LONDON (Reuters) – The British government will back the development of an east-west high speed rail link between cities in northern England, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday.
The link, dubbed High Speed 3, was among options highlighted in a report on improving rail links across the midlands and north of England published on Sunday by the chairman of Britain’s north-south High Speed 2 (HS2) rail project.
“Improving connectivity and reducing journey times between our great northern cities is a crucial part of our long term economic plan for the north to boost businesses and create more jobs and security,” Cameron said in a statement.
The proposed link could cut the journey time between the cities of Leeds and Manchester to as little as 26 minutes, from an average of 55 minutes now.
An interim report looking at the options, costs and a timetable for the east-west high-speed rail connection will be produced in March next year, the government said.
HS2 Chairman David Higgins said reducing journey times between major cities was a “strategic necessity” for the future of the British economy that applied equally to east-west links as to those between the north and London.
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