The controversial project has been criticised not only for the expense but also for the noise that will affect households and plans to demolish houses that are currently located on the planned route.

The trains will cover the route from London to Birmingham in just 49 minutes, travelling at speeds of up to 225 mph – faster even than the famous Japanese ‘bullet trains’. However, communters will have to wait until the first phase is completed in 2026 before reaping the benefits of high speed travel.

The new rail links are projected to generate £44 billion to the economy over the course of 60 years. Following the completion of the first phase the project will continue with branches reaching out to Leeds and Manchester.

The project was originally proposed by Labour and has been continually supported by the coalition Government, the business community and rail officials. The issue of overcrowding for commuters is said to be one of the main reasons for the new trains.

Opponents to the plan could launch legal battles to delay the project. Richard Black, the BBC’s Environment correspondent said “County wildlife trusts estimate that more than 150 nature sites could be affected, including 10 Sites of Special Scientific Interest”

There have also been protests from Conservative party MPs in the Chilterns area who are concerned that the new route will be disruptive to countryside residents and wildlife.

See the plans for HSR on the Department for Transport website.

Main image: An ICE high speed train operated Deutsche Bahn at St Pancas International station (Getty)