Plans for extensions to the new High Speed 2 line due to be unveiled tomorrow will cannon straight into another tunnel of controversy as ministers face a backlash and Labour predicts delays.
The government is announcing the proposed Y-shaped route the contentious multibillion-pound railway line will follow when extended from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds.
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin admitted he was braced for a backlash. He said the government would do "as much as we can to alleviate the damage."
However, he claims, new stations would be "great engines for regeneration."
Mr McLoughlin (pictured) reportedly said: "I'm afraid we will upset some people, but you can't build a brand new line and not have problems. There will be some areas where you are going to have to negotiate."
The 225mph passenger train - expected to cut journey times from London to Manchester to just 80 minutes - is one of the coalition's priority projects.
The government claims the £32.7 billion venture will help kick-start economic growth. It is is expected to be finished in 20 years' time in 2033.
But shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle said: "There are worrying signs that the Department for Transport's timetable to deliver this vital infrastructure is slipping.
"We believe ministers should be working more vigorously to ensure the proposals are delivered on time."
The first phase of the scheme has already provoked yelps of anguish in Tory heartlands in the shires which will be affected, such as the Chilterns, infuriating MPs and countryside campaigners.
Lord Astor, a Conservative peer and stepfather of the Prime Minister's wife Samantha Cameron joined Tory opposition to the network when it was unveiled by then transport secretary Justine Greening.
The High Court is currently considering whether the first phase is legally flawed and needs to be reconsidered. The challenge was taken to court by campaigners.
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