This paper provides general information on the proposed 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 Act which gives statutory and planning authority for the construction of Phase 1 of the scheme between London and the West Midlands. Construction is planned to begin soon; contracts have been let. The Government is in the process of finding an operator for the first HS2 services on the route.Jump to full report >>
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 is planned to be delivered in three phases:
In total, the Government has estimated that the scheme will 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 scheme has passionate supporters and opponents who, for the past seven or eight years, have argued across a variety of fora, including Parliament, as to whether the scheme would deliver enough in the way of benefits to justify the price tag. These debates continue.
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.
General background information on the HS2 scheme can be found in RP11/75.
Maps showing the Parliamentary constituencies through which HS2 runs can be found attached to the landing page for this paper.
Further briefings are available on the Railways Topical Page of the Parliament website.
Commons Briefing papers SN00316
Author: Louise Butcher