• Department for Transport expected to confirm latest route within weeks
• Journey times between major cities in the North will be slashed by half
• DfT hopes service will transform the North, but critics believe many passengers may be priced out
By James Rush
PUBLISHED: 04:20 EST, 18 January 2013 | UPDATED: 05:10 EST, 18 January 2013 The full impact across the country of the £33bn high-speed rail project is to be unveiled by the Government within weeks, it has been reported. Passengers between major cities will see journey times slashed, by half in many cases, by the second phase of the project.
The Department for Transport will detail its calculations of the effect on provincial Britain when it confirms the route for the latest stage, which takes the line to Leeds and Manchester.
The new 225mph trains will see journey times slashed dramatically between the UK's provincial cities, according to The Telegraph.
The Government believes the North's economy will be transformed, but critics believe many passengers could be priced out of using the trains, if a high-speed premium is charged.
Graham Stringer, Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton, said the HS2 second phase announcement was a 'watershed moment' for Britain.
He said: 'What HS2 will do is bring the North and the Midlands closer together, creating a new economic hub that, for the first time in our history, will provide some proper competition to London.
'That can only be good news – not just for the cities themselves but for the country as a whole.'
The first stage of HS2 from Euston to Birmingham is due to open in 2026, with the second stage expected to be completed in another six years. Passengers travelling from Birmingham to Manchester will see their journey time cut from 88 minutes to 49, while those going further north to Newcastle will spend 127 minutes on the trip, compared with the current 194.
Meanwhile, a journey between Leeds and Nottingham will fall from 115 minutes to 29, and those travelling to Sheffield will fall to 17 minutes from 41.
HOW JOURNEY TIMES WILL BE CUT BY THE HIGH-SPEED RAIL
Trains from London to:
Birmingham - reduced from 1 hour 24 minutes to 49 minutes
Manchester - reduced from 2 hours 8 minutes to 1 hour 8 minutes
Leeds - reduced from 2 hour 12 minutes to 1 hour 22 minutes
Glasgow - reduced from 4 hours 8 minutes to 3 hours 38 minutes
Trains from Birmingham to:
Leeds - reduced from 2 hours 3 minutes to 57 minutes
Sheffield - reduced from 1 hour 11 minutes to 38 minutes
Manchester - reduced from 1 hour 28 minutes to 49 minutes
Glasgow - reduced from 3 hour 57 minutes to 3 hour 22 minutes
Trains from Leeds to:
Sheffield - reduced from 41 minutes to 17 minutes
Nottingham - reduced from 1 hour 55 minutes to 29 minutes