2 Apr 2011

Commuter services could gain from HS2

As opposition to the £32 billion project continues, Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, tried to pacify critics with figures showing that it could also trigger 160 extra trains a day into the capital from towns and cities to the north. This is because intercity services will be shifted to the high speed line, freeing up space on the existing track for commuter services.

This is of course true, and the case is made well in the April issue of Modern Railways. But it would be equally true if the new line was not to be built as a high speed railway, for example by simply reinstating the routes from Paddington to Ruislip and, former Great Central and the cross-linking connections north of Aylesbury.

The case for HS2 is the case for extra capacity. But the case for extra capacity does not add up to a case for a high speed railway but for a modern 160 to 200 kph railway, with freight capacity. The case for such a railway extends well beyond London, Birmingham and Manchester. It embraces such corridors as Southampton - Birmingham and Bristol - East Anglia. And such a railway could be created mostly by putting back the lines closed in the 1960s and enhancing and electrifying existing routes.

Read more in Daily Telegraph article here

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