What’s going on with HS2?
Geography in the News > What’s going on with HS2?
HS2, or High Speed 2, is a new high-speed railway that is being built in the United Kingdom. The original plan for HS2 was to connect London to Birmingham in Stage 1, then Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds in Stage 2.
HS2 is being developed for several reasons. First, it will help to reduce congestion on existing railways and roads. Second, it will make it quicker and easier to travel between major cities in the UK. Third, it is expected to create jobs and boost the economy. One of the main justifications for HS2 was reducing the UK’s north-south divide.
HS2 trains will travel up to 225 mph, much faster than current trains. This means a journey from London to Birmingham will take just 49 minutes, compared to 1 hour and 21 minutes on current trains.
It has been said that HS2 will bring a range of benefits:
- HS2 will make it quicker and easier for you to travel between major cities in the UK.
- HS2 will help to reduce congestion on existing railways and roads by freeing up existing railways to transport more freight.
- HS2 is expected to create jobs and boost the economy.
However, critics of HS2 suggest:
- HS2 is a costly project; some argue that the money could be better spent on other things, such as education or healthcare.
- HS2 is controversial, and some people argue that it is not necessary. They say that the existing railways could be upgraded to improve capacity and that the money would be better spent on other infrastructure projects, such as new roads or bridges.
- HS2 will cut through some areas of natural beauty, and some people argue that the environmental damage is not worth the project’s benefits.
The plan to link Birmingham in the Midlands to Leeds was dropped in 2021 due to costs.
The first part of HS2, between west London and Birmingham, is in mid-construction, and £2.3bn has already been put towards the following sections, including acquiring land and property.
In October 2023, the UK Government announced the HS2 line between Birmingham and Manchester would be cancelled due to rising costs. The Government has proposed reinvesting the money designated for HS2 between Birmingham and Manchester into a range of transport infrastructure projects in the north. Some of these will be existing planned projects.
HS2 will run from London Euston station to Birmingham Curzon Street station via Old Oak Common station in west London.