HS2: High-speed rail route phase two details announced

 

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Details of the next phase of the £32bn HS2 high-speed rail network have been unveiled by the government.

The preferred route of phase two goes north from Birmingham along two branches, with new stations at Toton near Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Manchester and Manchester Airport.

Prime Minister David Cameron said there were particular benefits to linking the UK's major cities with high-speed rail.

Phase one's London-Birmingham link has faced considerable opposition.

Critics argue that HS2's predicted economic benefits have been overestimated by the government, and suggest swathes of picturesque countryside will be blighted by the railway.

Chancellor George Osborne's Tatton constituency in Cheshire is among the places phase two will pass through.

But he said: "If our predecessors hadn't decided to build the railways in the Victorian times, or the motorways in the middle part of the 20th Century, then we wouldn't have those things today.

"You have got to commit to these projects even though they take many years."

Analysis

Seven months is ever such a long time in politics.

Last summer there were rumours that HS2 was about to be quietly ditched. A Tory minister told a magazine that the project was "effectively dead" because George Osborne was going cold on the whole idea. Although, he denied that at the time.

Today, George Osborne will be all over your telly telling you HS2 is going to transform the economy, heal the north-south divide and help set us on the fast-track back to growth and prosperity.

This "dead" project is now back at the heart of the government's growth agenda; in a bid to convince voters that there is an ambitious plan to help rebalance and boost our sickly economy.

But there are still plenty of critics who claim the government's economic case for building a super-fast train line simply doesn't stack up. And that there are far better ways of spending £33bn to stimulate growth.

The Department for Transport said that HS2 phase two would virtually halve journey times between Birmingham and Manchester - to 41 minutes - and between London and Manchester from two hours and eight minutes to one hour and eight minutes.

Speeds of up to 250mph on HS2 will also reduce a Birmingham to Leeds journey from two hours to 57 minutes, while phase one will cut London-Birmingham travel to 49 minutes, from the current one hour and 24 minutes.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "It's not just about journey times, it is also about capacity.

"We are finding the railways are overcrowded. We've seen massive growth in rail passenger numbers, so this is taking HS2 so it serves the north."

Mr McLoughlin told MPs a period of informal consultation on the exact route would start immediately and inform an official public consultation later this year, with a firm decision reached in 2014.

A proposed spur to Heathrow Airport has been put on hold pending a review of UK aviation policy, due to report in 2015.

'Fundamentally flawed'

More than 70 groups oppose HS2. StopHS2 argues the project is "fundamentally flawed", saying the majority of journeys will be to London so England's North and Midlands will lose out rather than benefit, and that projections do not take into account competition from conventional rail.

Andrew Bridgen MP: "I have no confidence in their consultation process"

StopHS2 campaign manager Joe Rukin said: "Fifty-five percent of the economic benefits are based on the cash value of time, no-one works on trains and every business user is worth £70,000 a year - it's basically a train for the rich that everyone else is not only going to have to pay for the construction of but also have to subsidise throughout its lifetime as well."

Other opponents object on the grounds that HS2 will cut through picturesque countryside, and 18 councils along the route have said taxpayers cannot afford the line, and that it will increase greenhouse gas emissions.

The phase two announcement was welcomed by officials in northern English cities including Leeds, where city council leader Keith Wakefield said: "It will strengthen Leeds' position as the northern transport hub, and unlock major investment, jobs opportunities and connectivity to the rest of the country."

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said: "We can't keep turning a blind eye to the north-south divide in our economy. That is what this high-speed project is all about."

HS2 image of proposed train The line is designed to cut travel times between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds

Construction on the Y-shaped extension could start in the middle of the next decade, with the line open by 2032-33.

While new stations will be built at Manchester Airport, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Toton, high-speed trains will also stop at Crewe's existing station on their way to Preston and Liverpool.

They will also be able to continue to Runcorn, Wigan, Durham, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Construction of the London-West Midlands route is expected to begin around 2017, once Parliament has approved the necessary powers, probably in 2015.

The Toton station along phase two of the route will primarily serve Derby and Nottingham, while the Sheffield station will be sited at the Meadowhall shopping centre five miles from the city centre.

Graphic showing the route for the new high-speed rail network
'Timetable slipping'

Labour's shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: "I think it's tremendously important that we link our airports to our cities, not some station in the middle of nowhere near a city and bypass our main hub airports.

"So I think there are questions to be asked and we will be asking them, but overall this is a good thing for the country and we need to get on and give certainty."

She previously highlighted "worrying signs that the Department for Transport's timetable to deliver this vital infrastructure is slipping".

Details have also been published of the consultation on HS2 Ltd's proposed exceptional hardship scheme for phase two, which will cover compensation to affected property-owners.

 

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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 752.

    Time for spades to enter the ground!

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 751.

    All roads and rail lead to London. Starting to sound like the Hunger Games!!!

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 750.

    I can't see the HS2 being a commuter belt facilitator. The whole idea of a HS train is fewer stops and *faster speeds point-to-point. Repeated slowing, stopping, accelerating and having to slow and stop again doesn't fit with the purpose of a HS train. HS trains in other countries verify this.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 749.

    It won't ever happen.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 748.

    It will probably...definitely cost more than budgeted but it is necessary. Infrastructure in the UK is, as mentioned in here, from the Victorian era and the mid 20th century. Many developed countries use high speed rail and reap the rewards and this is a step we need to take to keep the UK competitive. If we could also have fiber optics and good broadband it would help but hey ho

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 747.

    By the time it's finished, we'll have teleportation

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 746.

    Isn't this just another example of the interests of Liverpool being erased from the map?The more than 30 minute advantage that Manchester will enjoy on journeys to London may as well be 30 hours and will terminally disadvantage the Merseyside area when competing for inward investment.I can see 20 years down the road,Liverpool will have lost it's direct London service,routed instead via Manchester.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 745.

    These proposals should do wonders for job security and creation...............for overseas engineering companies!
    Siemens, Alsthom etc must be really getting stuck into the bubbly.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 744.

    £32 billion + for HS2.

    £30 billion + for a Trident replacement

    £6 billion + for aircraft carriers.

    But we don't have any money left and we're all in this together.

    What a joke.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 743.

    Ready in 2033 if there are no delays (cough). We have the deepest recession since the 1930s, so I am for "shovel ready" capital spending, but this is merely PR for a government whose economic policies have failed by a Chancellor who has never had a real job.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 742.

    Work not starting till middle of next decade!

    Anything beyond this term of parliament has no chance of happening (like the banking reform) so this is George Osbourne trying to claim credit instead of responding to the triple dip recession his policies will take us into.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 741.

    Edinburgh's tram project was initially estimated at £375Million in 2003. Latest estimate is well over £1Billion. They were also initially due to be operational in early 2011. The works are ongoing. Take the £32Billion estimate for HS2 and multiple it 4 fold - that's approx where the final cost will be

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 740.

    "Northern Rail Route"

    Yet more Scottish taxpayers money being wasted a huge project which will have absolutely NO benefit to Scotland. HS2 is fine if you live south of Leeds, but useless if living in the north.

    25 years ago the Euro Tunnel was built, using Scottish taxpayers money, on the promise of direct European rail travel from Edinburgh/Glasgow to Paris.

    We are still waiting.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 739.

    This all came about when cameron promised some investment opportunities to the chinease and looked for something to do

    pre requisits

    Must take freight
    All jobs created are for long term unemployed 45-65 yrs
    Trains built in UK
    Rails built in UK
    Train tickets affordable
    clearly there will be no jobs created as promised
    Cost will exceed 100 billion

    Best expand heathrow and manchester airports now

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 738.

    It would be even nicer if anyone could afford to get on it

    Also, im Scottish... really hope our taxes are going towards something more useful then letting the english sleep in an extra 20 min for the trip to work...

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 737.

    Surely we should address the issue of efficiency of the rail network in order to reduce ticket prices. It seems ridiculous to me that we are trying to build HS2, which will undoubtedly be more expensive than the current options available, when it will offer a service out of reach of most of the population due to its price.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 736.

    "ENGINE FOR GROWTH"

    Are we supposed to be impressed with the puns the Tories come up with?

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 735.

    George, haven’t you watched “Back to the Future Part III (1990)”? After Electric car invented, there is no point to spend money on railway improvement. Moreover, British’s economic strength is not “mass production”. HS2will never help our economy growth.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 734.

    HS2 passes 150 yds from my home. I don't intend to leave, I'm too old & poor to move. HS2 state that:
    I DO NOT qualify for any compensation.
    The line WILL create localised flooding..
    The line goes between International Airports, not towns/cities.
    It will cost £400 per ticket Manchester to London.
    Construction will change all the road systems in the area.

    Its an engine for disaster......

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 733.

    687#

    What jobs will it bring to the north then Samxool? If you already work as a train mechanic at Toton, youre quids in. If you clean trains, youre quids in. If you have a coffee stall at a station, you're quids in.

    Otherwise you're screwed. It will pull jobs into London, not "spread prosperity around" Thats just total and utter hogwash.

 

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