What is the HS2 route map now and why is the Northern leg to Manchester ‘being cancelled’?
- All you need to know about HS2 route map as Manchester leg may be scrapped
Plans for high-speed rail project HS2 have taken another major blow after reports that the Government are set to scrap the northern leg of the route.
But what exactly is the HS2 route map and why might the northern leg to Manchester be cancelled?
Read on below for all you need to know about the HS2 route and the potential scrapping of the Manchester section.
Plans for high-speed rail project HS2 have taken another major blow after reports that the Government are set to scrap the northern leg of the route. Pictured: A road sign is seen as construction continues of the HS2 high speed rail project
What is the HS2 route map?
In 2012, it was announced by the then-Transport Secretary Justine Greening that HS2 would go ahead, comprising of a ‘Y-shaped’ network that would link a number of routes across London, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield and the Midlands.
Under current plans, Phase One of HS2 involves the railway being built between London and Birmingham, with the line extended from the West Midlands to Crewe in Phase 2a.
Phase 2b will connect Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to the East Midlands.
A planned extension to Leeds was controversially scrapped in November 2021.
The completion of the Northern Powerhouse Rail, which is a high-speed link between Warrington and Yorkshire, relies on completing the line to Manchester.
As a result, the completion of this section has also been thrown into doubt, leaving an uncertain future for the improvement of rail infrastructure across England.
It would represent a serious downgrading of the project’s initial aim of linking Manchester, Leeds, the Midlands and London together.
Why could the HS2 route being scrapped?
It reported that a cost estimate revealed that the government has already spent £2.3billion on stage two of the railway from Birmingham to Manchester, but that ditching the northern section could save up to £34billion.
There have been weeks of intense speculation about the future of HS2 as senior Cabinet ministers – including Mr Hunt and Mr Sunak – repeatedly refuse to confirm the rail line will run as planned from central London to Manchester
The newspaper said the documents were discussed at a meeting in Downing Street on Tuesday and suggested the whopping £2.3billion cost may not be recoverable even if it is cancelled.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘I can’t comment on speculation around a leaked document. It is obviously standard process for departments to discuss the phasing of major projects like HS2 … but the work is already under way,’ he said.
The spokesman added: ‘We are committed to HS2, to the project.
‘I can’t comment on the speculation that’s a result of a photograph. We are as you know looking at the rephasing of the work in the best interests of passengers and taxpayers.’