HS2 is a project for a high-speed rail line linking some of the country’s largest cities.

Here we take a look at where the high-speed route will cover once completed and the costs involved.

What is HS2?

HS2, which stands for High Speed 2, is a project that aims to create a high-speed rail network between London and major cities in the Midlands and Northern England.

It is the biggest rail investment ever made in the North of England and is Europe’s largest infrastructure project.

New trains will run on HS2 lines with a top speed of 225 miles per hour – the aim is to cut journey times and make it easier to travel across England.

Plans were passed by Parliament in February 2017, and work on the first phase, from London to Birmingham, was due to begin in late 2019 but was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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What's the route?

HS2 was originally meant to connect London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Work is already underway on the first phase, linking London and the West Midlands. 

However, the Leeds leg was scrapped by the government in 2021 and construction work at Euston station has been on hold for two years.

The government also confirmed in March 2023 that construction between Birmingham and Crewe would be delayed by two years to cut costs.

Speculation has grown that the already-delayed Birmingham to Manchester leg could also be cancelled or delayed further.

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In September 2023, Chris Philp confirmed that no final decisions have been made on whether the Manchester leg of the controversial project will be scrapped in a bid to lower costs.

He said: "It's gone up a lot. It's roughly tripled, I think since it was first conceived.

‘’No decisions have been taken about the remaining stages of HS2 but I do know the Chancellor and the Prime Minister are looking at how the cost can be controlled."

How much is HS2 expected to cost?

On September 26, 2023, rail chiefs warned that the taxpayer bill for HS2 could hit an eye-watering £180bn.

Lord Berkley, a former deputy chair of the government's HS2 review told TalkTV: "We reckon it costs about £180bn now which is stupid.’’

How much has HS2 cost so far?

The cost of HS2 has soared since it was first given the green light in 2012.

Ministers originally anticipated a £32.7bn price tag.

But with inflation priced in, the figure has increased to over £100bn.

Phase One, from London to Birmingham, has cost £23billion so far.

How long will it take to get from London to Birmingham?

The government says HS2 will cut Birmingham to London journey times from one hour 21 minutes to 52 minutes.

The trains will reach a top speed of 225mph.

Due to delays it's now expected HS2 trains will carry their first passengers between London and Birmingham between 2029 and 2033.

How many jobs will HS2 create?

The number of jobs supported by the construction of HS2 is said to be 30,000.

This also includes close to 1,300 apprenticeships.

Figures released in 2021 suggested that at peak, HS2 will support over 34,00 jobs and over 2,000 new apprentices.

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