There has been a mixed reaction to the government's HS2 plans from Labour MPs.
Former Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis welcomed the announcement, while Tom Watson MP suggests high speed internet may be more useful.
Capacity the big argument for HS2. But nearly an hour off London-Manchester/Leeds a huge boost too.
I've got this lingering thought about #HS2. Wouldn't better and free wifi negate the need for speed for the majority of commuters?
Clegg says #HS2 will "heal the north south-divide". It's going to take more than a new railway line in 20 years time to do that.
The Chancellor George Osborne has visited a train wheel maker in Trafford Park following the announcement on HS2 rail link.
He visited Lucchini UK, a Manchester-based manufacturers, which makes train wheels and other specialist items for the railway industry.
The chief executive of Manchester Airport owner MAG, Charlie Cornish, has welcomed the news that the HS2 route will stop off at the airport.
"Along with the city centre station, it will provide an additional boost to the economy of the region.”
They say the new rail network will reduce journey times between Nottingham, Toton, Derby and London considerably.
The government's preferred route for the HS2 rail extension passes close to a number of natural beauty spots north of Birmingham including Shugborough Hall and the village of Great Haywood.
Chancellor George Osborne said HS2 will be an "engine for growth" in the North and Midlands, and will create tens of thousands of jobs.
He acknowledged that communities along its route would face a "very difficult" disruption to their lives, but said the economic benefits were "pretty compelling". He told BBC Breakfast:
– Chancellor George Osborne
I think it is the engine for growth in the North and the Midlands of this country. I think it is going to create tens of thousands of jobs in Manchester and across our great cities.
In the end, as a country, you have got to make those long-term choices. If our predecessors hadn't decided to build the railways in the Victorian times or the motorways in the middle part of the 20th century, then we wouldn't have those things today.
The government has projected the following journey times when the HS2 high speed rail network is completed:
- Manchester to Birmingham - 41m (roughly half of current journey time)
- Manchester to London - 1h 8m (roughly half of current journey time)
- Leeds to Birmingham - 57m (down from 1h 58m)
- Leeds to London - 1hr 22m (down from 2h 12m)
The decision to extend the HS2 rail network to Leeds has been welcomed by the City Council, but councillors have called for additional investment in existing facilities.
Council leader Keith Wakefield said the extension offers a "unique opportunity to create a striking new gateway into the city centre" but added that the HS2 hub must link "directly into Leeds station"
He also said there must be "a significant government package of investment in its infrastructure, road and rail links to the rest of the city region area".
Leading British rail analyst Christian Wolmar has warned there may be difficulties ahead in establishing the HS2 network.
Tweeting his response to this morning's announcement, he said:
No surprises in northern #hs2 routes - emphasis on connectivity with rest of network but going into Leeds and M'er city centres will be hard
Mr Wolmar added that the estimated £33 billion cost of the network can "only be a guess" until more details emerge of the proposed work on the new routes.
He also bemoaned the way this morning's announcement was made, tweeting: