The planned route for the extension of High Speed 2 (HS2) to Manchester and Leeds has been revealed but construction isn't expected to be completed until 2032.
Dr Colin Brown, Director of Engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers said: “This is welcome news for jobs, the economy as well as commuters. It will ease overcrowding and promote jobs and investment in Manchester, the East Midlands and Yorkshire.”
Construction on the London to Birmingham section of the line looks set to begin by 2017 while the northern extension would be started in the middle of the next decade, with the line open by 2032-33. Total cost for the entire project has been estimated by Government to be £32bn.
In an interview with the BBC, Chancellor George Osborne likened the importance of HS2 to the railways constructed in the Victorian times and the motorways built in the 20th Century. “You have got to commit to these projects even though they take many years,” he said.
John Cridland, CBI Director-General, said: “It will boost the economic potential of some of our biggest cities, driving growth and creating jobs across the country. The UK must seize the opportunity to invest in and develop future engineering talent.”
The proposed spur to Heathrow has been put on hold pending a review of UK aviation policy in 2015.
Andy Street, Chair of the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership and supporter of the project, said: “we expect to use our strength as an advanced manufacturing centre to attract the jobs associated with this project to our region.”
Speeds of up to 250mph on HS2 phase two would virtually halve journey times between Birmingham and Manchester – to 41 minutes – and between London and Manchester from two hours and eight minutes to one hour and eight minutes.
The journey time between Birmingham to Leeds will be reduced from two hours to 57 minutes, while phase one will cut London-Birmingham travel to 49 minutes, from the current one hour and 24 minutes.
“This is an opportunity for UK plc to embed itself in really modern railways instead of propping up old ones.” said Colin Flack executive director of Rail Alliance.
“Supporting state of the art technology in a grand and sustained fashion gives the chance for companies to invest, compete and grow.”
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