A new £32bn high speed rail line between London and Birmingham in the UK has been given the go ahead by the Government.
The first phase of the 100-mile link, which could be built by 2026 at a cost of £17bn, was backed by Justine Greening, Transport Secretary, who promised extra tunneling for the first phase in response to environmental concerns.
The government estimates that the project could eventually result in 9 million road journeys and 4.5 million journeys by plane instead being taken by train every year. It is therefore expected to play a significant part of transport’s low-carbon future,
The HS2 link could cut the journey time between London and Birmingham to just 49 minutes when it is completed within the next six years.
Although environmentalists have raised concerns that it might spoil the natural beauty of the Chiltern Hills, as well as being too expensive.
Other opposition groups have claimed that there could be alternative packages of railway improvements that can bring similar benefits without making any sacrifices.
But a Network Rail report commissioned by the Government last week found that two alternative proposals would not be able to provide enough capacity to handle the predicted passenger figures which could result in long delays.
“This independent Network Rail report shows that the main alternatives cited by opponents cannot in fact generate the capacity and connectivity boost that a new high-speed rail line could deliver.”
A second phase of the project that involving a y-shaped section adding connections to Manchester, Leeds and further North, will also be considered and could be completed by 2033.