The second phase of the new High Speed Route 2 (HS2) rail link has been unveiled by the government.

Ministers have outlined the stations that will be on the line which will make travel between London and the north of England much quicker for commuters. Stops will include Manchester, Manchester Airport, Toton in the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.

It follows on from the initial route which will run from the capital to Birmingham, but has faced increased criticism and is currently in the process of fighting a High Court challenge. However, chancellor George Osborne believes that it will significantly benefit the north of England.

The £32 billion plans will be delivered in a number of phases, with contractors earmarking a completion date of around 2032. Those behind the plans have said that it will help to slash travelling time between London and these northern cities by an hour when fully operational.

Trains going along the HS2 will hit speeds of 250mph which will see a Leeds to Birmingham journey take cut 57 minutes down from current two hours, while Birmingham to London will be just 49 minutes instead of one hour and 24 minutes.

Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, said: "It's not just about journey times, it is also about capacity. We are finding the railways are overcrowded. We've seen massive growth in rail passenger numbers, so this is taking HS2 so it serves the north."

The move will see the creation of a number of new stations in all the aforementioned northern cities. In Manchester, a facility will be built alongside the current Piccadilly station while Leeds will see the construction of a station near to the current main structure, with the two linked by a walkway.

There are currently regular services from Yorkshire and Lancashire with Virgin Trains operating the Manchester Piccadilly to London Euston line while both the Richard Branson-owned company and East Coast run services between Leeds and London King's Cross. Once the HS2 service is brought in it will mean a significantly improved and quicker service to the south-east.

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