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HS2 to halve journey times to Manchester and Leeds

The second phase of HS2, whose route has been announced today, will shorten the journey time from London to Manchester to 1 hour 8 minutes, and to Leeds in 1 hour 22 minutes.

The Government has announced the details of the extension from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds as the top part of the Y-shaped network, scheduled to be completed in 2032.

The extension will have five stops: in Manchester, alongside Piccadilly station; a Manchester Airport interchange by the M56 between Warbuton Green and Davenport Green; East Midlands at Toton, between Nottingham and Derby, one mile from the M1; Sheffield at Meadowhall shopping centre; and Leeds at New Lane in the Southbank area connected to the main station by walkway.

There will also be a dedicated link alongside the line at Crewe to link up with standard trains. However, consideration of a proposed spur to Heathrow has been delayed pending the results of Sir Howard Davies’ review of future airport capacity, due in 2015.

Journey times between Manchester and Birmingham will be reduced to 41 minutes, and between Leeds and Birmingham down to 57 minutes, about half the current time.

The project, which will cost £32.7bn spread over decades, is expected to create at least 100,000 jobs.

The route is set to be finalised by the end of the year.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “As with previous consultations, we will work closely with communities and interested parties to find the right balance between delivering the essential infrastructure that we need and respecting the rights and justifiable concerns of those who will be most affected by HS2's construction.

“While doing nothing would be the easy choice it would also be the irresponsible choice. This is an unparalleled opportunity to secure a step-change in Britain's competitiveness and this Government will do everything possible to ensure that the towns and cities in the Midlands and the North get the connections they need and deserve to thrive.”

Prime Minister David Cameron said: “Linking communities and businesses across the country and shrinking the distances between our greatest cities, high speed rail is an engine for growth that will help to drive regional regeneration and invigorate our regional economies. It is vital that we get on board the high-speed revolution.

“We are in a global race and this Government's decision to make high speed rail a reality is another example of the action we taking to equip Britain to compete and thrive in that race.

“High speed rail is a catalyst that will help to secure economic prosperity across Britain, rebalance our economy and support tens of thousands of jobs.”

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Images c. HS2 Ltd and DfT

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