The following is the route of the HS2 line from Warburton to Abram including section on the planned maintenance depot.
(Source phase two engineering options report West Midlands to Manchester Part 2)
From Warburton / Cadishead to Lowton
The route section from Warburton to Lowton would be 12.1km long
The design speed would be 360kph (223mph) then reducing to 300kph (186mph). The speed results from the design required to pass over the Manchester Ship Canal between Hollins Green and Cadishead, the landfill site at Risley, the west side of Culcheth and Kenyon the route through Lowton on the line of the dismantled railway.
The route would be at ground level and then pass into a cutting with a maximum depth of 9m passing between Mossbrow and Warburton. The A6144 would be realigned to the north on a bridge over the route. The B5160 would be extended to connect to it.
The route continues on embankment for the next 3.6km reducing in height from the viaduct and an area of peat. Works to maintain the groundwater regime, including during the removal of peat, would be required during construction. The route would cross over Dam Head Lane the Manchester to Warrington railway and the M62
From Lowton to Abram
The route section between Lowton and Bamfurlong would be 5.2km long.
At Lowton Common the A572 would be realigned onto a bridge over the route at the location of the dismantled railway.
A grade separated junction would be provided with the tracks increasing from two to four at a junction by the A572 (Newton Road). The route would be in a cutting, passing through a historic coal mining area and landfill site, which would extend for 1.6km at a maximum depth of 7m. The eastern track would rise (at a maximum height of 2m above ground level) to cross over the through route, which is in a 6m deep cutting, and join the western track to form this diverging route.
Byrom Lane would be diverted for 700m on the north side of the route to avoid it. Slag Lane would be realigned onto a bridge over the route east of Byrom Hall. After a short length at ground level the route would run in a shallow cutting (up to 4m deep), on a low embankment (up to 3m high), at ground level and then rise on an embankment with a maximum height of 12m. The A573 would be realigned onto a bridge over the route.
The existing most easterly of the four WCML lines would be realigned up to 100m east to allow this route to pass over it (at a height of 8m) and descend to connect to the WCML at a junction 300m south of A58 at Bamfurlong in a historic coal mining area. The length of the realignment would be 2km.
A rolling stock maintenance depot option is to be developed on the south side of this section of route.
Rolling Stock Maintenance Depot
The depot between Golborne and Abram (Bryn / Bamfurlong) is at the end of the split from the triangle which goes up to Manchester Airport then the city.
The depot is to service HS2 rolling stock that move from Manchester to be serviced overnight ready for services to continue the next day. It is planned to serve up to 8 trains per night. The depot is to be approximately 2,600 metres long with access from the east and south for HS2 rolling stock and also for classic lines (none HS2) from north to south.
NB: There will be two types of trains dedicated HS2 trains and dual purpose HS2 and classic line.
The dedicated HS2 will not enter the classic lines and will terminate at Manchester and / or the servicing depot at Bamfurlong.
The dual purpose trains can operate on the classic line such as coming off at Bamfurlong and proceed north to Wigan, Preston and Glasgow. In addition some trains will exit at Crewe and proceed to Liverpool or Warrington.
The HS2 trains can maintain high speeds up to Crewe then conventional speeds on the normal classic lines.
Impact on local wildlife and green belt generally
In the short term it will be devastating, building of cuttings and embankments would cause immense disturbance both to wildlife and humans alike. Construction would take place over a number of years with heavy machinery and impacts on the local road systems. Habitats would be destroyed permanently.
We also need to consider this development is not isolated or stand alone.
We need first to consider the aggregate impact on other losses of green infrastructure in the area such as possibly Parkside, the Lowton Housing, Omega, Omega housing and the potential loss of green belt being proposed by the core strategies of all three local borough councils. Potentially in 30 years time there could be a seventeen mile area from Glazebury to Rainhill unbroken urban sprawl or where the countryside is nonexistent save for a few sort green spaces.
We also need to consider the multiplier effect of additional add on developments particularly if the interchange at Pennington on green belt is accepted. This is likely to generate additional demand for housing and hotels all again potentially on remaining green belt land due to the commuter connectivity to the capital
In the longer term there would be less of an impact as biodiversity and wildlife restores itself quite often railway embankments are good places for wildlife undisturbed and with carrion. However there may well be less green infrastructure then generally.
There may be some long term impact with loss of roaming for mammals such as deer and badger and loss of suitable habitat for the endangered Brown Hare which frequents this area. Loss of farmland may impact some birds of prey and buntings, linnets and finches which currently are present in the green belt which is relatively undisturbed.
Specific Biodiversity Impacts
In the Warburton area both the Risley Moss and Rixton Claypits SSSI would be close to the HS2 line with Rixton almost alongside.
This section would pass through Byrom Hall and Lightshaw Flashes nature reserve and SSSI. It would also impact the biodiversity at Pennington Flash through loss of these habitats and the disruption on the construction phase.