Britain will have a national high speed rail network providing vital new capacity and faster journeys across the country from 2026, Transport Secretary Justine Greening has announced.
HS2 will be a Y-shaped rail network with stations in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and the East Midlands linked by high speed trains conveying up to 26,000 people each hour at speeds of up to 250mph.
High speed trains will also connect seamlessly with the existing West Coast and East Coast main lines to serve passengers beyond the HS2 network in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Durham, York, Darlington, Liverpool, Preston, Wigan and Lancaster.
It will be built in two phases. The first will see construction of a new 140 mile line between London and Birmingham by 2026, the detailed route of which is published today. The second phase will see lines built from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester by 2033. A formal consultation on second phase routes will begin in early 2014 with a final route chosen by the end of 2014.
The first phase of HS2 will include a connection to Europe via the Channel Tunnel. On completion of HS2 the network will include a direct link to Heathrow Airport.
Transport Secretary, Justine Greening MP, said:
'A new high speed rail network will provide Britain with the additional train seats, connections and speed to stay ahead of the congestion challenge and help create jobs, growth and prosperity for the entire country.
'HS2 will link some of our greatest cities - and high speed trains will connect with our existing railway lines to provide seamless journeys to destinations far beyond it. This is a truly British network that will serve far more than the cities directly on the line.
'More than a century ago the Victorians built railways that continue to serve us to this day and just over 50 years ago the post-war generation chose to invest in motorways, bringing higher road capacity and faster journeys to millions. Both transformed the economic and social fabric of this country: HS2 is our generation's investment in Britain and our children.'