Page last updated at 21:55 GMT, Sunday, 27 December 2009

High-speed rail plans to be submitted to government

Concept image
The line would be the UK's second high-speed train link

A major new station in the heart of London will be part of plans for a north-south high-speed rail line to be submitted to the government this week.

The first stage of the 250mph new line - from the capital to the West Midlands - could open by 2025.

The station would cater for up to 18 trains and 20,000 passengers an hour.

The proposal is in a report by the High Speed Two (HS2) company which has been set up by ministers to identify a viable route for the new line.

HS2 will put forward options for possible connections to Heathrow Airport and to the Channel Tunnel rail link, known as High Speed One (HS1).

rail plan
Birmingham: 45mins, down from 1h 22mins
Liverpool: 1hr 23mins, down from 2hrs 8mins
Manchester: 1hr 6mins, down from 2hrs 7mins
Edinburgh: 2hrs 9mins, down from 4hrs 23mins
Glasgow: 2hrs 16mins, down from 4hrs 10 mins
Source: Network Rail

The company says it has looked at 35 potential sites for a new station in London, but has plumped for one right in the heart of the capital.

There will be detailed proposals for the route of the line between London and the West Midlands - accurate to within 18 inches - and more general plans for its extension beyond that to Scotland.

A range of costs will be included for construction of the line which could start by 2017.

HS2 chief executive Alison Munro said it was asked to look at linking the line with the cross-London Crossrail project, the Great Western main line and Heathrow.

"The report will set out a case for various options including a possible link with HS1," she said.

"The proposals will include running trains from the HS2 on to the West Coast Main Line.

"This will not be a transport project in isolation. The final report will look at how the line will help housing and regional economic development. There will be significant levels of detail."

If the government decides to go ahead with high-speed rail it will publish a White Paper by next April.

The document would set out details such as route proposals, timescales and associated financial, economic and environmental assessments.

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