An expert in the geo-engineering of railways has reportedly warned that the Government’s controversial HS2 rail scheme could have major safety issues.

Prof Peter Woodward said the high speeds planned for the railway – 225mph – could cause vibration problems on the track called Rayleigh waves, which could lead to catastrophic track failures and derailments.

The professor’s papers have been lodged with the Government’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

HS2 said any design of the railway would take into account Rayleigh waves.