed rail services… including alternatives to the Golborne link from the HS2 Line to the West Coast Main Line.”
Whilst that means no decision has yet been made on the Golborne Spur, Mr Grundy was optimistic.
He wrote: “Good news today everyone. The Government has confirmed that they are now considering alternatives to the Golborne Spur of HS2.
“I’d like to thank the thousands of local residents and all the local residents’ groups that have backed the campaign to scrap the Golborne Spur so far.
“Local people wanted local railway stations reopening such as Golborne (which we are getting!) not HS2.
“The spur affects thousands of local families, including my own, and I’ll keep my promise to the residents of Lowton and Golborne to carry on fighting to #ScrapTheGolborneSpur.”
How would HS2 affect Lowton and Golborne?
The part of the line which was planned to cut through Lowton and Golborne is a 12.1km section. It would leave the main high-speed route from Crewe to Manchester before rejoining the West Coast Main Line south of Wigan. This line would run through both Lowton and Golborne – and even cut right through Byrom Hall Wood.
Local MP James Grundy is among those opposed to the proposals. He says they will “negatively affect” people in Lowton and Golborne. And earlier this year, transport secretary Grant Shaps seems to suggest that the Spur – which would cost £3bn on its own – may not go ahead, as it didn’t represent “value for money”. But it seems final confirmation is still to come.
What’s happening with plans for a new railway station for Golborne?
This week’s announcement about HS2 should not impact on the proposed new railway station for Golborne.
Last month, Mr Grundy said that money from the Government’s latest budget would be allocated to the project, which he says remains on track.
Golborne has not had a railway station for 60 years. But recently the campaign to re-open the station has gathered a head of steam, with Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham also amongst those championing the project.
Those in favour of the station worked hard to successfully build a case for its reopening – but there was always a question mark over how the station would be paid for.
In January, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority pledged £15m towards the cost of rebuilding a station to serve Golborne.
When reopened, passengers using the new station would have easy access to both Wigan and to Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly. More routes may even follow at a later stage.
What do you think?
Are you glad that HS2 may not happen? How would the line affect you? Let us know in the comments below.