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HS2 network could be £20bn cheaper and pay for itself

07 Dec 2015

Britain’s high-speed rail network could be £20 billion cheaper than billed and could pay for itself under radical new plans being developed by a team of railway engineers.

Twenty one cities, and airports, including Heathrow, would be directly connected under the High Speed UK alternative, which it claimed would benefit more people and be greener than the government’s existing £55 billion existing HS2 plans.

Proponents say the network could be built at no cost to taxpayers, by developing land around stations and raising local levies on landowners who benefit – a scheme pioneered by Victorian engineers who built London’s Metropolitan Line 150 years ago.

At the heart of the fully costed plans, which were unveiled with maps and timetables in Birmingham on Saturday, is a super-fast line that would run beside the M1 from London to Scotland, via Leicester and Newcastle.

This north-south spine would be linked directly to a high-speed east-west route connecting Sheffield and Leeds to Manchester and Liverpool along the route of former Victorian tunnels beneath the Pennines.