Plans to create a new high-speed rail link across England have moved a step forward after MPs approved funds to prepare the route.

While some Conservative members voted against the High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill it was still able to clear the House of Commons and HS2 is now moving a step closer to coming to fruition. Prime minister David Cameron has already hailed the decision and described the creation of a new rail network as being an "absolutely vital programme" and urged Labour MPs to give their full backing to the project.

The money will be used to pay for surveys, buy property and compensate any residents that have been forced to relocate. In its final reading in the House of Commons the decision was backed by 350 votes against 34 highlighting how much confidence the government has in HS2 actually being a success.

At a public question in Wolverhampton, Mr Cameron said: "I'm absolutely sure it's [HS2] an essential piece of work for the country. It's not just about journey times... it's about capacity. The fact is, the West Coast Main Line is full. Every day there are thousands of people standing on trains who need to be able to sit down and work on trains."

HS2 will form a brand new rail network linking London with the north of England. New stations have been planned for the likes of Birmingham, Leeds, East Midlands and an upgrade of Manchester Piccadilly. It is designed to significantly reduce journey times and reduce the strain on the East Coast Main Line and the West Coast Main Line.

For example an average journey from London to Birmingham would normally take 84 minutes but using HS2 it will take just 49 mins. A trip to Manchester has also been slashed from just over two hours to just over an hour. The first phase of HS2 construction is hoped to begin in 2017 with a completion date earmarked for 2026 while the Leeds and Manchester line could be finished by 2032-33.

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