After the publication of an important new report, UK Transport Minister Andrew Adonis has hailed 2010 as the year Britain's plans to run a high-speed rail network will be put firmly on track.
The report, compiled by Government advisory High Speed Two (HS2) puts forward a detailed route plan for the first stage of a north-south high-speed line, from London to the West Midlands and options for extending high-speed services and high speed lines to the North West, the East Midlands, Yorkshire, the North East and Scotland.
Adonis said that this is an important report which will shape the future of high-speed rail in this country.
"Our high-speed network lags behind that of many of our European neighbours and doesn't connect any of our major cities, but this report could change that," Adonis said.
"Scrutiny of the report will begin immediately and we will announce how we plan to take high-speed rail forward by the end of March – making 2010 the year of high-speed rail in the UK."
Pending government approval for high-speed rail, the transport ministry hopes to publish a white paper by March 201, which will set out detailed plans for new high-speed rail lines and services, including route proposals, timescales and associated financial, economic and environmental assessments.
This paper will then be followed by a full public consultation starting in the autumn of 2010.