THE latest report into HS2 advocates building a new, dedicated station for the £45.6 billion high speed railway in Crewe.
The move, outlined in this morning's report, HS2 Plus, by new HS2 chairman, David Higgins, plans to expedite the delivery of Phase Two of the railway line.
Mr Higgins envisages starting work on Phase Two six years earlier than planned by building a 'regional transport hub' in Crewe by 2027.
Thereafter, the remainder of Phase Two, would be delivered three years ahead of previous schedules.
Mr Higgins said the previous methods of linking Phase One to the existing rail network at Birmingham, ahead of Phase Two's completion, were 'sub optimal', and identified Crewe as the key site for a hub station to bring benefits to the north sooner.
He added that Crewe station was 'in need of repair'.
"The roof was badly damaged in the storms. Rather than repair the station; build a new one south of Crewe allowing connectivity to the rest of the network, linking the north west and north Wales," he said.
Delivering his report at Manchester Town Hall on Monday, March 17, Mr Higgins said the previous plan to run new high speed trains through Crewe on existing railway lines would create a 'traffic jam' along the West Coast Main Line.
The report reads that benefits of the railway 'could be spread further north sooner if Phase Two were accelerated and the line were extended to a new regional transport hub at Crewe by 2027'.
Mr Higgins' report gives a green light to what Cheshire East Council has been campaigning for: a dedicated rail interchange along the route of HS2 at Crewe.
Previously, high speed trains would only have served the town by transferring to the existing West Coat Main Line via a junction at Basford.
But this morning's report places Crewe as the key site to the railway's northern extension from Birmingham.
Mr Higgins said: "I propose the Government should accelerate Phase Two as soon as possible to take the line 43 miles further north than planned in Phase One, to a new transport hub at Crewe which could be completed by 2027, six years earlier than planned.
"It is the right strategic answer, and not just for the area around Crewe: It would also deliver the benefits of HS2 - in terms of better service to the north - much sooner."
The Crewe hub, arriving ahead of spurs to Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds, would 'bring together road and rail services for the region as a whole, allowing faster services sooner to Manchester, the rest of the north west and to Scotland'.
Mr Higgins added: "in my discussions preparing this report, I have repeatedly been urged both to deliver the benefits the line will bring to the north sooner, and to start work there earlier.
"That is why I am proposing to extend the line to a new hub at Crewe by 2027, so that services through that interchange can be better and faster, sooner."
Outlining the cost of the railway, Mr Higgins' report sets a figure of £21.4 billion plus £3 billion for trains for Phase One and £21.2 billion for Phase Two.