December 2005: Preston to Glasgow upgrade will complete the 125mph route between London and Glasgow.
June 2005: Crewe to Liverpool and Preston upgrade to 125mph completed.
September 2004: London to Manchester upgrade completed.
Virgin's new Pendolino trains set a new 1 hour 54 min record for the journey.
May 2003: 19 week blockade on 77km of track south of Manchester allows massive upgrade progress to be achieved.
Early 2003: Project scope adjusted and cost pegged to £8.5bn.
August 2002: First small scale blockades trialled to fast track work. Cost estimate reaches £13bn for whole scheme.
February 2002: Programme manager Parsons Brinckerhoff replaced by Bechtel. Tom McCarthy brought in to lead the project.
November 2001: plans to upgrade to 140mph abandoned.
October 2001: Railtrack put into administration due to government concern over spiralling rail costs, particularly on the West Coast project.
June 2001: Railtrack chief executive Steve Marshall takes direct control of the West Coast project after departure of Simon Murray.
November 1999: moving block signalling abandoned due to £5.8bn cost.
April 1999: Railtrack director Simon Murray takes charge of the project.
1999: US giant Parsons Brinckerhoff replaces Brown & Root.