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Queen's Speech: Next stage of HS2 high-speed rail line

Powers to build the second phase of the HS2 high-speed rail line have been included in the Queen's Speech.

A Bill to enable the £55.7 billion railway to be extended from Birmingham to Crewe is part of the Government's programme for the next two years.

The HS2 plans would cut the journey from Carlisle to London to two hours and 33 minutes.

It will include the right to compulsorily acquire land needed to construct and operate HS2, the development of planning permission and set out how railway regulations will apply.

Prime Minister Theresa May said the project will help ensure the economy is "equipped with the world-leading infrastructure it needs to benefit from the opportunities of new technology".

Journey times - already shortened by Phase 1 between London and Birmingham when the line opens in 2026 - will be reduced even further by the Phase 2a extension to Crewe in 2027.

Trains between London and Crewe, Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow will be 13 minutes faster once the extension is completed, according to the Government.

Phase 2b, from Crewe to Manchester and from the West Midlands to Leeds, South Yorkshire and the East Midlands, is scheduled to begin operation in 2033.

Most intercity trains will run on the HS2 network, allowing more commuter services on the West Coast line.

Campaigners against HS2 have pledged to continue to oppose the scheme amid concerns about its budget and environmental consequences.