HS2 plans are revealed to residents
Residents were given the clearest impression so far what living near a planned high-speed rail network will be like at a consultation event.
HS2 visited The Rose Centre in Lowton and brought along a sound demonstration facility showing those attending what a high-speed train passing by looks and sounds like.
The team behind the controversial proposals, which could see trains running between major cities at speeds of up to 200mph, also released a factsheet containing the most up-to-date plans for the area.
The line is slated to enter the borough at Lowton after arriving from Culcheth and then run through to meet the existing West Coast Main Line near Bamfurlong.
HS2 has already made several changes to the proposals for the borough, most notably axeing plans for a massive rolling stock depot on Lowton Common which had provoked an outcry from residents, councillors and MPs.
The relocation of the depot to Crewe means the proposed line has now been moved around 410 metres south, away from Pennington Flash Country Park and Abram Flashes, which is a site of special scientific interest (SSSI).
The track will also be raised to improve the clearance over watercourses in the area and help drainage and the junction at Bamfurlong will only have a north-facing connection with the West Coast Main Line.
After entering the borough the line is expected to go over the current railway line between Liverpool and Manchester before passing under the East Lancs Road.
It will then go through Lowton in a cutting before climbing onto an embankment to the south-west of Pennington Flash.
HS2 has admitted homes along the route will hear railway noise during an 18-hour daytime period but says it will look at ways of reducing the impact on residents.
Work on existing roads and railways which the route crosses will also be needed but no firm plans have been created so far. Consultations with Highways England, Network Rail and councils to minimise disruption have been promised.
Leigh MP Andy Burnham has also pledged to continue campaigning for a new railway station for the town connected to the proposed HS2 line.
Work on Phase Two of HS2, which includes the section through the borough, is expected to begin in 2023 with the line scheduled to open 10 years later.