HS2: Second route linking Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds revealed
The second HS2 route linking Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds has been unveiled – despite fierce criticism over the scheme.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling last night confirmed the second phrase of the £55.7 billion project, with lines from Crewe to Manchester and Birmingham to Yorkshire, will go ahead.
Ministers also revealed the Bill that will see the line built through 45 miles of Staffordshire countryside. It will include a controversial construction depot near Stone that later could be turned into a huge maintenance facility.
The second phase lines are expected to open in 2033 - five years after the HS2 line from Birmingham to Crewe, and six after the phrase one line from London to Birmingham. It will mean journeys from Birmingham to Manchester will be halved in time, from 80 minutes to 40 minutes.
The Government hopes, by providing new routes for intercity services, it will free-up space on existing railways for new commuter, regional and freight services.
However, the route in South Yorkshire will mean 16 new homes will have to be demolished.
Residents will lose their homes because ministers decided the line should serve the existing Sheffield city centre station.
David Higgins, Chairman of HS2 Ltd said: “We have taken a huge step forward in connecting 8 of our largest cities, freeing up space on our railways and building a catalyst for growth across the country.
“Once completed 30 million people will be served by HS2 across over 25 stations, helping to change the economic geography of the country, and bring prosperity to the midlands, the north, and beyond.”
But Stop HS2 Campaign Manager Joe Rukin said: “Since the start, the case for HS2 has been invented by the very cheerleaders who intend to rake in billions of taxpayers’ money, which is why the cost of HS2 has already doubled.
“With reports saying the total cost may double again or even quadruple in the future, it really is time to ditch this gigantic white elephant, before it is too late.”
Preparatory work on phase one has already started., with construction starting in 2018 to 2019.