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High Speed 2 (HS2) Phase 1

Published Thursday, February 16, 2017

This paper summarises Phase 1 of the proposed new high speed rail line between London and the North of England (HS2). It gives a brief overview of the scheme, its costs, compensation arrangements and the hybrid bill which, if passed, will give statutory and planning authority for the construction of the scheme. The Bill has been through the Commons and the Lords and will return to the Commons for its final stages (‘ping pong’) on 20 February. Construction can begin once the Bill has Royal Assent.

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HS2 is a proposed infrastructure project to build a high-speed rail line from London to Manchester and Leeds, via Birmingham, to begin operation in 2026 and be completed in 2033. It was supported by the Labour Government after 2009 and has had the support of the Conservatives in government since May 2010.

HS2 will be delivered in three phases:

  • Phase 1 from London Euston to Birmingham Curzon Street and Lichfield with intermediate stations in West London (at old Oak Common) and at Birmingham Airport;
  • Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe; and
  • Phase 2b comprising an eastern leg from the West Midlands to Leeds New Lane with intermediate stations in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire; and a western leg from Crewe to Manchester with an intermediate station at Manchester Airport.

In total, the scheme is estimated to cost £55.7 billion in 2015 prices (including rolling stock).

Despite enjoying widespread support across all parties in Parliament the scheme remains controversial outside, with disagreements regarding the economic and environmental cases for the scheme. Many of those who will be directly affected by the construction of the route are concerned for the future.

The Government is moving ahead with planning for the next phase of the scheme – construction and operation. This includes tendering for and awarding contracts, including the future ‘West Coast Partnership’ franchise, the winner of which will operate the first high speed services on the HS2 line from 2026.

This paper deals only with Phase 1 of the scheme. Information on Phases 2a and 2b can be found in a separate paper, SN7082.

General background information on the HS2 scheme can be found in RP11/75.

Further briefings are available on the Railways Topical Page

Commons Briefing papers SN00316

Author: Louise Butcher

Topic: Railways

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