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What is HS2

HS2 is a state-of-the-art, high-speed line critical for the UK’s low carbon transport future. It will provide much-needed rail capacity across the country, and is integral to rail projects in the North and Midlands – helping rebalance the UK economy.

HS2 trains will bring Britain closer together.

What is HS2?

HS2 is a new high speed railway linking up London, the Midlands and the North, serving eight of Britain’s 10 largest cities. Use our interactive map to view the whole route.

Phase One

High speed trains will travel between London and Birmingham on 134 miles of dedicated track. They will pass through more than 30 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 2a

The Phase 2a line will run between Fradley in the West Midlands and Crewe in Cheshire. There it will connect with existing high speed services to carry passengers between London and Crewe. Services will travel onward to places like Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool, Preston and Wigan. Find out more about Phase 2a.

Phase 2b

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.

The government is drawing-up an integrated rail plan for the North and Midlands, to identify the most effective sequencing of relevant investments and how to integrate HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and other rail investments. This plan will be informed by an assessment of the rail needs of the Midlands and the north undertaken by the National Infrastructure Commission.

Benefits

Once operational, HS2 will serve over 25 stations connecting around 30 million people. HS2 will significantly improve connectivity in the North and Midlands and will also integrate the existing network serving stations into Scotland, creating 500,000 extra jobs and 90,000 homes around HS2 stations.

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.

Find out the facts about HS2

HS2 route facts

The construction of HS2 will show the world the very best of British skills, innovation and ambition.

Full HS2 network facts:

  • 343 miles of railway track
  • 45 miles of tunnels
  • 37 miles of viaducts
  • 119 miles of cutting
  • 120 miles of embankment
  • 30,000 workers

HS2 Phase One facts:

  • 134 miles route length
  • 4 brand new stations
  • 2 new depots
  • 32 miles of tunnels
  • 10 tunnel boring machines
  • The UK’s longest viaduct
  • Over 500 bridging structures under and over the route
  • 16,000 workers

Stations served by HS2

•S2 trains will serve over 25 stations connecting around 30 million people. HS2 will significantly improve connectivity in the North and Midlands, and will also integrate with the existing network serving stations into Scotland.

HS2 will directly serve: Birmingham Curzon Street, Carlisle, Chesterfield, Crewe, Darlington, Durham, East Midlands Hub (Toton), Edinburgh, Glasgow, Interchange (Solihull), Lancaster, Leeds, Liverpool, Lockerbie, London Euston, Macclesfield, Manchester Airport, Manchester Piccadilly, Newcastle, Old Oak Common, Oxenholme, Penrith, Preston, Runcorn, Sheffield Midland, Stafford, Stoke, Warrington, Wigan and York. Explore these stations and use the HS2 journey planner to discover how journeys times will be transformed.

By freeing up space on existing lines, for new local train services, passengers and freight, HS2 helps ease congestion and over-crowding, benefiting 100 more stations too.

HS2's regeneration effect

Manchester office block skyline

HS2 is more than a railway. It is the most important economic regeneration project in Britain for decades. We are joining up Britain to help build a more united country. So, every region of the UK can reach its economic potential, creating jobs and opportunities for millions of people. It will improve living standards, increase productivity and help Britain compete on the global stage. Local economic plans based around HS2 show almost 500,000 jobs and nearly 90,000 new homes. Visit our station pages to learn more about the benefits to the cities and regions they serve.

HS2 construction jobs

demolition site next to Hampstead Road

HS2 is at an advanced stage. Parliament has approved the construction of Phase One and work is well underway. There are over 250 active work sites between London and Birmingham. Our aspiration is to be a good neighbour every single day, by respecting the people and communities we impact and being sensitive to their needs. Building Phase One of the HS2 route will support 16,000 jobs, including many apprentices. Around 2,000 businesses have already delivered works for HS2, 70% of which are SMEs and 99% are based in the UK.

Find out more about building HS2.

HS2 is Britain's biggest environment project

HS2 is Britain’s biggest environment project, delivering miles of ecological and landscape investments alongside construction. Find out more about the huge scale of environment work and the benefits for nature.

To date, 60 new wildlife habitat have been created along our route. Grassland, ponds, and plantings now support reptiles, badgers, birds, and bats. The route design will also ensure wildlife has access across it As well as 31 miles of tunnels on HS’s Phase One, there will be 140 bridges and underpasses. 16 will be specially designed green bridges covered in planting.
Find out more about HS2 and the environment.

So far, 350,000 trees have been planted on the route. Eventually, 7 million trees and shrubs will be planted between London and Birmingham alone.  HS2’s new woodlands and hedgerow planting creates 33 square kilometres of new woodland and habitat for wildlife. That’s 30% more than what’s there now. the planting also helps join up existing habitats too. HS2 is also funding new local native broadleaf woodlands and the restoring of existing ancient woodlands. Already £1.2m of the £7m fund is supporting 25 projects: 103 hectares of new woods and restoring 63 hectares of ancient woodland.

There are 52,000 ancient woodland sites in England. Our published assessments are that 43 will be affected by HS2’s route between London and Crewe. 80% of the total area of the 43 ancient woodlands will remain intact and untouched by HS2. Where an ancient woodland is described as affected, in many cases this means a small section of an overall woodland is affected. For example, on Phase One of the route, 32 ancient woodlands are described as affected but in 19 of these the total area of loss is less than 1 hectare (ha). Find out more about HS2 and woodlands.