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Alison Munro, the chief executive of High Speed Two Ltd said: "This is a project that the country needs. The existing railway is becoming increasingly full and by the middle of the next decade parts of it will be effectively full.
"So we need to start now to plan to have that capacity in place."
Campaigners seeking to stop the Government's HS2 high-speed rail scheme took their fight to the High Court this morning.
The government gave the go-ahead for the new line earlier this year in the hope that it will cut journey times from the capital to Birmingham to 45 minutes.
The route currently takes nearly an hour and a half. The high-speed rail link will reduce that journey to 49 minutes and should be up and running by 2026.
The route will cross an area of natural beauty, so long tunnels will be used to reduce noise levels and the impact on people living nearby.
Phase two could see the route extended to Manchester and Leeds by 2032.
Groups seeking to stop the Government's HS2 high-speed rail scheme are taking their fight to the High Court today.
The first of a series of legal challenges to the £34 billion project will begin this morning and will go on for several days.
If the judicial reviews are successful, the Government might have to run its HS2 consultation process again, potentially delaying the project by up to two years.
A decision on the reviews may not come for several weeks.
The first phase of HS2 would see a new, high-speed railway line running through Tory heartlands from London to Birmingham.
The scheme has polarised opinion, with many residents' groups and some councils bitterly opposing it, but supporters point out the benefits a reduction in journey times.
The Government's decision to press ahead with the £34 billion HS2 rail project is being challenged by campaigners in the High Court. Five cases will be heard together over a seven-day period. The 140-mile line would run through the Chiltern Hills to the north-west of London.
Campaigners against the project claim the value of between 40,000 and 170,000 homes could be hit by the proposed new rail line, yet ministers are proposing to compensate fewer than 2,000 owners.
Two cases are being brought by HS2 Action Alliance, with others from 51m – an alliance of councils – the Heathrow Hub group and Aylesbury Golf Club.
If the legal challenges are successful, the Government may have to run its consultation process again, potentially delaying the project by up to two years.