Keeping track of HS2 is not an easy job, with costs spiralling, delivery dates slipping and routes changing since it was first proposed by Gordon Brown’s Labour government in 2010.
It was originally envisaged as a Y-shaped network which would go from London Euston to Birmingham, with two spurs to Manchester and Leeds. Every prime minister since Brown – David Cameron, Theresa May, Boris Johnson and Liz Truss – supported HS2, though in 2021 under Johnson’s government the Leeds leg was axed. Rishi Sunak – whose North Yorkshire constituency will not benefit from the current plans – now has to decide whether to scrap the Manchester leg.
Here are some numbers to help you understand how the project has changed, and what is at stake.
£30bn – The original estimated cost of Hs2, including spurs to Manchester and Leeds, when proposed by Brown’s government in March 2010
£44.6bn - The current projected cost of HS2 phase one (2019 prices) – London Euston to Birmingham
2033 - The date for HS2’s full completion, when first voted through parliament by MPs in 2013
140 miles of track - The only bit of Hs2 that is under construction and guaranteed to be finished, from Old Oak Common in west London to Birmingham
2029-2033 - When the London to Birmingham leg will actually open to passengers
6 miles – The distance from Old Oak Common to Euston, HS2’s original London terminus
£4.8bn – The estimated cost of building HS2 from Old Oak Common to Euston
15 minutes – The time it takes to walk from Birmingham Curzon Street Hs2 stop to Birmingham New Street, the main rail interchange in the Midlands
30,000 – The number of jobs supported by the construction of HS2, including close to 1,300 apprenticeships
2,700 - The number of weekend closures over 15 years that would be needed in order to upgrade existing lines instead of building the first phase of HS2 – according to HS2
£24,000 – The compensation offered to homeowners who live within 180 metres of the HS2 route
1 hour 11 minutes - New journey time between Manchester Piccadilly and London Euston if HS2 is built in full to the north-west. The current fastest journey time is 2 hours 5 minutes
41 minutes - New journey time between Manchester and Birmingham on HS2, down from 1 hour 27 minutes
225mph – The top speed of the new HS2 trains
200 metres - The length of each HS2 train, with the option to couple two units together to create a 400-metre long train
1,100 seats - The number of seats on a double HS2 train