Jan 28 2013
High speed rail will be an "engine for growth" that could create at least 100,000 jobs, David Cameron has claimed as the Government prepares to unveil the planned route of extensions to two northern cities.
The Government is braced for a backlash from rural local communities through which the HS2 line will carry trains from London via Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.
Other areas are preparing to celebrate the benefits from hosting stations on the network, which ministers say will reduce overcrowding and road congestion as well as slashing journey times.
The project, which will cost £32.7 billion and is expected to be finished by 2033, is one of the coalition's priorities as it seeks to kick-start the stagnant economic recovery.
One branch is expected to run via Manchester Airport and include a spur to Crewe to help speed up journey times to Liverpool and Scotland by better connecting with conventional train services.
The other branch of the Y-shape extension could prove more controversial, with Sheffield expected to be served by a station at the Meadowhall shopping centre rather than the city centre. Officials said interconnections would be improved at any stations sited outside cities. A "parkway" station could be included at Toton between Nottingham and Derby.
But a proposed spur to Heathrow has been put on hold pending the results of Sir Howard Davies' review of future airport capacity - which is not due to give a final report until the summer of 2015. Instead passengers heading to the world's busiest airport will have to change onto the new London east-west Crossrail service for an 11-minute transfer to terminals.
Mr Cameron said: "Linking communities and businesses across the country and shrinking the distances between our greatest cities, High Speed Rail is an engine for growth that will help to drive regional regeneration and invigorate our regional economies. It is vital that we get on board the high-speed revolution.
"We are in a global race and this Government's decision to make High Speed Rail a reality is another example of the action we taking to equip Britain to compete and thrive in that race. High Speed Rail is a catalyst that will help to secure economic prosperity across Britain, rebalance our economy and support tens of thousands of jobs."
The High Court is currently considering whether the first phase of the project, which will take high-speed trains from London to Birmingham, is legally flawed and needs to be reconsidered. Labour backs HS2 - which was begun under its administration - but says there are "worrying signs" that the timetable for delivering it is slipping. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said the "botched" consultation on the first phase may have to be rerun if the High Court upholds the campaigners' cases.
https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport(Department for Transport)