The route for the HS2 northern section has been revealed, with the Government at the same time putting the Heathrow spur from the London-Birmingham section on hold.
Manchester Airport is to get a station on the new HS2 northern section, which also goes in to Manchester city centre. A second line would go up to Leeds via the East Midlands.
The Heathrow spur has been put on hold pending the Aviation Review being run by Sir Howard Davies. Although construction on the link is not due to start until 2017, enabling legislation will need to be passed in 2015, so it is possible that Heathrow could remain without a direct connection to the high speed rail link to the north of the country for some time following that.
A proposed link to Crossrail at Old Oak Common could provide the airports only link to the network.
This is a boost of course to plans to regenerate the area around Old Oak – an increasingly disused rail yard south of Willesden Junction. This will now be the main interchange station for passengers wanting to transfer from the new high speed network to Heathrow.
It was a part of HS2 phase 1, providing an interchange with Crossrail, and lifting the passenger load on the Euston terminus.
LB Hammersmith & Fulham hopes the new station will help create around 20,000 jobs in the immediate area.
Cllr Nicholas Botterill, H&F Council Leader, said: “HS2 also has the power to transform not just the national economy, by bridging the north/south divide, but also to deliver new prosperity and jobs in one of the poorest parts of our borough.”