A gang of architects no one asked to has redesigned a critical section of the HS2 plan, suggesting that adding a full-power HS2 interchange beneath Manchester Piccadilly Station would enable direct high-speed services from Liverpool, Leeds and York to travel via Manchester, invigorating the Northern Powerhouse concept by doing a bit more for east-west travel that's not all about when you get to London.
Architect Weston Williamson + Partners and consultant Expedition say that plan is billions of pounds cheaper too, which ought to get a few long-lobed ears with grey hairs coming out of them to prick up a bit in Westminster. The plan uses more of the existing rail network on the eastern limb of the Y-shaped network, though, instead routing trains between the south and Leeds through Manchester; so travellers from Birmingham and down beyond may get to Leeds in a marginally more roundabout way but with much less building.
Manchester Piccadilly would no longer be an awkward HS2 terminus either, thanks to the creation of what they call High Speed Station Square beneath the current station in Manchester, enabling services that directly connect Liverpool to West Yorkshire as part of HS2 works rather than farming that out to the Northern Powerhouse build, and allowing trains from the south to run through.
Anyway it probably is a bit too late for such a massive change, but you never know. They've submitted the alternative pitch to the review of the later phase Northern sections of the line, just in case. [WW+P via Rochdale News]