Britain is aiming to replace short-haul aviation with high-speed rail travel and plans for such a network are well advanced, Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis told the Guardian newspaper.

The paper said in its Wednesday edition that the government plans to publish by the end of the year a route from London to Birmingham, which could be funded with a public-private partnership and which could be extended to Scotland.

There are also plans to run high-speed trains on the existing network, which could reduce journey times from London to Scotland to three and a half hours, the paper added.

For reasons of carbon reduction and wider environmental benefits, it is manifestly in the public interest that we systematically replace short-haul aviation with high-speed rail, Adonis told the paper.

But we would have to have, of course, the high-speed network before we can do it.

He added he would like to see high-speed rail replace both domestic and European flights. Last month the government unveiled plans to spend 1.1 billion pounds ($1.86 billion) to electrify more of its rail network, reducing journey times between London and Swansea, and Liverpool and Manchester. [ID:nLN39560] (Reporting by Laurence Fletcher)