Gordon Brown hails high speed rail link plans for Birmingham
Prime Minister Gordon Brown has hailed plans for a new £30 billion high-speed rail (HSR) network as a "most exciting development".
The plans will see trains travelling at up to 250mph and calling at a new station in Birmingham's Eastside, near to the old Curzon Street Station.
The first part of the route - from London Euston to Birmingham - would start in 2017, cost between £15.8 billion and £17.4 billion and would reduce the journey time between the UK’s two biggest cities to between 30 and 50 minutes.
Mr Brown, who travelled from London to Birmingham by train this morning, said: "This is probably the biggest transformation of the railways and of the possibilities for economic regeneration that we have seen in decades, because Birmingham will be the hub of the new international and national network."
He added: "This is the most exciting development in railways, to get high speed rail to reduce the time from Birmingham to London to 50 minutes, to be able to go Leeds to London in an hour and 20 minutes, Manchester to London in an hour and 20 minutes.
"This is a transformation of the possibilities of rail travel, it will mean that more people use the railways and it will mean that the hub of these railways will be right here in the Midlands, the heart of British manufacturing."
Among those welcoming the announcement was Labour's Richard Burden (Birmingham Northfield), who said it was "really good news" for the West Midlands, and Gavin Strang (Edinburgh East), who said it "may well be the most important transport project this century".