HS2 route map: Where will UK’s high-speed rail project cover? – The Sun | The Sun

HS2 has been fraught with delays since work on phase one started in 2017.

Here, we look at where the high speed route will cover when it is completed.

What is HS2?

The high speed rail line will increase capacity on Britain's railways – slashing journey times and giving passengers a place to sit with thousands of extra seats every day.

It is the largest infrastructure project in Europe and is meant to connect northern cities with London and Europe.

HS2 trains will reach a top speed of 250mph, connecting Manchester to London in just over an hour and was branded a "game changer" by ministers because many services are "full to overflowing".

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.

A second route has also been proposed through Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds.

Once the project is completed, the number of passengers between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds per hour could treble to 15,000.

There should also be 48 commuter and intercity trains an hour between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – a 65 per cent rise from the current 29.

What's the route?

The first phase was due to open between 2029 and 2033, connecting London Euston to Birmingham, but this has been severely delayed.

This was after ministers demanded a cost cutting review in response to the ever increasing price tag on the project.

In March 2023, it was confirmed that trains would run from Euston, but this would be delayed until at least 2035.

The trains will run north from Birmingham on the existing West Coast Main Line.

Phase 2 is Y-shaped, and from Birmingham takes the high-speed line to the northeast and northwest of England.

The route to Leeds and York will run east of Sheffield.

The western route will see trains pass from Crewe to Manchester.

Passengers travelling on the East Coast and West Coast main lines will benefit from more services and extra seats once the HS2 high-speed rail project is completed.

The second phase to Manchester and Leeds was due to open in 2032-33, but that has been pushed back to 2035-2040.

How much is HS2 expected to cost?

The budget for the new rail network has nearly doubled from the 2015 original estimate of £56bn to an eyewatering £106bn- over half of the total government annual Infrastructure and Construction budget for 2018/19, which covered 31 other major projects.

However, Lord Tony Berkeley, who served as the deputy chair of the government-ordered review into HS2, believes the total costs are actually much higher – £136.1bn, rising to £155.52bn when inflation is taken into account.

The budget increase has been caused by a mixture of management issues, tricky soil conditions and unrealistic land valuation.

There have been multiple delays now that work has begun, causing a lot of dithering from No10 that has added to problems on site.

The budget has been bumped up repeatedly since its conception, with leaks as far back as December 2016 detailing over-budgeting issues, detailing that "a significant gap to target price will remain" for HS2 even with planned savings.

Lord Berkeley, ex-deputy chairman of the HS2 review, said up to 30 per cent of the revised price tag could have been saved by using slower trains, like the 200mph bullet trains in France and Japan, which don’t need such high-tech tracks.

HS2 bosses have admitted that they are set to miss their £44billion phase one budget by “many billions.”

How much has HS2 cost so far?

According to government figures, £21.4billion has been spent on the line.

Estimates for 2022/2023 are a spend of £5.7bn, with forecasted costs for 2023/2024 of £5.3billion.

The National Audit Office released a report in January 2020 saying that HS2 Ltd had not accounted for the level of uncertainty and risk in the plans.

It also said the Government and HS2 Ltd had “not adequately managed risks to taxpayer money”.

Blighted by soaring ­inflation, HS2 bosses are weighing up a scaling back of the project, including delaying its Euston terminus to 2038 or scrapping it altogether.

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

The Department for Transport says the project will cut Birmingham to London journey times from one hour 21 minutes to 52 minutes.

Once the second phase is complete, Manchester to London journeys would take one hour seven minutes (down from two hours seven minutes), and Birmingham to Leeds 49 minutes (down from two hours).

The trains will reach a top speed of 250mph.

How many jobs will HS2 create?

In October 2022, it was suggested that 30,000 people were working on the project.

Figures released in 2021 suggested that HS2 will support around 34,000 new jobs once it opens.

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