2 Apr 2011

Reply to consultation questionnaire chapter 3

Do you agree with the Government’s proposals for the phased roll-out of a national high speed rail network, and for links to Heathrow Airport and the High Speed 1 line to the Channel Tunnel?

Yes but the nature of the scheme means that it is not a phased roll out. Upwards of £20 billion will have been spent before a single revenue-earning train runs on the high speed route. This is one of the objections.

Incremental improvements to existing routes generate a return as soon as they are complete.

It will also be necessary to introduce a fleet of special high-speed trains built to the UK loading gauge, to run over both the new and the classic railway. Being non-standard, these will be inordinately expensive. Estimates suggest these could be 50% more expensive than off-the-shelf high speed trains.

A phased investment would consist of a rolling programme for the reinstatement of capacity lost in the 1960s through the Beeching closures. These would include main lines such as the Great Central, the proposed route for HS2, together with other local routes in areas throughout the country that were rural and sparsely populated when the lines were shut, but have now been developed.

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