High Speed Rail

High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain's Future

Learn about the latest proposals for High Speed Rail in the UK and have your say about the Government's strategy for High Speed Rail and the proposed initial high speed rail line (HS2) from London to the West Midlands.

The Government believes that a national high speed rail network offers a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the way we travel in Britain.

High speed railways were first built in Japan in the 1960s, and now span countries across Europe and Asia. The pace of development shows no sign of slowing, and China, France and Spain, amongst other countries, are all pressing ahead with ambitious plans. Britain cannot afford to be left behind. Our current railway system dates back to the Victorian era and will not be sufficient to keep Britain competitive in the twenty-first century.

A new high speed rail network would transform the country's economic geography. It would bring our key cities closer together, enable businesses to operate more productively, support employment growth and regeneration, provide a genuine alternative to domestic aviation, and create a platform for delivering long-term and sustainable economic growth and prosperity.

A Y-shaped national high speed rail network linking London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, and including stops in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire, as well as direct links to the HS1 line and into Heathrow Airport, would cost £32 billion to construct, and would generate benefits of around £44 billion, as well as revenues totalling a further £27 billion.

This network would slash journey times between cities, deliver a huge increase in rail capacity to meet rising demand for long-distance rail travel, and ease overcrowding on existing railways.

High speed rail also has the potential to play a central role in promoting long-term and sustainable economic growth. New high speed links would enable the UK’s key urban economies to improve their productivity, attract new businesses, and access more directly the economic strength of London and the South East.

The first phase alone of a national network would support the creation of more than 40,000 jobs and contribute to major regeneration programmes in Britain’s inner cities.

High Speed Two frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions about High Speed Two.

28 February 2011

Exceptional Hardship Scheme

Following the consultation on an Exceptional Hardship Scheme, the Secretary of State has introduced an Exceptional Hardship Scheme. The scheme is now open to applications. Guidance for applicants, the application form, and frequently asked questions can be found on the HS2 Ltd website. This section includes the written ministerial statement to Parliament and an analysis of the responses to the consultation.

Background reports supporting the proposed high speed rail strategy for consultation

The first phase of the proposed high speed rail network would be a new line between London and Birmingham. This section includes a set of maps providing a detailed depiction of the preferred route option that will be taken forward for public consultation during 2011.

Background reports prepared by High Speed Two Ltd

HS2 background reports and supporting documents to Government by High Speed Two Ltd

Objectives and remit for high speed rail

Information and documents relating to the objectives and remit for high speed rail.

For related documents, pages and internet links, see the column on the right.