Manchester takes fight for underground Piccadilly HS2 train station to Parliament

‘Build it right and build it once’

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 12th June 2023

The battle to have an underground through-station built at Manchester Piccadilly – rather than a huge ‘unsightly’ overhead concrete viaduct – will head to Parliament today. 

Manchester City Council Leader Bev Craig will today make the case for the Government to rethink their plans about the HS2 plans through our city. 

Cllr Craig is calling for plans for a Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) underground station to be kept firmly on the table. 

The alternative would be an overground turnback station, requiring a six-track-wide viaduct that would carve through communities in the Ardwick area. 

Manchester City Council, alongside other Greater Manchester partners, will argue that an underground through-station is ‘the right solution’ and a pivotal piece in the NPR-HS2 puzzle.


They say that an underground NPR-HS2 station would offer up a chance to level up the Piccadilly area, supporting 14,000 jobs, new housing, green space and adding £333 million A YEAR more in benefits by 2050 to the local economy than the overground proposal. 

Councillor Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We are urging the Government to learn from mistakes elsewhere and build the right station for Manchester that will better serve us for the next century. Our railway system needs investment now and for the future. 


“HS2 will provide much needed extra capacity on our already congested rail network, improve connections between the north of England, West Midlands and London and act as a catalyst to wider economic growth. 

“But the current plan for an overground station that travels into the city on concrete stilts, with limited resilience and likely to be at full capacity from day one, is the wrong one. It might be cheaper in the short-term but this penny-wise, pound-foolish approach will cost the city and the North much more in missed opportunities. 

Current HS2 plans for an overground station at Piccadilly
Current HS2 plans for an overground station at Piccadilly

“We need to ‘build it right and build it once’ with an underground station, which increases capacity and connectivity for the whole of the North, while providing a world-class welcome to the heart of our city-region. Cities across the world are future proofing their cities by building their new stations underground, just like in London.  


“An underground through-station is the only way to deliver Northern Powerhouse Rail in full and, by having it underground, we get to create more jobs and put more money back into the Manchester and UK economy. It also means we avoid unsightly concrete viaducts, the height of three double-decker buses, cutting through communities and prime city centre development land being swallowed.”   

Andy Burnham added: “Manchester Piccadilly will be at the heart of the country’s high-speed network but if we fail to invest in Manchester’s rail links, we risk continuing to repeat the mistakes of the past. 

“Getting better east-west connectivity is the single biggest transport policy priority not just in the North of England, but the whole country. Government needs to look at the bigger picture here, because this is a decision which shapes our future and they are at risk of getting it seriously wrong. 

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with Cllr Craig’s call for an underground station at Piccadilly because if we get the wrong solution, it will limit economic growth, limit opportunities for local businesses and people, and to leave us with the wrong railway for another century would be a hammer blow to Levelling Up our country.” 

Featured image: Manchester City Council