Passengers will be able to get from London to Manchester in one hour and eight minutes - almost half the current journey time - once the high speed rail link is completed.
Today the government unveiled the proposed route between Birmingham and Leeds - having already drawn up plans for the London to Birmingham section.
However, a proposed spur to Heathrow has been put on hold, pending the results of Sir Howard Davies' review of future airport capacity - which is not due to give a final report until the summer of 2015.
Instead passengers heading to the world's busiest airport will have to change onto the new London east-west Crossrail service for an 11-minute transfer to terminals.
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The terror attack carried out by Khalid Masood at Westminster that left four people dead lasted less than two minutes say police.
Two knives were found at the scene in Islington, North London, and the suspects fled on foot before being arrested.