HS3 plan would cut journey times

Computer-generated visuals of a high speed train.

Computer-generated visuals of a high speed train.

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Commuters could see their train journey times slashed under new proposals by the boss of the HS2 high-speed rail project.

The plans, known as High Speed 3 (HS3), would improve rail links across cities in the north.

The project would cover an east-west section of northern England and would see a Y-shaped route going to Manchester and Leeds.

Journey times from Manchester to Leeds could be cut from 48 to 26 minutes.

Train journeys from Liverpool to Leeds may also be reduced from one hour 28 minutes to around an hour.

Journey times between Leeds and Birmingham, Leeds and Sheffield, York and Birmingham, and Nottingham to Birmingham could be slashed and many more journeys shortened.

Train services running between Liverpool and Hull will also be upgraded.

A report from HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins said commuting between northern cities was limited and services were slow.

The project has been backed by Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne.

The report has now been submitted to Government and the final decision on the recommendations will be made by ministers.

A new body called Transport for the North is now to be set up.

It will also work on options, costs and a delivery timetable for HS3 with an interim report due in March.