HS2 is reviewing the Sheffield station site following high level meetings with regional leaders, The Star has learned.
Engineers are using a new formula to assess up to five options for a high speed rail station in the city.
For the first time they will take into account the importance of linking HS2 with HS3, a plan for half-hour rail journeys between the centres of Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester.
An HS2 spokesman said: “We are busy consulting with the whole region. Discussions are going well. We recognise the importance of reaching a decision as quickly as possible for residents, the local authority and everyone concerned.”
Campaigners for a city centre station say a link up between the two proposed high speed services is essential and a review that recognises its importance is a major step forward.
A decision will be made this year.
The government’s current choice is an out-of-town stop at Meadowhall. But The Star and hundreds of public and private sector organisations believe it should be in the city centre due to the overwhelming economic impact - including an extra 6,500 jobs.
The Star understands HS2 engineers will base their review on a formula used to decide the site of the HS2 station in Leeds after looking at several options.
It was picked up and promoted by Sheffield Chamber executive director Richard Wright as a fair way to make a decision in South Yorkshire.
It includes integrating with HS3, economic impact, aligning with the region’s economic plan and ticket sales.
A source close to the campaign said: “HS2 was drawn up long before HS3 was announced. The fact that it calls for city-centre-to-city-centre travel changes the whole equation. Now, things are being revisited.”
HS2 could form the eastern leg of HS3 between Leeds and Sheffield – but only if the stations are in both city centres. If the Sheffield station is at Meadowhall, then the two proposed high speed services would be separated by a four mile gap. In March, the National Infrastructure Commission said fast trains between city centres were key to a ‘high speed north’ and HS2 should be used to create the network and it called for a redesign of the northern route.