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Railhub Archive
2010-03-11 DfT-002
Department for Transport


Adonis sets out high speed rail proposals

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high speed rail

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Department for Transport

Adonis sets out high speed rail proposals

11 Mar 2010 12:05
source Department for Transport
type Press release

note News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 11 March 2010

Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis today announced proposals which would revolutionise Britain's rail network by delivering an initial core high speed rail network linking London to Birmingham, Manchester, the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds, with trains running at up to 250 miles per hour.

The development of a 335 mile 'Y'-shaped network would bring the West Midlands within about half an hour of London, and deliver journey times of 75 minutes or less from Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester to the capital. Connections onto existing tracks would be included, allowing direct high speed train services to be operated to cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Liverpool as soon as the line opens. Further consideration will also be given to extending the network subsequently to these and other major destinations.

The first step in building such a network would be a high speed line from London to Birmingham, for which the Government has today published details of High Speed Two Ltd’s (HS2 Ltd) recommended route. Full public consultation on that route, and the longer term strategy for high speed rail, will begin in the Autumn and detailed planning work will now also begin on the route options from Birmingham to Manchester and to Leeds to allow consultation on these routes in 2012.

Andrew Adonis said:

“The time has come for Britain to plan seriously for high speed rail between our major cities. The high speed line from London to the Channel Tunnel has been a clear success, and many European and Asian countries now have extensive and successful high speed networks. I believe high speed rail has a big part to play in Britain’s future.

"Over the next twenty to thirty years the UK will require a step-change in transport capacity and connectivity both to promote and respond to long-term economic growth. However, this must be delivered sustainably, without unacceptable environmental impacts, and in line with the Government’s strategy to promote a low carbon economy.

"High speed rail would be by far the most effective way to achieve this step-change, offering a balance of capacity, connectivity and sustainability benefits unmatched by any other option.

"The proposed high speed rail strategy I am setting out today will now go forward to full public consultation in the Autumn. Building this network would not only revolutionise Britain's transport, but would also present significant new opportunities for the UK’s design, engineering, construction and manufacturing sectors, creating new jobs and skills."

The Government has formed its proposals after consideration of a detailed report from HS2 Ltd, the company set up by the Government in January 2009 to investigate the case for high speed rail.

Under the proposals, the recommended route for a London-Birmingham high speed line would run from a rebuilt Euston station to a new Birmingham City Centre station at Fazeley/Curzon Street. A Crossrail interchange station would be built at Old Oak Common in West London, giving the new line direct connections to the West End, City and Docklands via Crossrail, to the South West via the Great Western main line and to Heathrow via the Heathrow Express. A second interchange station could also be located to the south east of Birmingham - offering direct links to Birmingham Airport, the National Exhibition Centre and the M6 and M42.

In the first instance the line would connect to Heathrow airport through a direct link to the Heathrow Express at Old Oak Common. However, the Government has today appointed Lord Mawhinney, a former Transport Secretary, to examine potential options for a future station at the airport itself. Further work is also being carried out to assess options for a connection to the wider European high speed rail network, through either or both a dedicated rapid transport system linking Euston and St Pancras and a direct rail link to High Speed One.

HS2 Ltd have provided an estimated cost of £30 billion for the core 'Y' network and also found that construction costs for major projects in the UK are higher than for comparable projects elsewhere in Europe. In the light of this evidence, Infrastructure UK - the body set up to help ensure that publicly funded infrastructure is effectively prioritised and delivered - will work with the Department for Transport to consider whether and how construction costs can be reduced. Further work on HS2 Ltd’s cost estimates may be required following the completion of that work.

The Government proposes to secure the powers to deliver any high speed network by means of a single Hybrid Bill. Depending on the outcome of consultation and Parliamentary timescales and approval, this should allow construction to start after the Crossrail scheme is completed from 2017 with the high speed network opening in phases from 2026.

Notes to editors

The HS2 report and the Government's proposed strategy

Britain already has its first high speed rail line: High Speed One (HS1), which links London with the Channel Tunnel.

In January 2009, the Government set up a company called 'High Speed Two Limited' (HS2 Ltd) to advise on the development of high speed rail services between London and Scotland. HS2 Ltd delivered its report - the most detailed examination ever undertaken of high speed rail in Britain - to the Government at the end of 2009.

Following consideration of the HS2 Ltd report, the Government has today published its proposed strategy for a British high speed rail network in the form of a Government Command Paper. This is available on the DfT website at:

HS2 Ltd's report is also published today, supported by technical assessments, including demand forecasts and - for the route between London and the West Midlands - detailed maps, design specifications, environmental assessments, and costs, funding and delivery structures. This is available on the DfT website at:

London to Birmingham - HS2 Ltd's recommended route

In formulating today's recommended route option, HS2 carefully assessed the various route options, including routes using the existing transport corridors of the M1, M40, A413 and West Coast Main Line, and also those which follow new alignments, for instance an option which crosses the Hughenden Valley through the Chiltern Hills.

The Government agrees with HS2 Ltd that route option 3, which follows the A413 corridor, appears best to meet the Government’s objectives for optimising journey times and cost, and for managing impacts on the local environment and communities in an acceptable way. After thorough consideration, the Government also believes that all of the other route options presented by HS2 Ltd are significantly inferior. It is therefore the recommended route option 3 which the Government proposes to put forward for consultation in the autumn, following the completion of further work on mitigating specific impacts on the local environment and communities.

As described by HS2 Ltd, this route would run in tunnel from a rebuilt Euston Station, surfacing in West London to follow the route of the existing Chiltern Line, leaving London near Ruislip. The route would proceed largely in tunnel from the M25 as far as Amersham, and then continue to the west of Wendover and Aylesbury, partly in tunnel and partly following the existing A413 and Chiltern Line corridor.

The next section of the route would employ the largely-preserved track-bed of the former Great Central Railway, and continue north to enter Birmingham close to Water Orton. The route would terminate at a new city centre station built at Fazeley Street in Birmingham’s Eastside regeneration area. In addition, from outside the city, the main line would extend north to join the West Coast Main Line at Lichfield, enabling services to continue at conventional speeds to destinations further north.

Formal public consultation on the recommended route option, and the Government’s proposed strategy on high speed rail, will begin in Autumn 2010.

The proposed network beyond Birmingham

After Birmingham, the Government's proposed strategy would see the new high speed line running on to Manchester and separately to the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds. Connections onto existing tracks would be included, allowing direct high speed train services to be operated to cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Liverpool as soon as the line opens. Further consideration will also be given to extending the network subsequently to these and other major destinations.

HS2 will now begin planning work on the route options from Birmingham to Manchester and to Leeds, to be completed in summer 2011, with a view to consulting early in 2012.

Exception Hardship Scheme

Under existing planning law, eligible property owners directly affected by any confirmed plans for the development of any future high speed line would have access in due course to statutory blight provisions. These statutory provisions would come into force at such time as safeguarding directions are issued in respect of any route.

However, the possibility of such a line being constructed may in some cases have an impact on property values in the period before statutory protection is available. Therefore the Government proposes to introduce an Exceptional Hardship Scheme for householders most affected by these proposals, and in particular for householders who have an urgent need to relocate. It is intended first to consult on this, and the Government has today published a consultation paper setting out its proposals on the scope of such a scheme.

This consultation paper is available on the Department for Transport website at: It will run until 20 May 2010, after which the Government will consider the responses and, if a decision is taken to go ahead with a scheme, launch it shortly thereafter.

Press Enquires: 020 7944 3108 Out of Hours: 020 7944 4292 Public Enquiries: 0300 330 3000 Department for Transport Website:

Railhub Archive ::: 2010-03-11 DfT-002


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