Derby Midland railway station 'runner-up' in race for site of High Speed 2 station, report reveals
DERBY was the second-choice option for a High Speed 2 rail station in the East Midlands.
According to a report released by the Department for Transport, the city was one of two shortlisted candidates considered as the location for the station.
But it decided against Derby – because it would be "less able to serve wider East Midlands region" – and chose Toton Sidings, a goods yard near Junction 25 of the M1.
The report shows that HS2 Ltd, the company responsible for delivering the £32 billion project to create a line capable of carrying trains travelling at speeds up to 225mph, had considered Derby, Nottingham and Leicester for the location of the station, before opting for Toton.
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Leicester was dismissed because it would have resulted in a longer, more expensive route. Nottingham was ruled out because of cost, disruption and "sustainability" concerns.
The report reveals HS2 Ltd had considered putting its station on the same site as the existing Derby Midland railway station.
The report says: "This option would require the entire reconfiguration of the existing station, including the tracks, platforms, concourse and forecourt.
"This would deliver a modernised and efficient station, with enhanced public transport connectivity, and would facilitate easy interchange between HS2 and conventional rail services.
"A city centre location in Derby would also bring further benefits in terms of existing public transport connectivity and relative proximity to where passengers begin and end their journeys."
But it adds that the "complex construction" in Derby would last several years, with inevitable disruption, and the station would be less able to serve the region as a whole.
It says: "Journey times from key areas of demand are better for Toton, particularly given that Nottingham is the much larger source of demand. The East Midlands hub station option at Toton is forecast to attract over 20% more total demand than the central Derby station."
Some politicians and business leaders in Derby have questioned the plan to site the station at Toton.
Before the Government announced its preferred route, city leaders had presented a business case to Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, which claimed a station in Derby would reap the greatest economic benefits.
According to a report compiled by engineering consultancy Arup on behalf of Derby City Council, siting the HS2 station in Derby would deliver £440 million of benefits and create up to 12,000 jobs, compared with £410 million of benefits for a Nottingham station and £330 million for the Toton option, with the creation of 600 jobs.
Councillor Paul Bayliss, leader of the Labour-controlled city council, has vowed to continue the campaign to have the HS2 station in Derby, and seek assurances that some HS2 manufacturing work would be carried out by Derby rail companies.
But Tory group leader councillor Philip Hickson has dismissed the plan to campaign for the station to be sited in Derby as "absurd".
A consultation period will now follow. A final decision on the route will be made by Mr McLoughlin next year.