We want to make the best use of this combined capacity – on new and existing lines – and minimise disruption to passengers by keeping as many trains running as possible during construction.
The West Coast Mainline connects Britain’s biggest cities and carries over a quarter of all rail freight, but is fast running out of space. Our studies for the Department for Transport have shown that building a new line is the only viable way to meet long-term passenger and freight growth.
If HS2 is not built, the West Coast Mainline would be full by the mid-2020s and many people who commute to London and Birmingham would not be able to board their trains at the busiest times.
As part of HS2, places including Northampton, Milton Keynes, Coventry and Hemel Hempstead will see major improvements to their current rail service. More freight will also be shifted from air and road to rail, supporting the government’s targets for reducing transport emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.
Boosting connectivity and the economy
HS2 will also bring Britain’s biggest cities closer together. This means we can consider reshaping the entire railway to better support economic growth.
We will be working with local authorities, passengers, communities and businesses around the country to understand what they want from their railway in the future so we can maximise the benefits that a new high-speed line could provide.