The routes of high speed rail links in the North of England have been unveiled by the government.
Prime minister, David Cameron is hoping that the move will positively impact “Britain’s stagnant economy”. Indeed, the project is predicted to create at least 100,000 jobs and to halve journey times between Birmingham and Manchester to 41 minutes from 2033.
Chancellor George Osborne insisted that the new rail would represent an “engine for growth” to the North of England. Pro HS2 campaigners have branded the project as “visionary”.
The second phase of the £33bn high-speed 2 will include five new stations at Manchester, Manchester Airport, Toton in the East Midlands, Sheffield and in Leeds.
However, phase one of the project has been coldly greeted by the opposition which saw the government prediction as non-realistic. Joe Rukin, STOPHS2 campaign manager, argues that the rail project won’t benefit the country’s economy but worsen it instead.
He said: “Fifty-five percent of the economic benefits are based on the cash value of time, no-one works on trains and every business user is worth £70,000 a year – it’s basically a train for the rich that everyone else is not only going to have to pay for the construction of but also have to subsidise throughout its lifetime as well.”
Construction of the London-West Midlands route is expected to begin around 2017 with the first train in service by 2026.