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After Birmingham, the Government's proposed strategy would see the new high speed line running on to Manchester and separately to the East Midlands, Sheffield and Leeds.
There would then be 'connections onto existing tracks' allowing direct high speed train services to be operated to cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Liverpool as soon as the line opens.
Lord Adonis declared: 'The time has come for Britain to plan seriously for high speed rail between our major cities'.
He insisted the Government-could 'accommodate' the £2billion a year needed to get the scheme up and running.
Greenpeace transport campaigner Anna Jones said the line must connect to Heathrow in place of a third runway.
Green groups also expressed concerns about the impact on rural Warwickshire.
An interchange, connecting with Heathrow and the capital's proposed Crossrail, will be built at Old Oak Common, near Wormwood Scrubs prison.
There will be a new station in central Birmingham and a Midlands interchange just outside the city.
But construction would not start until 2017 with trains running from 2025 at the earliest.
The line would cut through the scenic Chilterns and an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Transport Secretary Lord Adonis unveiled the plan for a 'Y-shaped' line which connects London with a new station in Birmingham before branching off to the North West and north to Leeds.
The Government has looked at three optiions for the initial route from London to Birmingham and favours 'option 3' which crosses the Hughenden Valley through the Chiltern Hills - using sections of disused railway from the former Great Central Railway which have lain dormant since the 'Beeching' axe of the 1960s.
The Government says the route, which follows the A413 corridor, 'appears best to meet the Government’s objectives for optimising journey times and cost, and for managing impacts on the local environment and communities in an acceptable way.
A 335-mile rail link to whisk travellers from London to the Midlands and the North at up to 250mph was announced by the Government yesterday - just weeks before the election.