High speed rail route revealed

The routes of high speed rail links to cities in the north of England have been unveiled in a move that will cut journey times and what the Government hopes will act as an "engine for growth" for the economy.

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George Osborne visits a train wheel maker in Manchester following HS2 announcement

The Chancellor George Osborne at Lucchini UK in Manchester Credit: Ashley Derricott

The Chancellor George Osborne has visited a train wheel maker in Trafford Park following the announcement on HS2 rail link.

He visited Lucchini UK, a Manchester-based manufacturers, which makes train wheels and other specialist items for the railway industry.

Manchester Airport Group welcomes HS2 'boost'

The chief executive of Manchester Airport owner MAG, Charlie Cornish, has welcomed the news that the HS2 route will stop off at the airport.

Manchester Airport will become a more viable alternative to Heathrow under the HS2 plans, campaigners say Credit: Martin Rickett/PA Wire

"Along with the city centre station, it will provide an additional boost to the economy of the region.”

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Osborne: Economic case for HS2 'pretty compelling'

Chancellor George Osborne said HS2 will be an "engine for growth" in the North and Midlands, and will create tens of thousands of jobs.

He acknowledged that communities along its route would face a "very difficult" disruption to their lives, but said the economic benefits were "pretty compelling". He told BBC Breakfast:

I think it is the engine for growth in the North and the Midlands of this country. I think it is going to create tens of thousands of jobs in Manchester and across our great cities.

In the end, as a country, you have got to make those long-term choices. If our predecessors hadn't decided to build the railways in the Victorian times or the motorways in the middle part of the 20th century, then we wouldn't have those things today.

– Chancellor George Osborne

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Journey times in High Speed rail network

The government has projected the following journey times when the HS2 high speed rail network is completed:

  • Manchester to Birmingham - 41m (roughly half of current journey time)
  • Manchester to London - 1h 8m (roughly half of current journey time)
  • Leeds to Birmingham - 57m (down from 1h 58m)
  • Leeds to London - 1hr 22m (down from 2h 12m)

Leeds City Council welcomes HS2 announcement

Leeds councillors have called for a package of investment in the city's rail and road infrastructure Credit: Paul Barker/PA

The decision to extend the HS2 rail network to Leeds has been welcomed by the City Council, but councillors have called for additional investment in existing facilities.

Council leader Keith Wakefield said the extension offers a "unique opportunity to create a striking new gateway into the city centre" but added that the HS2 hub must link "directly into Leeds station"

He also said there must be "a significant government package of investment in its infrastructure, road and rail links to the rest of the city region area".

'Going into Leeds and Manchester will be hard'

Leading British rail analyst Christian Wolmar has warned there may be difficulties ahead in establishing the HS2 network.

Tweeting his response to this morning's announcement, he said:

Mr Wolmar added that the estimated £33 billion cost of the network can "only be a guess" until more details emerge of the proposed work on the new routes.

He also bemoaned the way this morning's announcement was made, tweeting:

CBI: Extending HS2 to the North is the 'big prize'

The head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has welcomed the announcement of the second phase of the HS2 rail network linking Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham:

We cannot sit on our hands when the West Coast Main Line is set to reach full capacity by the 2020s and freight will be squeezed.

Extending HS2 to the North is the project’s big prize. It will boost the economic potential of some of our biggest cities, driving growth and creating jobs across the country. This is the same bold, long-term thinking that helped the Victorians build our original network.

– John Cridland, CBI Director-General
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