HS2 won’t be high speed between Manchester and Birmingham

HS2 will start at Euston rather than Old Oak Common – but between Birmingham and Manchester it will not be high speed, Sky News understands.

The rail line will stop in Manchester, but from Birmingham it will switch to use existing West Coast Mainline track.

It will therefore not be high speed after Birmingham – effectively confirming days of speculation that the northern leg has been scrapped.

There had also been speculation that the line could terminate at Old Oak Common instead of Euston as originally planned, but it is understood the government is sticking with the London station, in what could be a concession to critics.

The development, broken on the Politics Hub with Sophy Ridge programme, follows repeated attempts by Rishi Sunak and other members of the Cabinet to bat away questions regarding the future of the northern leg of the project.

The government has tried to downplay the original reports, saying they are “incorrect” and that no “final decision” has been made regarding the northern leg.

This breaking news story is being updated and more details will be published shortly.

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