London to Manchester in 1 hr 8 mins

The high speed rail network will link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Credit: HS2

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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Heathrow HS2 link on hold

Plans to build a branch of the high speed rail link to Heathrow have been put on hold pending a review of future airport capacity.