Powers to progress the second phase of the HS2 rail line have been included in the Queen’s speech.
A bill to allow the £55.7bn railway to be extended from Birmingham to Crewe is part of the government’s programme for the next two years.
The High Speed phase 2a bill covers plans “to build and operate the next stage of the HS2 network between Birmingham and Crewe”. The final stage, phase 2b, will run from Crewe to Greater Manchester and from the West Midlands to Yorkshire.
The massive project, which has stirred up some controversy, is planned to run from London to Leeds and Manchester in a Y-shape from 2033.
In February, the parliamentary bill for the first phase of HS2, from London to Birmingham, received Royal Assent.
“HS2 will be the world’s most advanced passenger railway and the backbone of our rail network,” transport secretary Chris Grayling said at the time. “Royal Assent is a major step towards significantly increasing capacity on our congested railways for both passengers and freight; improving connections between the biggest cities and regions; generations jobs, skills and economic growth.”
Under plans unveiled by the Department for Transport, a new rail franchise will combine the current InterCity West Coast services with the development and introduction of HS2 services.
The new franchise, West Coast Partnership, will be responsible for services on both the West Coast main line from 2019, and designing and running the initial high speed services from 2026. It will run for the first three to five years of operation of HS2.