Gwyn Topham reports on the long-awaited details for phase 2 of the £33bn HS2 project announced this week by the Department for Transport. The first phase of the project, from London to Birmingham, is planned to open in 2026.
"From 2033, the journey from Manchester to Birmingham should be cut to 41 minutes and from Manchester to London to 1hr 8min. The journey to Leeds will take 57 minutes from Birmingham, less than half the time it takes today."
"However," notes Topham, "the government has played down the speed and time savings to stress the need for extra capacity, along with the economic benefits and tens of thousands of jobs that the new infrastructure will bring. Department for Transport officials claim it will create at least 100,000 jobs."
The plan is not without considerable controversy, however. Cities including Sheffield will be dismayed by the decision to build stations outside their centers, and a direct link to Heathrow Airport "has been deferred." Futhermore, those who've protested the route of the first phase through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty are incensed by a £600 million "detour" around affluent areas in Cheshire.
Hat tip to Daniel Lippman