HS2 is a planned high-speed railway between London Euston and the English Midlands, North West England, Yorkshire, and potentially North East England and the central belt of Scotland.
The project is being developed by High Speed Two Ltd, a company limited by guarantee established by the UK government. The line is to be built in two phases, first between London and Birmingham, then to Manchester Piccadilly running under Crewe railway station and via Manchester Airport, and to Leeds via the East Midlands Hub and Sheffield Meadowhall. Four major city centres shall be served directly: London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester. Other cities are to be accessed using HS2 trains running on existing tracks or with edge-of-town stations.
High-speed rail is supported in principle by the three main UK political parties. The Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition government formed in May 2010 stated in its initial programme for government its commitment to creating a high-speed rail network. In January 2012, the construction of phase 1 between London and Birmingham was approved. Construction is set to begin in 2017 with an indicated opening date of 2026. In January 2013, the preliminary phase 2 route was announced with a planned completion date of 2032. The cost is estimated by the Department for Transport to be £43 billion; a study by the Institute of Economic Affairs suggested a total cost of £80 billion.