As the controversial consultation on property and compensation draws to a close (responses need to be in by Thursday), the Dept for Transport has announced the preferred route for the HS2 rail link’s next phase, with the route expected to be finalised by the end of 2014. Today’s plans show two branches running for 211 miles North from Birmingham – extending HS2’s £32bn first London-Birmingham phase – in a ‘Y’ shape. Five new stops are proposed at Manchester; Manchester Airport; Toton in the East Midlands; Sheffield; and Leeds.
When complete (and assuming trains run on time), HS2 should make a journey from Birmingham to Manchester take just 41 minutes, whilst London to Manchester will take around 68 minutes. The line is due to open by 2033, with construction possibly starting in 2017 if all gets the go-ahead.