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HS2 is split into two phases. Phase One covers London to the West Midlands, including a connection to the West Coast main line at Handsacre, just east of Lichfield. Phase Two completes the now familiar Y-shaped route with two arms, one leading to Manchester and the other to Leeds. The whole line will be 330miles of new twin-track railway, serving nine dedicated stations.

The original route for Phase One was announced in January 2012. It has since been subject to numerous refinements, and the hybrid bill began making its way through Parliament in summer 2013. This gives government powers to compulsorily purchase the land it requires to build the route. In August 2014, the petitioning process began, and the High Speed Rail Select Committee continues to meet to consider the views of those who live along the proposed route. The committee can then recommend alteration to the route, which will be incorporated into the final bill put before Parliament. The aim is to begin construction work on Phase One from 2017 to 2025 and the route from London to Birmingham opening in 2026.

On 30 November 2015, the government announced a proposed way forward on Phase Two of HS2.Phase Two forms a ‘Y’ shape from the West Midlands up towards Manchester and the North West with proposed stations at Manchester Airport and Manchester Piccadilly; and up towards Leeds and the North East with proposed stations in Leeds, the East Midlands and Sheffield Meadowhall. It is anticipated that Phase Two of HS2 will begin operating trains around 2033 as part of the integrated HS2 network and with the rest of the UK rail network. The Government wants part of Phase Two – the route between the West Midlands and Crewe – to open in 2027, six years ahead of the rest of Phase Two. The Government has not made a decision on the exact route for the rest of Phase Two; this will most likely be announced in autumn 2016.

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