‘Years of disruption' without HS2

The UK rail network will face 14 years of weekend route closures if the proposed High Speed Two (HS2) line is not built, according to a new report.

In the latest study commissioned by the government to inform its updated business case for the scheme, the Network Rail and Atkins research suggests undertaking improvement work on the existing lines is not a feasible alternative to HS2.

According to the findings, upgrade work would result in regular track closures across the East Coast, Midland and West Coast mainlines.

The study also forecast that train times between London and Leeds could be doubled to over four and a half hours during upgrade work carried out instead of building the new line.

It is expected that the government will publish its business case for HS2 later this week, as it attempts to quell growing opposition to the scheme.