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Britain gives "green signal" to major rail project HS2

Video credit: Reuters Studio
Published on February 11, 2020 - Duration: 01:41s

Britain gives "green signal" to major rail project HS2

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light for a high speed rail project connecting London to northern England on Tuesday.

Ciara Lee reports

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Britain gives "green signal" to major rail project HS2

It's full steam ahead for Britain's major high speed rail project, HS2 Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave the green light for Europe's biggest infrastructure project on Tuesday (February 11).

The line, which will eventually connect London with cities in central and northern England, has run billions of pounds over budget.

Johnson now plans to take a firmer grip.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "We are going to get this done.

And to ensure we do so without further blow outs of either cost or schedule, we are today taking decisive action, to restore discipline to the programme." The line will slash journey times and add capacity to Britain's crowded network, potentially allowing the UK to catch up with the likes of France and Spain and their extensive high-speed rail networks.

Johnson secured a crushing election victory in December by winning towns across northern England.

The announcement fits with his priority to "level up" the country by investing in transport links outside of London.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) BRITISH PRIME MINISTER, BORIS JOHNSON, SAYING: "This is about finally making a rapid connection from the west Mindlands, to the northern power house, to Liverpool.

To Liverpool, to Manchester, to Leeds, and simultaneously permitting us to go forward with northern powerhouse rail." A review was carried out last year into whether HS2 should go ahead at all, after predicted costs rose to a reported 137 billion dollars.

That's almost double the bill five years ago.

The government has already spent 7.4 billion pounds on HS2, without laying down any tracks.

Opponents have said it would be cheaper and faster to spend money on boosting existing services on conventional lines.

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