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Could HS3 Be Closer Than We Thought?

Grimshaw's designs for the interior of the Euston HS2 terminal

Minor changes to the route of the HS2 high speed rail line between Crewe and Manchester may seem like the kind of thing only rail nerds find fascinating. But it could be that tweaks to the line south of Manchester will open the way to an integrated rail system including Northern Powerhouse Rail (sometimes called HS3).

The minor route changes introduce new junctions joining the trans-Pennine route to the north-south HS2 route.

A consultation on the changes has now been launched, RailNews reports.

The parliamentary bill necessary to authorise the new line is unlikely to be published before next year.

"This consultation includes proposals to allow for two future junctions that could see the HS2 line into Manchester used as part of Northern Powerhouse Rail," HS2 Minister Nusrat Ghani said in a parliamentary statement.

"These proposals have been developed in partnership with Transport for the North, and, in the future, would open up the opportunity for a potential new route between Manchester and Liverpool that could also be used for services between London and Liverpool.

"Further scope to support the interfaces with Northern Powerhouse Rail (including at Leeds) ... is currently being considered and is subject to future funding decisions."