United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Feb. 11 that HS2 – a high-speed rail network linking the city centers of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds – will be included as part of improvements to local transportation networks across the county.
“Delivering better, faster and more reliable transport connections is the way to close the opportunity gap across this country,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “But it is not and never will be an ‘either/or’ between big projects and local services.
“Dramatic improvements to local transport and the decision to proceed with HS2 will shift this country’s center of gravity away from the capital and transform connectivity between our towns and cities. I am drawing a clear line under the mismanagement of the past – HS2 must be delivered more efficiently and cost-effectively so that communities feel its benefits more quickly, particularly those in the North.”
The 67-mile long HS1 – or the Channel Tunnel Rail Link – was completed in 2009, linking the capital to the Channel Tunnel to the southeast. HS2 follows a Y-shaped alignment linking London with the major population centers to the north.
After thorough analysis of the benefits and impacts of the project, work on Phase 1 (the route between London and Birmingham) is set to start in April. Government will revive the legislation to deliver Phase 2a (connecting Birmingham to Crewe) as soon as possible so that preparation works can move forward.
The Prime Minister told Parliament that he is committed to Phase 2b of the project, extending high-speed rail from the West Midlands to the North.
An independent review by noted British civil engineer Douglas Oakervee’s was published in full on Feb. 11. It can be accessed here.