HS2 is neither cheap nor very popular along its route

At a cost of £33 billion, this train line is neither cheap nor very popular with those living along its route.

It works out at around £1,000 per household and High Speed 2 (HS2) will be the first railway line built north of London in more than 100 years.

In light of last week's disappointing GDP figures, showing the British economy is contracting again, we are set to hear a lot more about these big infastructure projects.

HS2 of the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct, part of the new proposed route for the HS2 high speed rail scheme. Credit: PA

They involve government making savings in day to day spending and diverting that money to capital spending.

Ministers say it's the best way to use what little public money there is, to create jobs and stimulate growth.

The Prime Minister is taking the Cabinet out of London today and holding it in Yorkshire as part of the HS2 announcement.

He says it is "vital that we get on board this high-speed revolution," and that High Speed Rail is "an engine for growth."

Stop HS2 sign at the road side in Drayton Bassett, Staffordshire, as groups seek to stop the Government's HS2 high-speed rail scheme. Credit: David Jones/PA Wire/Press Association Images

The proposed route for the first phase of HS2 - from London to Birmingham - has already been announced.

The second phase is published today, showing where the high speed line will be built from Birmingham to Manchester and from Birmingham to Leeds.

The journey time from London to Manchester will be cut by an hour - from 2 hours 8 minutes to 1 hour 8 minutes.

Leeds to London will be 50 minutes shorter from 2 hours 20 minutes to 1 hour 28 minutes.

HS2 proposals link London and Birmingham. Credit: HS2 Ltd

But ministers will argue this is about more than just London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

New stations will be built at Crewe, Sheffield and the East Midlands.

And the journey times will be cut for most of Britain's biggest cities as the high speed trains will be able to run on conventional tracks to Liverpool, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Ministers want to sell this as a project for the whole country - cutting the time it takes to travel by train from Scotland all the way to Paris and Brussels.

Protests have continued about the route. Credit: Joe Rukin

The critics however are many.

Some argue the business case does not stack up.

Others that £33 billion on a vanity project is no way to spend scarce public resources.

Conservative MPs with constituencies along the route of Phase 1 have already voice their opposition.

Similar concerns are now being raised by David Cameron's MPs in the Midlands and North.

Huge areas of countryside will be disturbed and often that most affected will not benefit from the line or a station nearby.

Labour proposed HS2 when in office - and they still back the project.

But the Shadow Transport Secretary Maria Eagle said she has concerns about the time taken to build the line, the legal challenges to the route which may force ministers to hold another round of consultation, and the stations - like Sheffield Meadowhall - which are on the outskirts of cities rather than in the city centre.