Report says high-speed line could cost just £6bn by avoiding cities.

A new study has suggested that a high-speed link connecting Manchester and Birmingham with London could be built at a cost of just £6bn of public money.

The report, co-authored by a group that includes David Ross, former chairman of National Express, and Sir Andrew Foster, former head of the Audit Commission, suggests that a huge amount of money could be saved by avoiding city centres, and thus avoiding extensive tunneling.

Birmingham and Manchester airports would be linked with Old Oak Common in London, with the rail route not entering the cities. Passengers would then be able to reach Heathrow via Crossrail and the capital would only be a short rail journey away.

High speed rail icons at St Pancras International. Picture:

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