Connecting Britain

The concourse at London Euston. Photo: Ralph Hodgson The concourse at London Euston. Photo: Ralph Hodgson

By 2035, there will be another nine million people living in Britain and our need for nationwide connections will only intensify. HS2 will answer this need, but will also bring the UK together in a way the original railway pioneers could only dream of.

The high speed network will provide high capacity, high speed links between London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, with intermediate stations in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire. It will also serve stations beyond the high speed network.

Compatible trains

Trains will be able to run on both the high speed tracks and on the existing rail network, continuing at conventional speed to a wide range of additional destinations in the UK, without the need to change trains. This means that journeys to and from places including Liverpool, York, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh will be quicker.  

Many long-distance, intercity rail services will transfer to the high speed network.  This creates capacity on the existing network for additional commuting, regional and freight services.  Areas that are not directly on the route will also benefit, as more space for other services will become available on the current rail network.


Journey times across the UK‟s rail system are slower today than they were 15 years ago – average speeds today for inter-city journeys are often little more than 80mph in Britain, and they are continuing to slow as the network attempts to juggle competing demands.

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Greater opportunities to connect with others make many areas more attractive to businesses and people, increasing opportunities for growth.

Fast, efficient connections

The journey time savings created by HS2 will be noticeable from the moment the first phase is operational. This isn’t just because the journey between London and Birmingham will be quicker, but also because journeys that take advantage of the high speed line for at least part of the trip will also be shortened as a result. When Phase Two is opened, these benefits will stretch across the country as the HS2 network becomes the main trunk line for faster and more varied journeys.

HS2 journey times between major economic centres infographic



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