The Government has set out its preferred route of the second phase of HS2 high speed rail network - but has delayed its decision on the Sheffield link.
It has announced its preferred route from Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to Leeds but has delayed its decision on the route to Sheffield.
Consultation is planned before the decision is made next year.
When the HS2 project is complete in 2033 the total number of main line commuter and intercity trains per hour each way into and out of Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds will almost double to 48 and the total number of intercity seats will treble to almost 15,000 per hour.
The new HS2 trains will carry over 300,000 people a day and will triple seats available out of Euston at peak hours, freeing up space on the existing network for additional commuter and freight services.
HS2 is expected to create around 25,000 jobs during construction as well as 2,000 apprenticeships.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "Our railways owe much to the Victorian engineers who pioneered them, but we cannot rest on their legacy when we face overcrowding and capacity problems.
"HS2 is an ambitious and exciting project and the government is seizing the opportunity it offers to build a transport network fit for the 21st century; one that works for all and makes clear to the world that Britain remains open for business.
"The full HS2 route will be a game-changer for the country that will slash journey times and perhaps most importantly give rail passengers on the existing network thousands of extra seats every day. They represent the greatest upgrade to our railway in living memory.
"But while it will bring significant benefits, I recognise the difficulties faced by communities along the route. They will be treated with fairness, compassion and respect and, as with Phase One, we intend to introduce further compensation which goes over and above what is required by law."