About HS2

High Speed 2 (HS2) is currently the largest rail infrastructure project in Europe. In November 2021 the Government published its Integrated Rail Plan that amongst other proposals included the forward plan for HS2 through the East Midlands.

The railway is being developed in phases, below are details of the wider HS2 network in development.

  • Phase 1 will connect London with the West Midlands
  • Phase 2a will connect the West Midlands with Crewe
  • Phase 2b western leg will connect Crewe with Manchester
  • Phase 2b eastern leg with the West Midlands to East Midlands Parkway, this section will pass through Leicestershire. Please see the section below titled HS2 through Leicestershire for more information. 

You can view the route maps for each phase on Check the HS2 route (GOV.UK) and where we go (HS2 website) has a list of all the stations, an interactive route map and a description of the route map.


HS2 Ltd provides a timeline for each Phase of HS2, as outlined below:

  • Phase 1 – planned to open between 2029 - 2033
  • Phase 2a – planned to open between 2029 - 2033
  • Phase 2b Western leg – planned to open between 2035 - 2040
  • Phase 2b Eastern leg – planned to open in the mid-30s to the early 40s

HS2 through Leicestershire

About 30km of new railway is proposed to pass through Leicestershire to the north of the County. The proposals for this have been on hold for some months awaiting Government decision, which came in November 2021 in the form of the Integrated Rail Plan. This plan was commissioned by the Government to bring together rail investment proposals for the East Midlands and ensure services are integrated to deliver better connectivity for rail passengers.

The Government Integrated Rail Plan for the North and the Midlands (IRP) was published in November 2021. It makes reference to the eastern leg of HS2: “...to be developed by HS2 Ltd, based largely on the existing safeguarded route...” (page 76 of the IRP) .

The IRP gives outline timescales for delivery in its Investment Blueprint (figure 9 on page 134). This includes an indication of when the HS2 Phase 2b eastern leg from the West Midlands to East Midlands Parkway may be operational, in around 2040.

Hybrid Bill

A hybrid Bill is legislation promoted by Government in Parliament to secure powers to construct and operate major infrastructure projects of national importance. This allows the Government to seek the full range of statutory powers and authorisations that a project of this size and complexity requires. This may include revisions to the rail regulatory regime and the planning regime, as well as provisions to enable the making of subsequent orders and regulations by way of statutory instrument. Hybrid Bills have been most recently used for Phase One and Phase 2a of HS2, as well as projects such as CrossRail and the Channel Tunnel (HS1).

A hybrid Bill will not only grant deemed planning permission to build the HS2 network, but will also give it powers to:

  • build, operate and maintain HS2 and its associated works
  • compulsorily acquire interests in the land required
  • affect or change rights of way, including the stopping-up or diversion of highways and waterways (permanently or temporarily)
  • modify infrastructure belonging to statutory undertakers (e.g. utility companies)
  • carry out work on listed buildings and demolish buildings in Conservation Areas
  • carry out protective works to buildings and third-party infrastructure

A hybrid Bill is comparable with outline planning permission. It will not be possible to alter HS2 proposals after hybrid Bill receives Royal assent.

You can read more about the hybrid Bill:

Royal assent

The Royal assent of the sovereign to a Bill which has been passed by Parliament, and which then becomes an Act of Parliament. Royal assent by the sovereign (in person or through commissioners of the Crown) is required before a Bill (or a Measure passed by the General Synod of the Church of England) can come into force as law, but it has not been withheld since 1707.

Phase 1 and 2a of the HS2 programme are now at construction stage and have received Royal assent that has allowed them to proceed to this stage. 

For Phase 1 of HS2 the hybrid Bill was deposited on the 25 November 2013 with Royal assent being granted on 23 February 2017.  You can read more in the HS2 Phase One: High Speed Rail (London to West Midlands) Bill 

For Phase 2a of HS2 the hybrid Bill was deposited on the 17 July 2017 with Royal assent being granted on 11 February 2021.  You can read more in the HS2 Phase 2a: High Speed Rail (West Midlands to Crewe) Act 2021

For Phase 2b western leg Crewe to Manchester the hybrid Bill was deposited on the 24 January 2022. Timetable for Royal Assent is still to be confirmed

Contact HS2

You can contact HS2 Ltd directly:

Email: HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk
Phone: 08081 434 434