NEWS
23/02/2017 11:59 GMT | Updated 23/02/2017 11:59 GMT

HS2 Route Receives Royal Assent Clearing The Final Hurdle For High Speed Line

'The fight against phase two of HS2 will continue.'

Legislation for the first phase of the HS2 high-speed rail project has passed its final hurdle.

The parliamentary Bill to build the line from London to Birmingham received royal assent on Thursday morning, opening the way for construction work to begin.

It has had more than three years of scrutiny including a failed eleventh-hour bid to defeat it in the House of Lords last month. 

Here’s what the route is going to look like...

HS2
The phase one route stretching from London to Birmingham
HS2
The route through Manchester and Leeds

Phase one of the £55.7 billion scheme is scheduled to open in December 2026, with a second Y-shaped phase launching in two stages.

Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will open in 2027 and phase 2b, from Crewe to Manchester and from the West Midlands to Leeds, South Yorkshire and the East Midlands, will begin operation in 2033.

This is how the line will affect London:

PA
The network's impact in London

Trains travelling at 225mph along the line would cut journey times down significantly.

Here’s an example of how high speed travel would affect this: 

 CurrentlyBy carOn HS2
Central Birmingham - Heathrow (direct)2hrs 27mins2hrs 9mins43mins
Reading - Manchester3hrs 28mins3hrs 50mins1hr 28mins
Birmingham - Canary Wharf2 hrs2hrs 45mins1hr 10mins
    
 CurrentlyBy planeOn HS2
Central Manchester - London West End2hrs 29mins3hrs 50mins1hr 20mins
Central Edinburgh - London Liverpool St4hrs 50mins3hrs 40mins3hrs 42mins
Birmingham - Canary Wharf2hrs2hrs 45mins1hr 10mins

 

Construction work on phase one is set to begin in the spring. When the section is completed it is expected to nearly triple the number of rush-hour seats available on the route from 11,000 to about 30,000.

Most intercity trains will run on the HS2 network, allowing more commuter services on the West Coast line.

According to the Press Association, West Midlands Combined Authority chairman Bob Sleigh said the granting of royal assent was “the news that the West Midlands has been waiting for”.

He declared that the region was “ready to capitalise fully on the opportunities it offers to transform places, create jobs and attract investment”.

Camden Council leader Sarah Hayward said the local authority, residents and businesses challenged the HS2 Bill “every step of the way”.

Christopher Furlong via Getty Images
There has been strong opposition to the HS2 route

The area will be home to the network’s London terminus at Euston station.

Hayward said the council was “proud to have successfully secured significant concessions” including replacement homes for council tenants, noise insulation, limits on construction vehicle emissions and a £3.5 million Camden community fund.

Joe Rukin, campaign manager at Stop HS2, claimed the parliamentary Bill receiving royal assent would be “a triumph of spin over evidence-based policy”.

He said: “This is a terrible project which will not deliver on its promises, come in years late, miles over budget, create havoc during construction and has disastrous environmental consequences.

“The fight against phase two of HS2 will continue.”