You can explore the route further – and how it may affect you – on our Interactive Map.
The headline facts and figures are:
- The London to Birmingham line will be around 140 miles long;
- The line from Birmingham to Manchester will be around 95 miles long;
- The line from Birmingham to Leeds will be around 116 miles long;
- The total network (Phase One: between London and Birmingham and linked to HS1; and Phase Two: links to Manchester and Leeds; and a Heathrow spur) will be around 330 miles of track;
- More than half the Phase One route will be in cuttings or tunnels;
- Around 56.5 miles of Phase One will be partially or totally hidden in cutting to reduce visual effects and noise in neighbouring communities;
- In the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) over 11 miles of the Phase One route will be in tunnel, green tunnel or cutting, with just over a mile and a half of the line on the surface.
Line of route: Phase One
HS2 will run from London (Euston station), through the Chilterns, Warwickshire to Birmingham International, South Northamptonshire and central Birmingham (Curzon Street station). It will join the West Coast Main Line (WCML) north of Lichfield for services on to Manchester and Leeds.
The line will connect with the London-West Midlands leg near Lichfield, before heading north-west past Stafford and on towards Crewe.
A connection with the West Coast Main Line will be provided just south of Crewe, with the main line continuing in tunnel under the town heading north.
It will then head up past Warrington to a further connection with the West Coast Main Line south of Wigan.
The Manchester stations will be served by a spur off the main line running roughly parallel with the M56.
Heading north from here the line will enter a 7.5 mile tunnel, surfacing a short distance from the new station alongside the existing station at Manchester Piccadilly.
For a more detailed description of the Manchester route, visit our dedicated Phase Two pages.
The eastern line will connect with the London-West Midlands leg to the east of Birmingham and then follow the M42 corridor north-east towards Derby and Nottingham. The East Midlands Hub station will be located at Toton, about a mile from the M1.
The line will follow the M1 corridor north towards South Yorkshire. Another new station at Sheffield Meadowhall will sit alongside the M1 between Sheffield and Rotherham.
A spur to provide onward connection to the East Coast Main Line will connect with the existing network nine miles south-west of York.
Leeds will be served by a spur off the main line, running within the existing Castleford to Leeds corridor before rising above street level into the new station at Leeds New Lane.
For a more detailed description of the Leeds route, visit our dedicated Phase Two pages.
HS2 will run up to 14 trains per hour in each direction for Phase One, rising to 18 for Phase Two.
- Two basic types of train will operate on HS2 lines, high speed only trains – which run only on high speed track – and classic compatible trains – which run on high speed track and the existing network;
- The trains will be up to 400m long (200m single unit; 400m when two units operate as a pair);
- There will be up to 1,100 seats per train.
We can’t afford not to build it. Our competitors around the world are investing in the best transport. And we must too.
Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport
- We estimate the first phase of HS2, including allowances for risk and optimism bias of approximately 65%, will cost around £16.3bn to construct (in 2011 prices).
- The cost of Government’s initial preferred route, station and depot options for Phase Two is estimated at around £16.8 billion, without the spur to Heathrow (if the spur is included the costs for Phase Two would rise to around £18.2 billion). This is above the January 2012 central estimate of £16.4bn, but within the cost range that HS2 Ltd produced at that time of £15.7 billion to £18.7 billion.
- The construction of the full network is expected to cost £33.1bn (or £34.5bn if the spur to Heathrow is included).
- The entire HS2 project is forecast to generate benefits of £47bn and fare revenues of up to £34bn over 60 years.
- The level of spending on the project – which will be spread over two decades – is expected to be less than £2bn a year.
- This is the same as the existing annual spending on the Crossrail improvements being made in central London and our analysis demonstrates that this is a medium- to high-value for money project.
New conventional lines would not be significantly cheaper than new high speed lines, nor would the impact on communities or the environment. Regardless of the speed of the new line, similar tracks, viaducts, stations and tunnels would be needed – but a slower line would attract fewer passengers, have fewer wider benefits and generate less revenue.
As with all major projects, the Government will continue to keep the value for money of HS2 under review. As a next step, an update of the economic case for HS2 will be published alongside the consultation on Phase Two preferred options in 2013.