David Higgins, Network Rail chief executive, said: “HS2 is a vital infrastructure project of national importance. It will be a hugely significant enhancement to the national rail network and will unlock tremendous capacity to tackle, what will be by 2024, critical overcrowding on the West Coast Main Line.
“The West Coast Main Line is Britain’s busiest and most economically vital rail artery. It will be completely full by 2024 with no more space to accommodate the continued predicted growth in both passenger and freight traffic. A new high-speed line to Birmingham and the North West is essential both to release much needed capacity on the existing line for more freight and commuter services, but also in creating the vital transport links we need to help Britain’s economy thrive.”