Britain to approve high-speed rail project

Jan. 7, 2012 at 1:18 PM

LONDON, Jan. 7 (UPI) -- A study of a high-speed rail option in Britain has paved the way for government approval of the $49.3 billion project.

The project, set to begin with a 100-mile stretch between London and Birmingham, is the "most effective intervention" to solve the region's transportation congestion, a Network Rail study concluded.

Network Rail made the recommendation despite civic and environmental groups' opposition to the project, which would have passenger trains running 250 mph through the scenic hills known as the Chilterns, The Daily Telegraph reported Saturday.

Transport Secretary Justine Greening is expected to announce next week the project has a green light, the newspaper said.

The first London-to-Birmingham stretch is expected to cost $26.2 billion, while extensions planned for later -- to Manchester and Yorkshire -- are projected to cost $23.7 billion.

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