Turmoil ahead for the government according to the article in the Daily Telegraph:
The alternative route being proposed will result in as little as ten minutes being saved on London-Birmingham journeys, so of little use. The only significant benefit from either the route being pushed by the government or the proposed alternative will be for passengers to/from Manchester and Leeds.
My concern is that HS2 will add to the gravitational pull of the Great Wen. I acknowledge that extra capacity is needed on some routes, but consideration should be given to promoting other options than HS2, for instance re-opening the old Great Central route from Rugby to London and linking it with the old LNWR lines, re-opening the Bedford- Northampton line, re-opening the Woodhead route to provide a link between Manchester and Sheffield and onwards to either Kings Cross or St Pancras, extending all St Pancras-Sheffield trains to Leeds.
I have argued before that many travellers would be prepared to pay less and take longer to travel, particularly if guaranteed a seat.