A tunnelled station underneath Piccadilly is the preferred option to host Northern Powerhouse Rail services, according to a report to the Manchester City Council’s executive, but more funds are needed to make the plans a reality.
The report, which outlines the council’s strategy to accommodate HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and the Northern Hub at Piccadilly, suggests that a new station could be built underneath the existing Piccadilly mainline station, which will host HS2 services from 2033. The new facility would be fully integrated into the existing station.
Northern Powerhouse Rail is part of a wider strategy to improve rail connectivity across the north, while the Northern Hub, which includes the Ordsall Chord, is designed to increase services between Piccadilly, Victoria, and the local rail network.
The report added that the underground option would provide “not only a fully integrated station… but [a facility] that does not adversely impact on the available development land outside the station”. The proposals are being drafted by Transport for the North.
Alternative options assessed by Transport for the North and the Department for Transport include an NPR station alongside the HS2 extension to Piccadilly, which the report argued would impact the amount of deliverable land around the station.
The area around the station has been subject to a strategic regeneration framework, published in 2014. U+I was also chosen as development partner for the adjacent Mayfield site, which could deliver 1,300 homes, 805,500 sq ft of offices, a 350-bedroom hotel, retail, leisure and a new city park.
“Some of the options also fail to deliver the number of NPR services identified in the Northern Transport Strategy,” added the report.
Additional funding would have to be secured to deliver these station improvements, with the report adding that the investment would “go beyond the budget available to HS2 Ltd for constructing the HS2 stations, and the budgets and revenue powers currently available to the council or its Greater Manchester partners”.
Other plans to further integrate transport at Piccadilly include a potential relocation of Manchester’s coach services to a new facility at Piccadilly, which would “provide a more direct route to the motorway network”.
There are also plans to increase Metrolink capacity across the city centre, which could be through tunnelled services and investment in the local rail network, subject to further feasibility assessments.
The executive is due to discuss the report on Thursday.
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