Details of the second phase of the HS2 high-speed rail network from London to the north of England have been confirmed by the government this morning with a Heathrow spur initially left out.
The preferred route of phase two of HS2 will run north from Birmingham with stops at Manchester; Manchester airport; Toton in the East Midlands; Sheffield; and Leeds.
Birmingham to Leeds journey times will be cut from two hours to 57 minutes and Manchester to London from two hours and eight minutes to one hour and eight minutes.
Phase one of the £32 billion line will link London and Birmingham.
Passengers will be able to commute from Birmingham to London in 49 minutes travelling at speeds of up to 250mph, reducing the journey time from the current one hour and 24 minutes.
A final route for phase two is expected to be chosen by the end of 2014.
Recommendations from the Davies Commission into UK airport capacity is will determine whether a link to Heathrow will go ahead. Recommendations will not be made until 2015.
The HS2 second phase report said: “The government continues to support the principle of integrating HS2 with our country’s airports.
“We consider however that further work on a link to Heathrow should now await our consideration of the conclusions and recommendation of the Airports Commission.
“We will therefore pause work on the Heathrow spur until the Commission’s recommendations have been considered.
“To avoid severe disruption to the Phase One line after it has opened, however, the government would consider carrying out the preparatory construction work needed to preserve the option of our preference serving Heathrow in the future. Including this work now could save significant disruption and cost at a later point.”
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