UK to give go ahead to high speed rail project HS2 – BBC

UK

FILE PHOTO: Signage is seen on perimeter boarding at the HS2 high speed rail link construction site in Euston, London, Britain, December 18, 2019. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will give the green light to the country’s High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project, reported the BBC on Tuesday.

The government will say that the whole of the project which will link London to Birmingham and then split into two and connect the northern English cities of Manchester and Leeds should go ahead, said the BBC.

The second phase of the project beyond Birmingham, however, will be subject to a review to identify cost savings and integrate new services into existing railways, the BBC added.

A formal announcement on the project, which has caused controversy for going over-budget and is opposed by some environmental campaigners, is expected to be made later on Tuesday.

Supporters of HS2 say it will slash journey times and add capacity to Britain’s crowded rail network, allowing the country to catch up with European countries like France and Spain which already have extensive high-speed rail networks.

But critics have pointed to the project’s rising costs, reported to be as much as 106 billion pounds ($137 billion) meaning the bill is almost double estimates made five years ago, and said the project is already years behind schedule.

Reporting by Sarah Young; Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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