The current preferred route for HS2 high speed rail line between London and the Midlands includes several canal crossing points on the Trent & Mersey Canal in the area around Fradley Junction in Staffordshire.
The proposed HS2 embankments and three crossings are in close proximity to the listed Woodend Lock and Lock Cottage on the Trent & Mersey Canal. This will have a dramatically adverse impact upon a particularly tranquil and much loved length of a rural canal currently enjoyed by high numbers of visitors by boat, bike and on foot.
Since publication of the preferred route in January 2012, IWA and the Canal & River Trust have been working closely together, developing an ‘Alternative alignment’ for HS2’s Phase 1 route avoiding the Trent and Mersey Canal at Fradley. While both organisations accept that the Phase 2 Manchester link will cross the Trent & Mersey Canal between Shadehouse and Woodend locks, the proposed crossings joining Phase 1 to the West Coast Main Line can be eliminated.
Renowned engineering consultancy Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd was commissioned by the Trust and IWA to produce a technical report on the ‘Alternative Alignment’ in September 2013. The report setting out a feasible alternative alignment avoiding the canal, substantially reducing embankment heights and noise and visual intrusion, and potentially saving millions of pounds, has been submitted to HS2 Ltd by both organisations as part of the formal consultation process.
Senior representatives from the Trust, IWA, Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd and HS2 Ltd recently met to discuss the technical and design details of the proposed ‘Alternative Alignment’ and its compliance with relevant rail design criteria. During the course of the highly productive meeting, it became clear that there is improved prospect of a technically viable alternative route at Fradley Junction. The Trust, IWA and Hyder Consulting (UK) Ltd will continue to work closely with HS2 Ltd in the coming weeks to further develop and refine their proposals.
Last date edited: 24 July 2015