The government is to look at lengthening a second tunnel on the High Speed 2 project after listening to affected businesses.
Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said a 1km longer tunnel may be needed under East Midlands airport to allow development of a strategic rail freight interchange depot nearby.
Without this change, phase two of the high speed rail line from London to Leeds and Manchester would cut through the site of the depot, threatening a development which has the potential to create 7,000 jobs.
The lengthened tunnel would be 2.9km long.
The Department for Transport will consult on the route for phase two later this year.
The move follows project promoter HS2 Ltd’s decision to construct a 9km tunnel between Old Oak Common and Northolt in west London.
HS2 Ltd concluded in April that building a tunnel would cut 15 months from construction time, cause less traffic disruption and could save money.