December 11, 2023


The business lovers

how the high-speed rail plans will affect you

Plans for HS2, the high-speed rail link from London to the Midlands and the North of England, have been scaled back by the Government.

The eastern leg of the line has been scrapped and the Northern Powerhouse Rail link from Manchester to Leeds downgraded.

Boris Johnson faced a backlash over the decision after the Government published its Integrated Rail Plan.

Huw Merriman, the Conservative chairman of the Commons Transport select committee, accused the Prime Minister of “selling perpetual sunlight” but delivering “moonlight” instead.

However, Mr Johnson insisted that the new rail plan was a “fantastic” blueprint and represented the “biggest investment in rail for at least 100 years”, worth £96bn.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, also denied that the Government had reneged on promises to upgrade links for the North and Midlands in its revised rail plan for the region. He insisted the changes would mean faster journeys up to 10 years earlier than planned.

What is HS2?

High Speed 2 (HS2) is a proposed high-speed rail network intended to improve transport links between London and major cities in the Midlands and the North of England.

On Thursday, the Government published its Integrated Rail Plan (IRP) for the North and Midlands, detailing how the project would move forward.

The construction of the new railway has been split into three sections: phase 1 linking London and the West Midlands; Phase 2a connecting the West Midlands and the North via Crewe; and Phase 2b completing the railway to Manchester and Leeds.

High Speed 1 (HS1), the 67-mile railway which links London with the Channel Tunnel, was fully opened in 2007 at a cost of £5.8bn.

What changes have been made to the HS2 route?

The eastern leg of HS2 that was designed to link the East Midlands and Leeds has been scrapped. Instead, the high-speed line will stop at a new East Midlands Parkway station, about six miles south-west of Nottingham, with HS2 trains then continuing as far as Sheffield on upgraded mainline tracks.

Plans for a new line between Manchester and Leeds via Bradford have also been abandoned and Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will instead be a combination of new track and enhancements to existing infrastructure.