High-speed rail plan unveiled

Network Rail outlines proposed £34bn high-speed railway line linking Scotland and London

Plans for a new £34bn high-speed railway line linking Scotland and London have been outlined by Network Rail.

The line would run from central London via cities including Manchester and Birmingham and would arrive in Glasgow in little over two hours.

The trains, which would travel at 200mph, would also cut the journey time between London and Birmingham to 45 minutes, from the current time of one hour and 22 minutes.

The future of the plan will now depend on the approval of the government. Network Rail have said that the scheme will pay for itself by raising almost £55 billion.

The Transport Secretary, Andrew Adonis, has become the first minister in recent times to invest considerable political capital in high-speed rail.

Speaking earlier, he said: "Virtually every other major developed country in the world has now built high-speed lines. And all those that started building them between their major cities have extended them now to cover large parts of their country," he said.

"There's a general acceptance that if we're going to meet additional transport demand over the next 40 or 50 years, then that can't be by building more motorways or having a lot more short-haul aviation."

Network Rail says the plan is required to cope with the 40 per cent rise in passenger numbers over the past decade and to prevent many existing lines reaching full capacity.