Published On: Mon, Oct 27th, 2014 on 1:23 am

HS2: Phase two plans to be unveiled in Leeds

HS2 Train

A new report outlining second stage details of the high-speed rail scheme is due to be unveiled in Leeds later today.

It will be unveiled by the chair of HS2 Ltd, Sir David Higgins, and will include HS2 recommendations for Leeds including priorities to focus on improving journey times.

If plans get the go-ahead, rail journey times between Leeds and Manchester could almost be cut in half including journey times between Leeds and Birmingham, and Leeds and Sheffield Meadowhall.

The report, titled ‘Rebalancing Britain: from HS2 towards a national transport strategy’, also includes recommendations to remodelling the existing Leeds Rail Station to provide a new single integrated station hosting HS2.

Leader of Leeds City Council, Cllr Keith Wakefield, has hailed HS2 as “the key to transforming the future economy of Leeds and the north.”

He said: “We are very pleased Sir David chose Leeds to unveil his report as it further reinforces the importance of our city and the north as a whole to the success of the HS2 project.

“Without question HS2 is the key to transforming the future economy of Leeds and the north. It offers huge benefits in terms of job creation and opportunities, driving growth and innovation and bringing people and places closer together making cities like Leeds and the wider city regions much more attractive for businesses to base themselves.”

Chairman of HS2 Ltd, Sir David Higgins, said: “Improving connectivity is vital if Britain is to compete in the knowledge economy in which this country has a competitive advantage, but in which ease of travel is an essential element.”

Phase one of HS2 involves a new high-speed line from Euston in London passing through the Chilterns to Birmingham, with an expected completion date of 2026.

Phase two was due to be completed in 2032/33, but Sir David is keen for this date to be brought forward.

The project is supported by the Government but is opposed by some councils, residents and campaigners.

Stop HS2 campaign manager, Joe Rukin, argued: “Whatever David Higgins announces, it will be clear that the original plans for HS2 weren’t thought through properly.

“Changing the mess that is phase two doesn’t change the fact that phase one is still a complete mess, as is the entire concept of HS2.”

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