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Frequently Asked Questions

What is HS2?

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

High-speed trains travelling at up to 225 mph and carrying as many as 1,100 people would mean journey times of only 80 minutes between a new high-speed station in Leeds, and London. Journeys between West Yorkshire and the West Midlands would be reduced to just 57 minutes.

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

Why do we need a high-speed rail?

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, the full Y shaped network would generate benefits of around £44 billion, as well as revenues totalling a further £27 billion.

This would support employment, growth and regeneration in the Leeds City Region by helping local businesses to be more productive. It would bring Heathrow within around 75 minutes of Leeds for connections to long-haul flights and would also mean journeys from Canary Wharf would be just 1hr 39 minutes.

Why high-speed rather than a second conventional rail project?

With East Coast rail route forecast to reach capacity within the next 10 years, a solution is urgently needed.

Upgrading the existing route would cost almost as much as building a new line but would not deliver the capacity improvements of HS2, while at the same time causing years of disruption to existing services.

Building a new conventional rail line would require the same amount of land as a high-speed line and involve the same disruption, but would not deliver the substantial economic advantages of shorter journey times.

Who will be able to afford to use HS2 services?

No decision has been made on rail fares but the Department for Transport has said it is determined that there will not be premium charges for using HS2.

What are the economic benefits that will be generated through HS2?

Research commisioned by Metro and South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has shown that the HS2 high-speed rail route to Leeds would generate an estimated £2.3 billion of local productivity benefits in addition to the predicted £60 billion of standard national transport benefits.

High speed rail opens up a range of economic benefits through:

  • quicker journey times;
  • the release of capacity on the existing rail network;
  • attracting business relocation, investment and expansion;
  • improved access to employment;
  • regeneration resulting from the development of new high-speed stations;
  • the creation of jobs during the construction of the HS2 network (19,000 by 2119) and then for the operation of HS2 services;
  • the ‘agglomeration’ benefits of bringing businesses closer together;
  • greater tourism and leisure activities.

By linking the Leeds City Region, the Sheffield City Region and the “Three Cities” of Derby, Nottingham and Leicester, HS2 would also connect an area of 6.7 million people and 3 million jobs. Onward connections to the Tees Valley and Tyne and Wear City Regions would provide access to a further 2.2 million people and 0.9 million jobs.

This would help create a more balanced, better distributed national economy narrowing the north-south divide and creating a northern economy as an alternative for investment to London.

Although the scheme is still a long way off, with work not starting until the early 2020s it will still be a positive factor in influencing companies when making decisions about whether to invest and re-locate to our area.

The enormous economic benefits are why business lobbying organisations such as the CBI and the British Chambers of Commerce are publicly supporting HS2. It is also why the local Chambers in the Leeds City Region are supporting the development of the high-speed link.

Lille’s experience

Being part of the high-speed TGV rail network has helped Leeds' twin city of Lille become France's third most powerful financial, commercial and industrial centre. The city's authorities have used its location on the TGV Nord line, connecting Paris with London and Brussels, as a catalyst for major growth.

A major commercial centre was developed around the new station, adjacent to the city centre and an ongoing continuing development strategy has resulted in new offices, public housing and a large conference and events hall in other nearby areas. There have been complementary regeneration programmes across other parts of Lille, which high-speed rail has helped transform from an industrial city in decline, to a business and tourism success story.

How will HS2 benefit businesses?

HS2 will bring businesses closer together with their customers, suppliers and partners, which will mean greater productivity and competitiveness and new opportunities for growth. Based on the previous studies, all business sectors will benefit from HS2 particularly the producer services sector.

Where exactly does the route go?

The Government has unveiled its proposed routes and planned station locations details of which can be found in its document High speed rail: investing in Britain's future phase two - the route to Leeds, Manchester and beyond

There will be a formal public consultation process through which members of the public will have the chance to make their views on the proposals known.

How far will the high speed rail line go?

The Government has said that as well as Leeds, Birmingham, South Yorkshire and Manchester, it is committed to consider building a high speed rail network that links to destinations in Scotland and Wales.

When will HS2 be constructed?

The Government said that it intends to start enabling work in 2015, with the Y-shaped network due for completion by 2032.

Leeds City Region representatives have been pushing for that process to be speeded up so that the local economy can start to benefit from HS2 sooner.

Where will the station be?

The Government has said that  the new Leeds  will be alongside the South Bank area of the city centre, to joined to the existing station via a dedicated pedestrian link, , which could have moving walkways to speed up interchange, It says There would also be ample car parking provided at the southern entrance for those not arriving on foot or by public transport.'

Once earmarked for an HS2 terminus, the site will become the hub for infrastructure development and economic regeneration in the south of the city centre.

How will the HS2 station be linked into the local transport network?

 For the full potential of HS2 to be realised across West Yorkshire and the Leeds City Region, we need to ensure that by the time high-speed trains start arriving we have a local transport network that is ‘HS2-ready’.

Leeds City Region will be seeking commitment from The Department for Transport to invest in the existing rail network to help unlock the £12bn of benefits identified in the Yorkshire Rail Network Study. This would mean quicker local journeys and improved business links, better commuter services, and more capacity for freight. It would also ensure that having travelled  from London to Leeds in under 1½ hours, passengers would not then face a train journey almost half as long again to complete the less than 20-mile journey on to Halifax.

Being ‘HS2-ready’ will also mean ensuring improvements are in place on our road network and new transport developments to maximise HS2’s impact.

What disruption is the construction of the line likely to cause in the area?

 Various communities and individual properties close to the route and the proposed station site will be affected by the construction of HS2. HS2 Ltd will carry out work to look at how to minimise these effects.

 In October 2012, Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, announced the launch of a Property and Compensation Consultation for Phase 1 of HS2 between London and the West Midlands. A similar consultation will be held for Phase 2.

Where can I find more information?

HS2 Ltd.

Go HS2 - West Midlands

HS2 North West

DfT - Developing a new high speed rail network