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The west coast main line (WCML) is the most important trunk route in the United Kingdom's rail network with some 2,000 train movements per day. It links London and the south-east with England's largest conurbations (Birmingham and Manchester), as well as with Liverpool, north Wales, north-western England, Cumbria and Scotland, covering a distance of 850 km.
The WCML project will modernise the line, renewing and enhancing the infrastructure to provide improved journey times, greater capacity for trains, and better and more resilient performance of track, signaling and other assets.
In London, the upgraded line can connect with the Channel Tunnel rail link (Priority Project 2), enabling the development of further through services between the UK and mainland Europe.
The project will cut passenger and freight journey times between Ireland, Scotland, the north of England and France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. Improved speed and convenience are expected to attract new users on these international routes, helping to shift traffic from the roads. Journey times from London to Manchester and Glasgow will be reduced to 2 hours, and around 4 hours 15 minutes respectively.