Britain's high-speed rail link may be delayed by a decade following a threat of legal action over the project.
Prime Minister David Cameron announced the extentions of the line to Manchester and Leeds yesterday in a move he said would boost Britain's stagnant economy.
But the HS2 line from London via Birmingham is likely to be halted by lawyers on the line.
And it means work on the much promised cut in journey times, easing in overcrowding and boosts to regional business will not even begin until as late as 2022.
A unified coalition of Conservative councils, MPs and environmental groups is threatening the £33bn line with a flood of court cases and judicial reviews expected.
Northern local authorities and backbench MPs affected by the proposed line are uniting with campaigners opposed to its first phase from London to Birmingham, according to reports in The Independent today.
Michael Fabricant, MP for Lichfield and Tory deputy chairman, warned that Chancellor George Osborne, will now “see the strength of public opinion for himself”, with the line due to pass through his Tatton constituency in Cheshire. He added: “Every MP along the route will have people lobbying him. The people of Cheshire, like the people of Staffordshire, don’t hesitate to make their views known – and quite right too.”
The Manchester to London journey would take just one hour and eight minutes. Manchester will also have TWO stations if the plans go ahead.
It means a passenger could potentially travel from Bolton to London in little more than an hour and 45 minutes if the connection at the new station next to Piccadilly is well timed.
Officials say the £32.7 billion project will create at least 100,000 jobs.
The Department for Transport said there would be five stops on the 211-mile Y-shaped extension northwards from Birmingham - scheduled to be completed in 2032, six years after the first phase:
- Manchester - alongside the existing Piccadilly station;
- Manchester Airport - interchange by the M56 between Warburton Green and Davenport Green
- in the East Midlands - at Toton, between Nottingham and Derby and one mile from the M1
- Sheffield - at Meadowhall shopping centre
- Leeds - at New Lane in the South bank area connected to the main station by walkway.
There will also be a "dedicated link" alongside the high-speed line at Crewe to link up with standard trains - reducing journey times to Liverpool and Glasgow. A proposed spur to Heathrow has been put on hold pending the results of Sir Howard Davies' review of future airport capacity.