A £5BILLION-A-YEAR investment including a high-speed rail link to travel near Pickmere and High Legh will be overseen by a former Network Rail managing director.

HS2 Ltd has appointed Simon Kirby as chief executive for construction after his 10 years at Network Rail, where he saw almost £25billion of investment in Britain's railways.

New HS2 chairman David Higgins said: "As I start my tenure as chairman of this essential project that will free up much needed capacity on our crowded railways, I am extremely pleased that we have secured Simon to run what will be the biggest infrastructure project in Europe, and one of the biggest in the world.

“Delivering this project in a way which is not just cost effective, but also delivers its benefits to as much of the country as soon as possible, is a huge engineering project, but Simon has proven throughout his career that he is capable of taking on such a unique challenge.”