HS2, Great Britain’s new high-speed railway, will form the low-carbon spine of our transport system, with 25 stops from Scotland to the South East. The new high-speed track will run between Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and London and HS2 trains will also run on the existing network serving towns and cities in the North West, North East and Scotland.
HS2 is the most important economic regeneration project in decades. It will act as a catalyst for growth and help level-up the country, boosting growth in the Midlands and North and open up new employment, business connectivity and leisure opportunity for millions of people. It will be the low carbon alternative for long distance travel, reducing the need for car and plane journeys, and play a vital role in delivering the Government’s ambitious goal of Britain becoming net zero carbon by 2050. It will add vital capacity to the existing rail network by taking long distance trains off it, creating thousands of extra seats and space for more local, commuter and freight services.
A decade of design, planning, consultation and securing powers from Parliament now means HS2 has started construction. For Phase One, which will run between the West Midlands and London, the digging of tunnels, the building of viaducts, the laying of tracks, the delivery of trains and the first live trials lie in the immediate future. Phase 2a, which extends the route to Crewe, achieved Royal Assent from Parliament in March 2021 and enabling works have begun. The Government is considering how best to integrate Phase 2b, which takes the line to Manchester and Leeds, with Northern Powerhouse Rail, the Midlands Rail Hub and other projects to deliver benefits more quickly and cheaply as part of an integrated rail plan for the North and Midlands.
As part of the commitment to better serve the communities and businesses across the regions, a new franchise has been created to support and develop the customer proposition. The West Coast Partnership is a joint venture between FirstGroup and Trenitalia. The franchise comprises two distinct parts – Avanti West Coast that runs the current services on the West Coast Main Line, and West Coast Partnership Development that works with HS2 Ltd and the DfT to develop and operate high speed rail services.