The $130billion high-speed rail project has officially been backed by the UK´s prime minister. On Tuesday, Boris Johnson pushed ahead with the railway that will take almost 20 years to construct, further supporting his commitment to improve British travel.
The trains will link the north and the south of the UK, travelling between 21 destinations. The HS2 network´s spine is dedicated to a 225mph track, approximately double the speed of existing high-speed classic tracks.
The construction of the new high-speed track includes two phases: phase 1 involves building a line from London Euston via Old Oak Common in west London via Birmingham Interchange (near Solihull and the airport) to Curzon Street station in central Birmingham with the first services scheduled for 2028.
Phase 2 refers to the construction of a Y-shaped extension with one branch going to Manchester (via Manchester airport) and the other to Leeds via an “East Midlands hub”. The latter branch will also serve Sheffield and provide connections to the existing East Coast main line to York and Newcastle. This section is estimated to be complete by 2035.
The ‘British Bullet’ should be the driving force behind a rail revolution which sees the entire network overhauled and former Beeching lines reopened. Also, new regional routes, such as Northern Powerhouse Rail and the planned East Coast Main Line to Doncaster Sheffield Airport will be accelerated.
The currently active High Speed 1 is the 68-mile fast railway line from London St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel at Folkestone in Kent, which opened in 2008. High Speed 2 is a much more ambitious rail project, involving 345 miles of new high-speed track.