The transport minister Simon Burns has said that the argument for HS2 is not "simply a question of shaving times off journeys" and that the whole transport system would benefit.
He said it would get "more freight off our roads onto rail" as well as increasing capacity in the wider rail network.
Referring to the opposition against building railways in the Victorian era and against the motorways of the 1950s and 60s, he said: "We now know from experience that this was the only way forward".
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