Detailed proposals for the route of High Speed 2 (HS2) north of Birmingham, including the locations of new stations, have been unveiled by prime minister David Cameron.
Cameron said Britain must “seize the unparalleled opportunity” presented by the HS2 high speed network to generate jobs, rebalance the economy and “secure the country’s future prosperity”.
The preferred route of phase two includes five new stations: Manchester, Manchester Airport, East Midlands, Sheffield, and Leeds.
“Linking communities and businesses across the country and shrinking the distances between our greatest cities, high speed rail is an engine for growth that will help to drive regional regeneration and invigorate our regional economies. It is vital that we get on board the high-speed revolution,” said Cameron.
“We are in a global race and this government’s decision to make high speed rail a reality is another example of the action we taking to equip Britain to compete and thrive in that race. High speed rail is a catalyst that will help to secure economic prosperity across Britain, rebalance our economy and support tens of thousands of jobs.”
Publication of the 388km route for phase two of HS2 follows confirmation a year ago of HS2’s 224km southern phase one route between London and Birmingham.
Phase one is scheduled to start construction in four years and open to passengers in 13 years. The routes announced today, running from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, would open six years after that.
HS2 and phase two: the government’s ten key pledges
- HS2 will make Manchester city centre 41 minutes from Birmingham city centre and 1 hour 8 minutes from London Euston, almost halving train times today. Leeds will be 57 minutes away from Birmingham city centre, compared to 1 hour 58 today, and 1 hour 22 minutes away from London Euston, down from 2 hours 12 minutes.
- Construction of the railway line, its maintenance and new station hubs driving surrounding commerce and regeneration, will create a total of 100,000 jobs
- New stations at Manchester, Manchester Airport, Leeds, Sheffield and the East Midlands will bring communities and businesses closer together
- HS2 will be integrated with the existing national railway network, meaning cities and towns beyond the high speed track up to Scotland will benefit from new connections and substantial time savings
- HS2 will allow more commuter, rural and freight services to run on existing lines, and mean fewer cars and lorries on the roads
- Ticket prices on HS2 will be set in order that the new rail services can be accessed by all
- HS2 will deliver £2 of benefit for every £1 spent, even before wider economic benefits are calculated
- A generous compensation package will be offered to people living near the line and millions will be invested in tunnels and other measures to mitigate noise and other impacts
- HS2 will ensure that railway network has capacity to cope with ever increasing numbers of passengers
- HS2 will connect to Heathrow Airport from the first day that Phase One opens via a fast 11-minute Crossrail link at the new Old Oak Common station. Subject to the findings of the Airports Commission report on maintaining the UK’s international hub connectivity, HS2 could also be extended to serve Heathrow directly
The government and HS2 Ltd will now work with MPs, local authorities, station city delivery partners and others, including environment and heritage organisations, to refine these proposals.
This period of engagement will then be followed by an extensive consultation on the preferred route, stations and depots to begin ahead of schedule later this year. This will be designed to give the public the greatest possible opportunity to comment on the plans. The final route will be chosen by the end of 2014.
The Department for Transport will also take forward a study in collaboration with Transport Scotland to examine rail connectivity needs north and south of the border and consider Scotland’s aspirations for high speed rail. This work will look at how best to boost capacity and cut journey times from London to Scotland to under three hours.