The 250mph rail link would possibly be extended to northern England and Scotland in future.
His announcement started a public consultation process and work on the project itself is unlikely to start before 2017.
According to Lord Adonis, Euston would be the preferred location for the London terminus of the envisaged high-speed line. In Birmingham city centre the station will be located in Curzon Street. There will also be interchange stations with Crossrail near Birmingham Airport and west of Paddington.
The maximum speed of the train would be 250 miles per hour, allowing passengers to commute between London and Birmingham in 49 minutes – compared to the current time of around an hour and a half.
There will also be a reduction in the travel time between Birmingham and Leeds from two hours to only 57 minute. The time it takes to travel from Manchester to London will be reduced from the current 2 hours and 8 minutes to only 1 hour and 8 minutes.
By connecting to existing lines, passengers will be able to cut the time it takes to travel between Edinburgh, Glasgow and London to only 3- and a half hours.
According to government estimates, the high-speed rail link would eventually result in the elimination of 4.5 million plane journeys and nine million road journeys every year.
At current prices, the cost of the project will amount to £32.7bn, but the government justified this by saying that the rail link would deliver benefits in the region of £46bn.
The company tasked to undertake this mammoth development is HS2 Limited. It is expected that the section between London and Birmingham will come into operation by 2026.
Since the 2010 announcement the consultation process has resulted in nearly 55,000 responses – showing clearly that the project has become rather controversial. Both those in favour of the rail link and those against it hold very strong views about the issue.
Some, such as Keith Brown from the Scottish government, feels the benefits are clear and that the line should be extended to Scotland much sooner than the planned 2033.
He said: “The high-speed rail line will undoubtedly bring benefits to the areas it serves. But if it does not extend beyond the current plans of just a third of the way up the British mainland, those benefits will focus on London.”
The Campaign for Better Transport’s Stephen Joseph added that they were pleased to see the government expanding the rail network, rather than aviation and roads.
Others do not agree. Joe Rukin, a campaigner for Stop HS2, said: “There is no business case, no environmental case and there is no money to pay for it.”
The Chairman of Action Groups Against High Speed Two (AGAHST), Jerry
Marshall warns of ‘untold environmental damage’ and doubts whether the line would ever pay for itself. He added that if the government looked objectively at HS2 it would realise it was a ‘disaster waiting to happen’.