Fury as SIXTY-Five miles of HS2 “won’t” be laid, with high-speed Birmingham to Leeds link’set for reduction’ as Boris is accused by the opposition of his promise to level up’ the country

  • The ‘eastern section’ of HS2 linking Birmingham to Leeds will be reduced
  • HS2 trains will run at slower speeds along existing tracks for up to 60 miles 
  • It is possible that journey times could take up to an hour, rather than the 40 minutes planned.  

Boris Johnson was accused last night of abandoning his pledge of ‘leveling up’ the country, as a large section of HS2 appears to be’significantly scaled down’.

Northern leaders and the rail industry are ready for a downsizing in the UK’s largest infrastructure project. A report is expected to appear during or after Cop26 summit.

The high-speed rail connecting Birmingham and Leeds, also called the ‘easternleg’, is no more expected to be laid.

This means that HS2 trains will travel at slower speeds on existing tracks for up to 60 miles between the two cities.

According to sources familiar, ministers are considering plans that could increase journey times by up to an hour. 

However, pro-HS2 northern leaders pressed for a compromise. This compromise could still see 80 miles of high-speed track laid.

The purpose-built hub in Toton, Nottinghamshire, would be demolished. Instead, approximately 50 miles worth of high-speed rail would connect Birmingham with East Midlands Parkway station.

Northern leaders and the rail industry are braced for a downsizing of the UK's biggest infrastructure project in a report expected to be published during or after the Cop26 summit (Pictured: Boris Johnson on an HS2 site in September 2020)

Northern leaders and the rail sector are ready for a reduction in the UK’s largest infrastructure project. This report is expected to be published in the Cop26 summit or after. (Pictured, Boris Johnson at an site of HS2 in September 2020. 

Sources last night said the planned changes would represent a 'significant scaling back' of the project (Pictured: An artist's impression of the HS2 train on the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct)

Sources said last night that the planned changes would result in a’significant scaling down’ of the project. (Pictured) An artist’s impression showing the HS2 train at the Birmingham and Fazeley viaduct.

A concept image of the proposed Old Oak Common Station, west London

A concept image for the Old Oak Common Station in west London

At this point, HS2 trains will join the existing Midland mainline which would be upgraded. 

This would mean that trains would travel at a slower pace than originally planned to reach Clayton in West Yorkshire. From there, approximately 30 miles of new high speed rail would connect to Leeds.

Sources indicated last night that the proposed changes would be a significant scaling back of project.

The proposals could save between £10billion and £20billion and comes after Treasury officials raised concerns about HS2’s spiralling costs, which have tripled to more than £100billion over the past decade.

Andy Burnham, Manchester mayor said: “It calls for the promise of leveling up into serious question.”

Jim McMahon was Labour’s transport spokesperson. [Government]If they fail to deliver, the Midlands’ and North’s people will feel betrayed after years spent listening to empty words and uttering meaningless slogans.

HS2 will connect London to Birmingham in phase 1, before branching into two sections. The western leg linking Birmingham and Manchester is expected to proceed.

After being delayed from January, the Integrated Rail Plan is expected to be published around mid November. The Department for Transport was reached for comment.