THE final route of the Manchester and Leeds arms of the HS2 high-speed railway will be announced on Monday.

Ministers suggested in November last year that the line should serve the existing Sheffield city centre station, after proposals to run trains to the Meadowhall shopping centre were shelved.

But critics have warned this will mean homes on the new Shimmer housing estate in nearby Mexborough will be bulldozed.

Some residents found out about the HS2 plans just weeks after moving into the development of two and three-storey town houses.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said the Government will ensure communities affected by the railway receive “appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect”.

Rail expert Michael Byng has estimated that HS2 will cost more than £400 million per mile making it the world’s most expensive railway, according to The Sunday Times.

The newspaper reported he calculated the scheme will cost up to £104 billion, almost double the Government estimate of £55.7 billion.

A Department for Transport spokesman (DfT) said: “These claims are incorrect. We have not commissioned any advice from Michael Byng on the cost of HS2.”

He added: “We are keeping a tough grip on costs and the project is on time and on budget at £55.7 billion.”

Major contracts to build the first phase of the railway will be announced on Monday.

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