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High speed rail: new 'Y' shaped network proposed

  • Published: Monday, 28 February 2011

A new 'Y' shaped high speed rail network linking London, the West Midlands, Manchester and Leeds has been proposed. Links to existing lines would also enable through-running services to other cities including Liverpool, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Read the proposals in full and have your say.

New high speed rail proposals

Proposed London to West Midlands high speed rail route

The proposed high speed rail scheme would cut journey times between London and other major cities by as much as an hour.

The new connection would bring Birmingham within 49 minutes of London, while Manchester and Leeds would be within 80 minutes or less of the capital.

Birmingham and Manchester would be less than 50 minutes apart and Leeds and Birmingham just over an hour.

Travel from London to Scotland’s major cities would take around three hours 30 minutes.

Running 14 or more trains per hour, each with up to 1,100 seats, the new network would offer greater reliability than the existing network. It could also shift as many as six million air trips and nine million road trips a year on to rail.

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond said: "Countries across Europe and Asia are already pressing ahead with ambitious plans for high speed rail, while some of our key rail arteries are getting ever closer to capacity. We cannot afford to be left behind - investing in high speed rail now is vital to the prosperity of future generations."

Building the new network

The proposed network would be built in two phases. The first phase would be a line from London to the West Midlands. The second phase would be the onward legs to Manchester and Leeds.

A direct link to Britain's existing high speed line, High Speed 1 - which runs from London St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel - is also proposed as part of the initial phase of the scheme. This would allow travel from cities linked to the high speed network to the continent.

Construction of a direct link to Heathrow airport – which, under the proposals, would be built at the same time as lines from Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester - would enable direct high speed services to run to and from the airport. This would provide an alternative to many short-haul air journeys and bring central Birmingham within an hour of Heathrow.

Construction of any new network would be expected to begin early in the next parliament. The line from London to the West Midlands should be completed by 2026, with the legs to Manchester and Leeds finished in 2032-2033.

Have your say

Have your say

Read the proposals in full and have your say

The government has launched a consultation on the London to the West Midlands part of the proposed high speed rail network, and the government's plans for a wider network.

The consultation will run until 29 July 2011. Events will be held in towns and cities along the 140-mile proposed route between London and the West Midlands, as well as in major cities across the country.

To read the proposals in full, and to have your say, follow the link below.

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