Stage One of Plan B would be the forty mile fast link between Manchester Victoria and Leeds via Rochdale. It would halve rail times between the two cities and at the same time join up a Northern Cities Crossrail, taking half an hour out of cross-Pennine rail times from as far west as Liverpool to as far east as Hull. HS2 will not do this.
Stage Two of Plan B would extend this Crossrail south, from a grade-separated junction close to Jn.25 of the M62, to Meadowhall and Sheffield/Rotherham; and north into a new Bradford Central station from a similar high speed rail junction close to Jn.26 of the M62.
The Bradford Central to Sheffield Station rail time would be 25 minutes.
Manchester, Bradford, Leeds and Sheffield-Rotherham would then have a fast-connected economic critical mass half as big again as Birmingham.
Stage Three of Plan B would be the construction of a four platform station at East Midlands Airport with rail-connectors northwards from it onto the local line between Derby Station and Nottingham Station and connectors south-east from it onto the present Midland Main Line to Loughborough and Leicester.
The aim of Stage Three is an East Midlands economic critical mass bigger than the sum of its city and airport parts. It would at the same time put East Midlands Airport on the Midland Main Line. HS2 will not do this.
Stage Four of Plan B adopts BML2’s proposal for a rail tunnel to connect Canary Wharf to the south of London rail network via Lewisham and to the Lea Valley, Stansted and Cambridge line via Stratford.
Congestion on the lines into and through London Bridge and on the lines into London Liverpool Street both greatly exceed the much more publicised congestion into Euston.
Stage Four would, then, greatly reduce peak hours congestion at the London Bridge interchange (Kent, South London, Brighton and Gatwick commuters), on the eastern section of the Jubilee Line, on the Lea Valley line and for Cambridge commuters to Canary Wharf via Kings Cross-St Pancras.
Stage Five of Plan B would extend the Plan B main line south from Sheffield into the new East Midlands Airport Station, taking advantage of HS2’s safeguarded alignment south of Sheffield where possible.
Note: This fifth stage would give the Midlands Main Line a new, HS1-speeds, route north of Leicester into Sheffield, Bradford, Leeds and Manchester Victoria.
Stage Six would extend this HS1-speeds main line south from East Midlands Airport to join the Midland Main Line just north of Luton and continue south to St Pancras International and its East Midland and Thameslink platforms. Stage Six includes an option for a rail/rail interchange next to M1 Jn.13 for Oxford/Milton Keynes/Cranfield/Bedford.
Stage Seven of HS2 Plan B would fast-connect the centre of Birmingham via the M6 corridor and Coventry eastwards to a junction with Plan B Stage Six close to M1 Jn 19.
In Stage Seven, inter-operable trains would be able to continue west beyond Birmingham to Wolverhampton and Telford/Shrewsbury or Stafford. Running eastwards, this Midland Cities Crossrail would extend to join the MML into Leicester station.