Journey times between London and Leeds will be slashed by an hour half after the Government confirmed Yorkshire will be included in a high-speed rail link.

Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, publishing his report into high speed rail, said the £30bn line would run from London to Birmingham before splitting into a Y-shaped network with routes running north on the West Coast and East Coast.

It will mean times between Leeds and Euston will be reduced from two hours 20 minutes to one hour 20 minutes with the introduction of 250mph trains. The announcement is being seen as good news for the region as it had been anticipated it would only include the initial high-speed line from London to Birmingham, with no details of extensions further north until a later date.

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Yorkshire Forward, said: “Lord Adonis’s announcement is very important for Yorkshire and Humber because it is vital to both the economy and profile of our region that we have effective links with London and excellent connectivity in and out of the region.

“Yorkshire Forward has lobbied for a high speed rail network from the very start, and I am delighted we have helped secure the announcement of these plans for this infrastructure.

“A high-speed rail network will provide the region with another valuable asset in terms of encouraging investment, and follows hot on the heels of recent announcements that will see Yorkshire and Humber play a major role in the world-wide development of clean and renewable energies.”

Lord Adonis said the new network would provide a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to overcome connectivity limitations of the Victorian rail network.

Yorkshire Minister Rosie Winterton said: “I am pleased the Government has announced that work is to begin on planning for a high speed rail link, which will stop at Sheffield and Leeds and therefore have huge benefits for the Yorkshire and Humber region.

“This is a long-term project and Lord Adonis has asked me to help co-ordinate the Yorkshire and Humber response to the consultation, which I hope will receive support from across the region to maximise the benefits to our regional economy.”

The document suggests extensions could be made further north in the future. The public will be consulted on the proposed route, with work unlikely to start until 2017. The London-Birmingham route would open by 2026 with the legs to Manchester and Leeds opening over the succeeding years.