Phase two of new UK high-speed rail project unveiled

By Helen Wright28 January 2013

The UK's planned new high-speed rail line (HS2) will link London with Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds

The UK's planned new high-speed rail line (HS2) will link London with Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield.

The UK government has revealed more details about the second phase of its planned high-speed rail network (HS2), which will extend the planned line further into the north of the country and is expected to cost £16.8 billion (€19.7 billion) to complete.

Phase two is scheduled for construction in 2032 to 2033 and extends the line in the north to Manchester and Leeds. New stations will be built in Manchester city centre and at Manchester Airport as well as in Leeds centre and in Sheffield, while a new East Midlands Hub station will also be constructed at Toton.

The 104km first phase, details of which were announced last year, will see the construction of a line from London to the West Midlands, including Birmingham, which also connects with the existing High-Speed One (HS1) network. This line is expected to open in 2026, with construction scheduled to start in 2016.

The government forecast that construction of the full network is expected to cost up to £34.5 billion (€40 billion) if it includes an addition link to Heathrow Airport in London, and £33.1 billion (€38.8 billion) without the Heathrow connection.

However, the government said it had decided to suspend the development of the Heathrow HS2 connection, subject to the outcome of an Airport Commission review into airport capacity – the final report for which is not due until 2015.

With trains running at up to 363kmph, the first phase of the project would cut London to Birmingham journey times to 49 minutes.

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