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A 335-mile rail link to whisk travellers from London to the Midlands and the North at up to 250mph was announced by the Government yesterday - just weeks before the election.
But paying for the £30billion plan could involve a tax on all train fares.
'The route would proceed largely in tunnel from the M25 as far as Amersham, and then continue to the west of Wendover and Aylesbury, partly in tunnel and partly following the existing A413 and Chiltern Line corridor.'The next section of the route would employ the largely-preserved track-bed of the former Great Central Railway, and continue north to enter Birmingham close to Water Orton.
'The route would terminate at a new city centre station built at Fazeley Street in Birmingham’s Eastside regeneration area.
Lord Adonis declared: 'The time has come for Britain to plan seriously for high speed rail between our major cities'.
He insisted the Government-could 'accommodate' the £2billion a year needed to get the scheme up and running.
From West Ruislip the route passes over a two-and-a-quarter mile long viaduct to reach the M25.
Just before the motorway it would pass into a six-mile tunnel before surfacing in deep cutting north of Amersham Old Town.
They say much of the environmental price would be paid by people in rural Tory heartlands.
Just before Wendover the route would cross the A413 road and the Chiltern Line Railway on a 600m viaduct, then pass Wendover on the surface before continuing towards Aylesbury on a low, two-and-a-quarter mile viaduct crossing a flood plain.
At this point the route topography becomes hillier, though no major structures would be required until west of Southam and east of Warwick where a two-and-a-half mile viaduct would cross a flood plain.
Work on the first part of the route - from London Euston to Birmingham - would start in 2017 and cost up to £17billion.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown hailed the announcement as 'most exciting'.
Greenpeace transport campaigner Anna Jones said the line must connect to Heathrow in place of a third runway.