Network Rail proposes new high-speed rail link

Rail operator Network Rail has proposed a new high-speed line linking London and Glasgow.

The proposed 200mph line would go via Manchester, getting passengers to Glasgow in two hours and 16 minutes, Network Rail said.

Further high-speed branches would go to Birmingham, Liverpool and Edinburgh, according to the plans.

The project would cost £34 billion to build, but would generate revenue and benefits worth nearly £55 billion, Network Rail said.

Network Rail chief executive Iain Croucher said that the proposed line had a "sound business case that will pay for itself".

He said: "High-speed rail can transform Britain. It can promote economic growth, regeneration and social inclusion. It will release capacity on the existing rail network and revolutionise passenger journeys."

Any final decision on the proposed line will be made by the Government.

Richard Critchley, policy manager for transport at the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: "A dedicated high-speed line would free up capacity on existing routes, enabling enhancements to commuter and freight services, while making Greater Manchester an even more attractive location in which to invest, visit and study. Today’s announcement will put our city on the map.

"Our primary concern now is to ensure that the Government commits funding to enable this development to happen.  With the current state of government finances, it is unclear how any major infrastructure works will be delivered."

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