Britain announces new high-speed rail link

10:41, March 12, 2010      

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The British government on Thursday announced plans for the development of a high speed rail network linking London to Birmingham.

The network would be capable of carrying trains at up to 250 miles per hour and could be extended to other cities and to Scotland.

Announcing the plans, British Transport Secretary Lord Adonis said the London to Birmingham section of the route will run from a point close to Euston station in London and interchange with the Crossrail network.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who traveled to Birmingham on Thursday, visited the site of the new central Birmingham station where the proposed high speed route would interchange.

Lord Adonis said: "High speed rail is a long term strategic project to equip Britain with the transport infrastructure it needs to flourish in the 21st century. Now, as we emerge from recession, is the right time to be planning."

The government's view is that high speed rail could play a crucial role not only in meeting reasonable future transport capacity requirements, but also in transforming the connectivity between our major cities, regions and economic centers, he said.

Lord Adonis also said the high speed trains would be more sustainable and "emit far less carbon than cars or planes per passenger mile." The new network would also release capacity from the existing West Coast Main Line for commuter and freight services.

The plans will now go out to consultation with construction starting in 2017.

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