£20bn less than existing plans for HS2 & HS3.


Improves 94% of journeys and reduces journey time by an average of 40%.


Saves 600 million tonnes of CO2 and avoids the Chilterns AONB.


Improves regional rail across the UK and integrates with the existing rail infrastructure.


High Speed UK - Connecting the Nation



“HS2 modelling is shocking, biased and bonkers.”

Margaret Hodge, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

“No economic case for HS2... it will destroy jobs and force businesses to close.”

Institute of Economic Affairs


16. How can you claim that HSUK is best for the North?

The lack of a transpennine link in the HS2 ‘Y-network’ has always comprised the most glaring defect in the Government’s HS2 proposals.  Sustained pressure from Northern business and political groupings ultimately led to George Osborne’s 2014 Northern Powerhouse initiative, for transpennine ‘HS3’ links between the principal cities of the North.  Since 2014, Transport for the North has been responsible for developing more detailed proposals in accordance with a demanding ‘HS3’ specification for journey times and service frequency, and a requirement that HS3 should be effectively integrated with HS2.

As proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail have developed, concerns have grown at Transport for the North’s strategic direction, and its relationship with the HS2 scheme.  No-one in authority appears to have recognised the dangers of basing proposals for Northern Powerhouse Rail –  whose core rationale is improved transpennine connectivity – upon the established HS2 scheme – which was designed with no thought for transpennine connectivity.

This disjointed approach seemed certain to have massive adverse impacts upon the performance of Northern Powerhouse Rail, with Sheffield left particularly disadvantaged.  Already effectively bypassed by HS2’s north-south route, Sheffield would also be bypassed by Transport for the North’s proposals for a new east-west transpennine route between Manchester and Leeds.

These concerns were vindicated with the publication in January 2018 of Transport for the North’s Strategic Transport Plan.  This document makes it clear that Transport for the North’s key priority is to conform with the established HS2 proposals, and in the process it has largely abandoned the original ‘HS3 specification’.  The true failure of TfN’s Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme is only revealed by the vastly superior performance of HSUK as a railway network linking the principal cities of the North.  For further details see The Northern Poorhouse – How the Transport Establishment failed the People of the North and the HSUK Northern Powerhouse Challenge.

Unlike HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, HSUK meets all the key requirements of the ‘HS3 specification’ for improved links between the principal cities of the Northern Powerhouse, and from these cities to Manchester Airport.  Although HSUK significantly predates the Northern Powerhouse initiative, its basic layout – with its ‘3-pointed star’ link between Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, following the abandoned ‘Woodhead’ corridor – required no modification to meet the connectivity and journey time requirements of the Northern Powerhouse.  

HSUK’s design as an integrated and holistically designed national network has allowed Sheffield, Leeds and Manchester to be located at the heart of the national intercity network.  All cities will see huge gains in connectivity, with direct high speed links from city centre stations to most other major UK cities and major capacity gains for the local networks.  See HSUK proposals for high speed services connecting communities on both sides of the Pennines.

For further details see:

HSUK Transpennine Rail Strategy

HSUK Yorkshire Rail Strategy.

HSUK North-West Rail Strategy.