Journey times between London and Manchester could be cut to little more than an hour under ambitious plans to build a new generation of rail routes. Network Rail yesterday announced a feasibility study into the construction of five high-speed rail links from the capital to major cities.
The new lines would be built alongside existing routes out of London in the largest rail investment since the 19th century.They would be next to the West Coast line to Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow; the East Coast line to Edinburgh; the Great Western to Bristol, the Midland main line to Sheffield and the Chiltern route to Birmingham.
London to Manchester would be 74 minutes; London to Sheffield 71 minutes. The moves follow predictions of a 30 per cent rise in passengers in the next decade. Network Rail said: "There is a huge case to be made for an expansion of the rail network."