In possibly the biggest leap in Britainâ€™s rail network since the 19th century, a new high-speed railway linking London with Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds now has the green light to get going. At least, the first part has been approved, meaning London and Birmingham will be the first to be linked.
The network, expected to be running by 2026 and completed by 2033, will cut travel-times in half between the largest cities, making it considerably easier to travel from northern England and Scotland down to London.
Trains on the new high speed rail network will run at up to 250 miles per hour, cutting the trip from Birmingham to London to 49 minutes, down from the 84 minutes it takes today. Other popular routes will also be cut in half, and additional tunnels will be built throughout historic and picturesque areas such as Wendover, minimizing disruption to everyday life and environment.
Final decisions for the route north of Birmingham to Leeds and Manchester will be evaluated and drawn up later this year, with a final decision by December of 2014. The second stage will head from the new Old Oak Common interchange in London to Heathrow.
Environmentally, this is said to be a leap for the entire area. The government expects 4.5 million plane commutes and 9 million car commutes to be replaced by train commutes every year, once the rail line is completed. However, construction will not start until 2017 at the very earliest, and the first stage of the route can expect train availability in 2026. Talk about one exciting and progressive leap, even though there will be quite a wait.