The UK has come a step closer to getting its first high-speed rail link with the creation of a new company called High Speed 2, which will consider the case for a London–Scotland link.
The announcement came as the UK Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon announced a raft of new transport projects, including the construction of a third runway at London's Heathrow airport.
As well as helping to consider the case for the London–Scotland high-speed line, High Speed 2 will initially be tasked with developing the proposal for a new line between London and the West Midlands, which will also connect to Heathrow and Crossrail via a new international interchange station.
UK Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon said that rail infrastructure had to be improved to cope with the transport demands of the 21st century.
"A new rail line between London and the West Midlands approaching London via a Heathrow International interchange would enable faster journeys to the North and Scotland, and could link the airport with rail destinations throughout the UK," he said.
Hoon also said that a decision on whether to electrify the Great Western and Midland Mainline lines, two of Britain's busiest railway lines, would be made later in the year.
The electrification of the rail line is seen as a popular choice, given the lower carbon emissions and better performance of electric trains.
By Daniel Garrun.