The secretary of state for transport in the UK Rt Hon Lord Andrew Adonis addressed the House of Lords in March on high speed rail between London and the major cities of the Midlands, the North and Scotland.

Adonis said, “This Y-shaped network of about 335 miles (539km) in total, with branches north of Birmingham running either side of the Pennines, would be capable of carrying trains at up to 250mph (402km/h) and could be extended to other cities and to Scotland.”

The transport secretary argued that the project was financially viable: “With the project yielding more than £2 (USD 2.96) of benefit for every £1 (USD 1.48) of cost, HS2 Ltd (High Speed2) estimate the capital cost of the first 120 miles (193km)of the line from London to the West Midlands at between GBP 15.8 and 17.4bn (USD 23.4 to 25.7bn). This is broadly similar to the cost of Crossrail.” He added, “The cost per mile beyond Birmingham is then estimated to halve.”

Adonis said Heathrow must be linked to the line: “It is important that Heathrow is connected to any high speed line. A prime purpose of the proposed Crossrail Interchange is to provide such a connection, via an 11 minute direct service to Heathrow.”