Report backs controversial UK high-speed rail plan

AP News
Posted: Jan 07, 2012 7:09 AM
Report backs controversial UK high-speed rail plan

A report commissioned by the British government has rejected alternatives to a planned high-speed train project _ the clearest sign yet that the 32 billion-pound (US$49 billion) scheme will go ahead.

The Network Rail review says Saturday that alternatives will cause long delays to travelers during the building stages and fail to deal with overcrowding on trains.

The high-speed rail project aims to shorten journey times between London and Birmingham, and later stages include connections to more northern cities.

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Many lawmakers and environmentalists oppose the project, saying the planned route will ruin England's picturesque countryside, and that it is too expensive and will not benefit most Britons.

Officials are expected to announce a decision next week.