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HS2 high-speed train: northern UK routes unveiled (VIDEO)

The UK government has unveiled new high-speed rail routes that will cut travel time in half from London to Manchester and Leeds.

London financial district trainEnlarge
A general view across London from the Golden Gallery at St Paul's Cathedral. The new HS2 rail line will connect London with cities in Northern England. (Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

The UK government unveiled new routes today in its $51 billion project to build a high-speed rail network that will connect London to cities in Northern England, the Associated Press reported.

Called High Speed 2, or HS2, the project is the first new railway built north of London in more than 100 years, the AP reported.

The routes announced today will link London to Manchester and Leeds, halving travel time to Manchester to one hour and eight minutes and travel time to Leeds to one hour and 22 minutes. Trains will reach speeds of 225 miles per hour, the AP reported.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said the HS2 project would be "the engine for growth in the North and the Midlands of this country,” the Financial Times reported.

Supporters claim the project will create 100,000 new jobs, according to the AP.

However, opponents fear that the trains will destroy picturesque countryside and suspect the rail line will give more of a boost to the economy in the south than the north, BBC News reported.

Penny Gaines, chairwoman of the Stop HS2 campaign, told BBC News: "HS2 is a London-centric proposal that seems focused on extending the London commuter belt beyond Birmingham, when we need to create an engine for growth in the North, providing access to jobs for people who want to live and work in the North.”

The first section of the line, connecting London to Birmingham, is scheduled to open in 2026, and the entire line is due to be completed in 2033, the Financial Times reported.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/united-kingdom/130128/hs2-high-speed-train-northern-uk-routes-unveiled-