City leaders have showed their support for HS2 at Downing Street.
A dozen council chiefs, including some from Scotland, met Prime Minister David Cameron today to pledge their backing for the £50 billion high-speed project.
The leaders posed outside Number 10 with Mr Cameron holding a long banner bearing the words High Speed Rail for High Speed Cities.
Standing with them in the cold, Mr Cameron said: "Everyone benefits from HS2. It's great for the whole country."
After the meeting in Downing Street, which was also attended by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese said: "HS2 will benefit London but will benefit regional cities even more, so it's a win-win situation."
The second phase of HS2 is scheduled to take the line north of Birmingham to north west and north east England by 2032/33.
Sir Richard, who is 62, said: "We need high-speed rail to the north sooner and running further. My ambition is to able to ride on the high-speed line from Manchester in my lifetime."
Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore said: "Mr Cameron supports our view this is all about increasing capacity and bringing economic gain to the country as a whole."
Leeds City Council member James Lewis said: "2032/33 is a long time to wait and we would like to see work on phase two starting as soon as possible.
"We are not planning to build any more motorways so the only way the country is going to thrive is through HS2."