The final route of the HS2 high-speed railway through Derbyshire will be announced today.
A report last year recommended that the main route be moved east - away from the much-loved Chesterfield canal - and that Chesterfield itself be served by a spur that will join existing tracks at Clay Cross.
But critics have warned Derbyshire villages on the route, such as Newton, will be negatively impacted.
If the latest proposed route gets the go ahead, the Newton residents fear their village will be ‘cut in two’.
They say it would also mean more than 30 houses being demolished to make way for the line, including some which have not yet been built.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the Government will ensure communities affected by the railway receive ‘appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect’.
The HS2 project is expected to cost around £55 billion.
Mr Grayling said: “HS2 will deliver vital links between some of our country’s biggest cities, helping to drive economic growth and productivity in the North and Midlands.
“As well as providing desperately needed new seats and better connecting our major cities, HS2 will help re-balance our economy.”Joe Rukin of the Stop HS2 campaign said: “The case for HS2 has been invented by the very cheerleaders who intend to rake in billions of taxpayers’ money which is desperately needed elsewhere, so it really is time to ditch this gigantic white elephant before it is too late.”
In February, Parliament granted powers to build Phase 1 of the line, which is due to open in December 2026.
“This will see trains travel at high speed between London and Birmingham before running on from Birmingham on the existing West Coast Main Line.
Preparatory work has begun and major construction projects are due to launch in 2018/19.
Mr Grayling will soon publish a Bill to deliver Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe, with services expected to begin in 2027.
Phase 2b from Crewe to Manchester, and Birmingham to the East Midlands and Leeds, is due to open in 2033.
The DfT released a study claiming HS2 could help to double the number of seats available to passengers suffering from overcrowded and infrequent trains in key northern towns and cities.
By freeing up space on existing lines there could be twice as many seats on rush hour services from Manchester Piccadilly towards Stoke, Crewe and the South, and from Leeds towards Wakefield, according to the report.
HS2 may also enable new direct trains from London to destinations such as Bolton, Rochdale and Grimsby, and from Manchester to Derby, the research found.