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Guide to High-Speed Rail

The Government wants to transform travel in Britain by extending the country’s high-speed rail system.

A National High-Speed Rail Network

The Government wants to transform travel in Britain by extending the country’s high-speed rail system.

It is proposing a Y-shaped network, HS2, which would link London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, with additional stops in the East Midlands and Sheffield. There would also be direct links with the existing HS1 line between London and the Channel Tunnel, and Heathrow Airport.

Opportunities for growth and regeneration

High-speed trains travelling at up to 225 mph and carrying as many as 1,100 people would mean journey times of just 80 minutes between a new high-speed station in Leeds, and London. This would support employment growth and regeneration by helping local businesses to be more productive. It would also bring Heathrow within around 75 minutes of Leeds for connections to long-haul flights.

By transforming the country’s economic geography and bringing the country’s key cities closer together HS2 would help to achieve sustainable, long-term growth, while at the same time providing a viable alternative to domestic flights. Costing £32 billion to construct, HS2 would generate benefits of around £44 billion, as well as revenues totalling a further £27 billion.

First developed in Japan in the 1960s, high-speed rail lines can now be found across Europe and Asia with France, Spain and China all expanding their already-successful networks. In Britain, HS2 would meet the growing demand for long-distance travel while at the same time easing overcrowding on our existing, local rail networks.

Full article, DfT website: 'Investing in Britain's Future'