Sheffield could be served by high speed rail sooner than expected - with an announcement due later this year on how the link can be brought to the city and the rest of northern England more quickly.
Current plans for the city to be included in the second phase of the multi-billion pound scheme mean the link is not due to be in place until the early 2030s.
But the Government has now asked Sir David Higgins, chairman of HS2 Ltd, to produce a report on connecting northern cities ‘more quickly’, with the paper due to be published by the time of the Chancellor’s autumn statement in December.
It is intended that Sheffield would be part of an eastern leg of HS2 between the East Midlands and Leeds.
Proposals for the 115-mile route include the creation of a new station at Meadowhall, with project bosses claiming journey times to London would be cut to little more than an hour.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We are firmly and fully committed to our plans for a high speed rail network connecting Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds as part of our plans for HS2 Phase Two, on which we consulted earlier this year.
“In his report, ‘HS2 Plus’, Sir David Higgins set out his recommendations that the government should undertake further work on bringing the benefits to the north sooner, improving city centre to city centre and east-west connectivity and enhancing integration with our existing network.
“In response to his report five cities – Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester and Sheffield – are already engaged in a programme of work looking at northern connectivity. I am looking forward to seeing the outputs from this work. I am also very grateful for the responses to the HS2 Phase Two consultation, which we will report on in the autumn.
“The Government has asked Sir David to produce ambitious proposals for connecting the great northern cities. “This will look at how to bring the benefits of high speed rail to the north more quickly.”
It will include options on route, timescales and cost and will be published in the Autumn.