"This is an important report which will shape the future of high-speed rail in this country," says Lord Adonis, secretary of state for transport. "Our high-speed network lags behind that of many of our European neighbours and doesn't connect any of our major cities, but this report could change that. I am excited about the possibilities that high-speed rail has to transform transport in this country for the better, providing environmental benefits, encouraging investment and boosting business and jobs.
"Scrutiny of the report will begin immediately and we will announce how we plan to take high speed rail forward by the end of March - making 2010 the year of high speed rail in the UK."
Britain currently only has one high-speed line, which connects London with the Channel Tunnel. This is used by Eurostar services to Paris and Brussels. A full range of domestic services was launched this month by Southeastern between London St Pancras and towns in Kent.