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High Speed 2: The NCE guide

The decision by transport secretary Justine Greening to go ahead with the High Speed 2 scheme with some modifications to the route is the latest step forward for the mega-rail scheme.

It is the third detailed design iteration in two years by three transport secretaries. The key principles remain the same — for a little over £30bn the government hopes to build a new high speed railway serving London and Birmingham in phase one and eventually further north to Manchester and Leeds, along with intermediate stations.

However, the scheme has evolved. In this guide NCE brings together the key features of the plans — new and old — along with the key resources from video through to the primary technical reports.

  • Stay up to date with NCE’s High Speed 2 coverage by bookmarking this page.

NCE’s coverage surrounding Labour’s transport secretary Lord Adonis in March 2010

Following the coalition government’s formation new Tory transport secretary Philip Hammond reveals his version of the scheme in December 2010

Hammond moves on and new transport secretary Justine Greening hesitates to look again at environmental mitigation before revealing the modified scheme in January 2012




Readers' comments (2)

  • Oh dear - why is ICE obsessed with BIG infrastructure? more than £32bn so that a few wealthy people can get from Birmingham to London 30 minutes faster in the fastest train in the world. What a nonsense - once again certain people are putting immediate clients before society! ICE needs to start challenging stupid and unprofessional decisions. ICE is running scared of standing up to Government for fear of losing influence. £32bn could have done wonders for the transport network as a whole which needs to be properly integrated. No sign of this ever happening. Living in the 'Regions' I can see no value from yet another white elephant scheme - tragically supported by ICE who should know better. Invest the money elsewhere if it is not going into integrated transport systems.

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  • Richard raises issues which have been covered many times, so I'll be brief:
    - £32bn is for the whole scheme to Leeds and Manchester, not just Birmingham. We can't build the whole thing at once so it's best to build the first phase where the most demand is.
    - The main issue is capacity. The west coast main line will soon be full. Incremental upgrades won't provide the required capacity as Network Rail's report this week demonstrates. Speed is an added bonus for sure, but it's not the main reason.
    - HS2 is a mass transit system with 14 trains per hour, each with 1100 seats. How this can possibly be viewed as being for a few wealthy people is beyond me.
    - Without high speed lines, the existing network will continue to be poorly integrated as it tries (and fails) to satisfy the contradictory requirements of inter-city, regional, commuter and freight services.
    - The ICE was in favour of developing a high speed rail network well before the government belatedly realised such a network was needed.
    Richard describes the decision and 'stupid and unprofessional'. As the decision to build HS2 is the result of years of work by engineering professionals, I hope that Richard is not referring to ICE members.

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