Network Rail has revealed its plans for a high-speed West Coast Main Line which will reduce journey times to London from Manchester and Liverpool considerably.
The proposals are part of Network Rail's £34bn project to transform a number of routes into high-speed lines to allow trains to travel as fast as 200mph.
High-speed lines linking Glasgow and Edinburgh to London are also included within the plans.
Journey times to the North West would fall from over 2 hours to around 1hr 6mins to Manchester and Warrington, 1hr 23mins to Liverpool, and 1hr 13mins to Preston.
Steven Broomhead, North West Development Agency chief executive, said: "The growth of the North West economy relies on fast and reliable connections to London and other UK cities, so this report is a major step forward in realising this aim. It's clear that without major investment, the outlook is for growing congestion on our rail network.
"We particularly welcome Network Rail's prioritisation of a high-speed link to the North West, which would cut journey times to and from the capital to their shortest ever.
"The challenge now will be to build a strong case for Government investment to ensure this project happens."
The new line would become only the UK's second high-speed route, following the Channel Tunnel link.
Network Rail hopes the new high-speed lines are operational by 2025.