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Phase 2a: West Midlands to Crewe

HS2 Phase 2a Crewe to Birmingham route

HS2 Phase 2a route fly-over from Crewe to the West Midlands.

The Phase 2a route

The Phase 2a line will run from the northern end of Phase 1 at Fradley in the West Midlands to Crewe in Cheshire. There services will join the existing rail network to create direct services to places including Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Carlisle and Glasgow. Crewe is also the station for connections to North Wales and Shrewsbury. View the HS2 route map. Find out more about all the stations. It will be built at the same time as the line between London and the West Midlands. High speed services will begin operating between London, Birmingham and Crewe between 2029 and 2033.

Permission to build Phase 2a

In July 2017, the government introduced the High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) hybrid Bill into Parliament. This was the first step in getting permission to build this part of the route.

On 15 July 2019 the Bill received its Third Reading in the House of Commons, with 263 votes for and 17 votes against. The Bill received its First Reading in the House of Lords on 16 July. The House of Lords petitioning period ran from 17 July to 16 August, and a total of 35 petitions against the Bill were deposited.

The Bill was gained Royal Assent on 11 February 2021.

You can view the Phase 2a hybrid bill documents and find out more details about its progress through parliament on the GOV.UK website.


In February 2021, the Government carried out a consultation seeking views on environmental and traffic impacts, transport provisions and transport infrastructure related to Phase 2a of HS2. A report has now been published providing a summary of the responses received to this consultation. The report has been produced by Ipsos MORI, who were commissioned by HS2 Ltd to collate, analyse and report on the feedback.

You can view the report on the dedicated gov.uk consultation page here.

Facts and figures about Phase 2a

13,000 people have already worked on HS2. We’ve announced 22,000 further jobs, with more big contracts and jobs to come. Building Phase 2a will support 5,000 jobs. The infrastructure will consist of:

  • 17 viaducts
  • 65 bridges
  • 36 embankments
  • 26 cuttings
  • 1 maintenance base
  • 2 tunnels

Journey time benefits

Extending the benefits of HS2 further north with Phase 2a unlocks significant journey time savings for towns and cities on and beyond the high speed network. When finished the journey time between Crewe and London Euston will be 56 minutes. The current fastest journey time is 1 hour 30 minutes.

HS2 train times

Use the journey planner to see how quick journeys will be.

West Coast Mainline benefits

Phase 2a unlocks more rail capacity on the West Coast mainline. It will carry six long distance high speed services per hour, freeing up the West Coast Mainline between Lichfield and Crewe. This could see services rise from hourly to half-hourly or better between Crewe and Stoke-on-Trent to Nuneaton, Tamworth, Lichfield and Rugeley, as well as more services from Crewe to Runcorn and Liverpool, as well as via Crewe between North Wales, Chester and London.

Find out more about HS2’s rail capacity benefits.

Environmental mitigation 

As part of the Phase 2a scheme 78 hectares of native broadleaved woodland will be planted. Over 13.5 hectares of existing ancient woodland will be boosted by freeing it of invasive species such as Rhododendron, and Japanese knotweed that harm and damage native trees and shrubs. In addition, the densest areas of trees will be thinned to help the strongest ones to grow faster, which helps to promote greater woodland diversity.

Learn more about HS2 and the Natural Environment.

Wider benefits of HS2

There are three main benefits of HS2:

  • Capacity – taking inter-city trains off the existing rail network will free up more space for commuter and freight services, helping to relieve overcrowding and take lorries off the road.
  • Connectivity – better transport links between our cities and regions is bringing more investment to the Midlands and North, helping to level up the country.
  • Carbon – HS2 will be the low carbon option for long distance travel, emitting 17 times less carbon than the equivalent domestic flight and 7 times less carbon than the equivalent car journey.

Our community websites

The planning and construction of HS2 is a huge operation – it is currently the largest infrastructure project in Europe. Visit our local area web sites for information on works, activities and events taking place. The sites host: local area plans, local engagement plans, contractor liaison plans and local event information. Phase 2a sites are:

Community sites for other parts of the HS2 route can be found on In Your Area.

Other phases of HS2

Phase One: London to West Midlands

High speed trains will travel between London and Birmingham on 134 miles of dedicated track. They will pass through 31 miles of tunnels and over 10 miles of viaducts, delivering quicker journeys on more trains with more seats. Phase One has a funding envelope of £45bn and will open between 2029 and 2033. Find out more about building Phase One.

Phase 2b: Crewe to Manchester, West Midlands to Leeds

The Phase 2b line forms a Y shape, split into an eastern and a western leg. The western leg will connect to the high speed lines at Crewe and run through to Manchester. The eastern leg will connect to high speed lines in the West Midlands and run through to Leeds. Services will also travel onward to places like Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan. Find out more about Phase 2b.