Engineers, MPs and industry commentators have celebrated progress towards High Speed 3.
Prime minister David Cameron this morning said options, costs and timetables would be drawn up for the trans-Pennines route, following a recommendation from HS2 chairman David Higgins.
Richard Threlfall, UK head of infrastructure at accountancy KPMG, said: “Future generations will look back on today and celebrate a vision that made the UK great again.
“HS2 is a critical investment to the rebalancing of our economic wealth. Today’s announcement reconfirms the case for a high speed rail network that connects our major cities, and takes us a step closer to creating a northern powerhouse.”
Nick Baveystock, director-general at the Institution of Civil Engineers, described the report as “much-needed”.
He said: “This report tackles the perception that HS2 is a project being developed in isolation, and re-positions it as an integral part of a wider transport system which carries the potential to spread growth right across the country.
“We welcome the sentiment behind HS3 – enabling northern cities to achieve more through increased connectivity and capacity – and the creation of a joint body to drive this forward.”
Meanwhile Louise Ellman, chair of the cross-party Transport Committee, said: “I welcome today’s announcement. HS2 is important strategic infrastructure but must be linked with improvements in the classic rail network to bring maximum benefit.
“Sir David is also clear that HS2 should be part of a wider national transport strategy, as the Transport Committee has recommended.
“These proposals are a welcome boost to Northern economies and should be followed by investment following discussions with local authorities and businesses.”