The transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced plans for the preferred route of HS2 connecting the north with the Midlands. Transport secretary Chris Grayling has announced plans for the government's preferred route for the second phase of the country's future HS2 high-speed rail network, which he promises will boost business prospects and have a massive positive impact on the economy in the long term.
The Phase Two prefered route lays out how the north will be connected to the rest of the country, including major routes between Manchester and Crewe, and Leeds and the West Midlands. Mr Grayling said the moves will prove that all of the UK is open for business, and will be a major boost for future economic prosperity nationwide.
There are a number of benefits to business prospects in the north to come from the introduction of HS2 Phase Two, which is set to start opening some routes in 2026 and be completed by the end of 2033. Two significant benefits are the promise of shorter journey times and better access between cities, improving jobs numbers and skills in newly-connected cities.
In the construction stage of the HS2 Phase Two project, it is expected that as many as 25,000 jobs will be created. But the long-term effect is even greater, with the government promising as many as 100,000 permanent jobs to be created in the long-term across the cities reached by Phase Two.
Some of the most significant changes include lowering the time it takes to get between some of the UK's largest cities. This includes the halving of journey durations between Leeds and Sheffield, and Leeds and Manchester, while the time it takes to get between Manchester and Birmingham should drop from almost an hour and a half to just around 40 minutes.
Mr Grayling said: "The full HS2 route will be a game-changer for the country that will slash journey times and perhaps most importantly give rail passengers on the existing network thousands of extra seats every day. They represent the greatest upgrade to our railway in living memory."
Meanwhile, communities secretary Sajid Javid said that the new routes are the right step in creating a UK economy that works for everyone.
"We are determined to get both the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse firing on all cylinders and HS2 will help create new growth, jobs and homes right across the line," he added.