High Speed Rail - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from Transport Futures (HSR 144)


—  High Speed Rail (HSR) offers a once in a generation opportunity to transform the economic geography of the UK, supporting sustainable growth and international competitiveness.

—  HSR is essential to the future prosperity and sustainability of the UK; high quality, speedy and effective transport links will bring the opportunity for a more equal distribution of economic activity and wealth between regions. It will strengthen the economy and create jobs.

—  It is a vital element in achieving the government's objective for a "transport system that is an engine for economic growth, but one that is also greener and safer and improves quality of life in our communities."

—  The government should commit to the delivery of a comprehensive UK high speed network which includes Scotland and the North East, thereby maximising the economic and environmental benefits to the whole UK. Both axes of the "Y" shaped network should progress in parallel to ensure equitable distribution of economic benefits.

—  HSR will improve transport connections between UK regions and Europe, reducing peripherality, increasing trading opportunities and boosting tourism.

—  Several studies, including the government's own HS2 study, have demonstrated a good business case for high speed rail.

—  Just the first stage of the high speed network, between London and Birmingham, is forecast by HS2 Ltd to contribute £44 billion in benefits to the UK economy.


—  Increasing demand for rail travel cannot be met by further enhancements to the existing north south lines and the only effective solution will be to build additional lines. High speed lines cost little more than conventional lines, yet bring significantly more benefit in terms of greatly reduced journey times.

—  By increasing capacity on the whole network, opportunities will be created to allow a significant expansion of freight on rail to support industry and improve rail links to ports.

—  Local rail services can be enhanced to attract more journeys from car.


—  Overall, HSR will provide a more sustainable form of transport for high volumes of people in terms of carbon emissions and air quality.

—  Early extension of new HSR lines to the north of England and Scotland will deliver significant additional economic and environmental benefits to the whole of the UK through transfer of passengers from air to rail, with corresponding carbon reduction benefits.

—  HSR can be an integral feature of a "virtual hub" between London and regional airports, reducing the need for costly new airport infrastructure, whilst rebalancing capacity to protect essential air connectivity with London and Europe for peripheral regions not directly connected to the high speed rail network.

1.  What are the main arguments either for or against HSR?

1.1  There are three principal arguments for High Speed Rail (HSR) and why it is essential to the future prosperity and sustainability of the UK. For this to be achieved fully, the Government should commit to the completion of a full network extending beyond the current proposals to include Scotland and the North East.

1.2  Supporting the UK economy, regional growth and prosperity

1.2.1   HSR will strengthen the economy and create jobs. It has a crucial part to play in spreading economic activity and growth across all regions of the UK. At present, the UK economy is dominated by London and the South East and it is important that steps are taken to close the present north south economic divide and enable all regions to benefit from the world status of London. It is generally recognised that the economy is over-reliant on financial and service industries and a reshaping of the national economy to encourage manufacturing industry will require a high standard transport system if the UK is to be able to compete effectively on the world stage. Moreover, tourism is a key industry in the economy of the country and high speed rail will provide stimulation for this sector also, helping to attract European visitors to areas further north, to Scotland and the North East of England.

1.2.2  The positive link between economic growth and transport connectivity has been long established. High quality, speedy and effective transport links will bring the opportunity for a more equal distribution of economic activity and wealth between regions. The proposed Y shaped high speed corridor will spread the economic prosperity of London and the south east to the regions further north with the full benefits being achieved when the network reaches the North East and Scotland. This is an opportunity to close the economic gap and provide a strong basis for international competitiveness across the whole UK.

1.2.3  Just the first stage of the high speed network, between London and Birmingham, is forecast by HS2 Ltd to contribute £44 billion in benefits to the UK economy.

1.3  To meet the need for additional capacity on Britain's rail network, allowing more freight on rail and improved local services

1.3.1  Demand for inter-city rail journeys is currently running at 5% pa. Forecasts indicate that the West Coast Main Line will reach its full capacity in 2024. The East Coast and the Midland Main Line will also reach capacity in the next ten years. As costs increase for road and air travel, rail is likely to become more attractive as a cost effective means of travel. This increasing demand can not be met by further enhancements to the existing north south lines and the only effective solution will be to build an additional line. In addition, capacity problems on parallel inter-regional motorways like M1 and M6 are already evident and the costs and environmental impacts of addressing these through provision of additional highway capacity far exceed those of providing for equivalent volumes on HSR.

1.3.2  Through the provision of new lines to increase the overall capacity of the rail network, opportunities will be created to use released capacity on existing lines. This will allow a significant expansion of freight on rail and for enhancements to local rail services. It will also create opportunities for more cross country journeys.

1.4  A more environmentally friendly means of transport

1.4.1  High speed rail will provide for high volumes of movement with reduced carbon impact per passenger than either road or air. Extending the HSR network to the north of England and Scotland generates much more substantial economic and environmental benefits through more significant transfer of passengers from air to rail, with corresponding carbon reduction benefits.

1.4.2  In addition, through the release of capacity on the classic network, opportunities will be created for higher frequency local services, thus offering a frequency of rail service which will encourage people out of cars for commuting and shorter distance journeys. Greater use of the network for freight will also lead to significantly reduced carbon emissions. Freight on rail produces 70% less carbon dioxide emissions than the equivalent road journey.

1.4.3  Overall, HSR will provide a more sustainable form of transport for high volumes of people in terms of carbon emissions and air quality, with a manageable physical environmental impact considerably less than for equivalent major highway construction.

2.  How does HSR fit with the Government's transport policy objectives?

2.1  HSR is designed to improve inter-urban connectivity. How does that objective compare in importance to other transport policy objectives and spending programmes, including those for the strategic road network?

2.1.1  The government's vision is for a "transport system that is an engine for economic growth, but one that is also greener and safer and improves quality of life in our communities."

2.1.2  High speed rail will provide for efficient connections between the UK's major cities and regions, with lower carbon impact per passenger than alternatives by road or air. This meets the policy objectives set out above, by enhancing wealth generally and rebalancing the economy through significant distribution of growth. Whilst some of these objectives could be met by investing in other transport modes, focusing on the switch to rail-based transport will mean that the underlying transport networks need for this growth will in overall terms (air quality, energy use, land use), be more sustainable when compared with roads. Furthermore, rail, in particular is best suited for travel between, and to access, city-centres.

2.1.3  In addition, by providing additional capacity on the key north south corridor, opportunities to encourage greater use of rail for freight transport will become more achievable and contribute to the objective set out in the EU Transport White paper published in March. This sets out a target for 30% of road freight over 300 km to shift to other modes such as rail or waterborne transport by 2030, and more than 50% by 2050, to combat climate change. The White Paper also sets out a target for the majority of medium-distance passenger transport to go by rail by 2050, which again can only be achieved in the UK if additional capacity is created on the network to allow both longer distance and local rail journeys to increase.

2.1.4  To meet these goals set out in the White Paper will require appropriate infrastructure to be developed, with high speed rail as a fundamental feature of the national and European level TENS-T networks. This will provide for the required passenger growth and encourage transfer from other modes; the capacity released on the traditional network will allow a significant expansion of freight on rail to meet these targets.

2.1.5  Whilst roads will continue to be important for many journeys and new construction may be justified in some particular locations, future investment in roads should largely concentrate on maintaining the existing network. Future capacity for both passengers and freight should be met by higher levels of investment in the rail network, linked to an integrated public transport system at a local level.

2.2  Focusing on rail, what would be the implications of expenditure on HSR on funding for the "classic" network, for example in relation to investment to increase track and rolling stock capacity in and around major cities?

2.2.1  At the moment, two expensive rail projects are under construction in the London area, Crossrail (£15 billion) and Thameslink (£5.5 billion). Funding for these would appear to be independent of general funding for the rail network. Other major rail schemes in the pipeline are electrification projects with new rolling stock on the Great Western Main Line and in Manchester-Liverpool-Preston area of the North West; Manchester Northern Hub, significant further enhancements to the East Coast Main Line and Intercity Express Train Replacement Programme are also being pursued. The Secretary of State has provided reassurances that these schemes will not affect funding for HS2.

2.2.2  Most of these schemes will be substantially complete by the time construction is expected to start on the first phase of HS2 in 2016. At an approximate cost of £17 billion over 10 years, this is little more than for Cross Rail alone, so it can be expected that a future programme of regional schemes could be funded if resources are maintained at the same level as at present. However, the planning for such schemes needs to happen in the short term, to align with spending decisions and new franchises. Assuming commitment for and completion of these current major schemes, the development of a comprehensive HSR network, connecting London and the north of England and Scotland should be the UK government's top rail infrastructure planning and investment priority.

2.2.3  The development of a high speed network present an opportunity to explore how many of the suburban and underground lines in London and the South East could be altered to maximise their connectivity, for example connecting the West London Line to the station at Old Oak Common, and the development of Crossrail 2 to relieve overcrowding at Euston. Consideration should be taken over the coming two investment periods ("control periods") of how funding for "classic" rail can be targeted to maximise the benefits of HSR and mitigate any burdens it may introduce.

2.3  What are the implications for domestic aviation?

2.3.1  HSR is best suited for journeys of up to three hours (about 900 km), for which the train can beat air and car trip time. When traveling less than about 650 km by air, the process of checking in and going through security screening at airports, as well as the journey to the airport, makes the total air journey time longer than by HSR.

2.3.2  In 2009, around 66% of domestic UK mainland passenger journeys by air were between the main cities that will eventually be directly served by the high speed rail network (London, Birmingham, Manchester, East Midlands, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow). With a full HSR network in place, there is the potential for rail journey times to be reduced to be more competitive with air.

2.3.3  In Europe, air travel has been all but eliminated on a number of inter-city routes such as Paris to Lyon. Eurostar now has around 80% of the market between London and Paris and Brussels.

2.3.4  Similar effects are likely to be seen in some areas of the UK domestic air market, where a major shift from air to high speed rail is likely to happen. However, the impact of the first and second phase of the Y network is not likely to reduce domestic air travel by a significant amount. Only when the high speed network reaches Edinburgh and Glasgow is further significant modal shift from rail to air likely to take place.

2.3.5  Nevertheless, the trend away from domestic flights will lead to the release of some take-off and landing slots at major airports like London, Manchester and Edinburgh; this will ease airport congestion and reduce the pressure to provide additional runway capacity. It will also provide opportunities to enhance flights to London and Europe from domestic markets which will benefit less directly from HSR, for example northern parts of Scotland. It is essential that a proportion of released slots at London "hub" airports are protected for domestic flights to/from these more peripheral regions of the UK.

2.3.6  For the more peripheral of areas of the UK, air services and high speed rail services will be complementary rather than competitive to provide the most appropriate connections to UK and European markets; HSR is an important element of a comprehensive package of transport measures, including air and sea to support economic growth and competitiveness.

2.3.7  High speed rail can play a vital part in creating a "virtual hub" airport serving London and the regions, as suggested in the DfT "Developing a Sustainable Framework for UK Aviation: Scoping Document" published in March 2011. For example, with a high speed rail link between Birmingham and central London, Birmingham Airport can become a viable airport for London. Heathrow will be accessible via Old Oak Common and with a link to the West London line, connections to Gatwick would also be enhanced. In a similar way, with a link between HS1 and HS2, Manston Airport in Kent, which has one of the longest runways in Europe and the capacity to accommodate up to six million passengers per annum by 2033, could be developed as a part of a "virtual hub."

3.  Business case

3.1  How robust are the assumptions and methodology - for example, on passenger forecasts, modal shifts, fare levels, scheme costs, economic assumptions (eg about the value of time) and the impact of lost revenue on the "classic" network?

3.1.1  Prior to the report by HS2 Ltd, published in 2010, several independent studies have been undertaken into HSR. W S Atkins undertook a study on behalf of the then Strategic Rail Authority in 2001, which was updated for the government in 2008. In 2009, Network Rail undertook a study into capacity issues and Greengauge 21 also published a study into HSR possibilities. Although the brief for these studies varied, a number of common themes emerged and all studies recommended high speed rail connections between London, Birmingham and points north. All proposals have shown a positive cost: benefit ratio, similar to the conclusions of HS2 Ltd. Further work has been done on the value of time by Greengauge 21 to test the robustness of assumptions made. Taken together, all this work underlines a consistently strong business case for high speed rail.

3.1.2  Furthermore, work by Greengauge 21 for Transport Scotland demonstrated that the business case is considerably enhanced if the network is extended to Scotland. Also, inclusion of additional markets which could be served as a result of high speed trains running through to the existing network would also enhance the business case.

3.1.3  Any loss of revenue on the classic network should be compensated through currently suppressed trips as a result of less frequent or more crowded services and increase in demand as local trips are encouraged to transfer from other modes.

3.2  What would be the pros and cons of resolving capacity issues in other ways, for example by upgrading the West Coast Main Line or building a new conventional line?

3.2.1  There would seem to be little advantage in constructing new conventional lines, given that the cost would not be significantly less than for a high speed route and that the benefits of time reductions, and hence a more attractive service, would not be achieved.

3.2.2  In terms of choice of route, opportunities for further upgrading the key West Coast Main Line (WCML) line are deemed to be limited in engineering terms and in any case would lead to major works and realignments at existing stations. Many intermediate stations would require rebuilding or bypassing and further upgrade would be difficult, expensive and environmentally intrusive. It is also worth noting that none of this could be achieved without very major disruption to existing services, at a significant cost to the economy.

3.2.3  Even if all this could be managed, the end result would be a mixed use railway, without the same potential for increasing freight traffic. In the light of all this, the Network Rail RUS concluded that the only longer-term capacity solution would be to construct a new line between London and West Midlands.

3.2.4  Previous attempts to increase speeds to 140 mph (225 km/h) on existing tracks on both the east and west coast main lines have failed, partly because of track alignment and that trains which travel above 125 mph (201 km/h) are considered to require in-cab signaling for safety reasons.

3.3  What would be the pros and cons of alternative means of managing demand for rail travel, for example by price?

3.3.1  Managing demand could only be achieved by limiting capacity or by raising prices. The only argument in favour of this approach would be to reduce capital investment in the railways by central government. This would lead to hidden costs for the economy and restrict economic activity, further concentrating economic activity in the London area to the detriment of the wider UK economy.

3.3.2  Regulated fares in the UK are already the highest in Europe. Attempting to manage demand through the fare box would not encourage passengers to transfer from car or air; indeed it would be likely to have the counter effect and increase demand for these modes. In addition to raising costs for businesses, it would also be socially regressive, making rail travel the preserve of the better-off.

3.4  What lessons should the Government learn from other major transport projects to ensure that any new high speed lines are built on time and to budget?

3.4.1  HS1 was satisfactorily delivered on time and on-budget and there is no reason to assume that further high speed projects should not be efficiently delivered either. Experience from European High Speed rail line construction would also support a confident approach to this.

3.4.2  Conversely, recent work to enhance the WCML suggests that work on existing busy lines can be a recipe for severe disruption to services and time and cost overruns.

4.  The strategic route

4.1  The proposed route to the West Midlands has stations at Euston, Old Oak Common, Birmingham International and Birmingham Curzon Street. Are these the best possible locations? What criteria should be used to assess the case for more (or fewer) intermediate stations?

4.1.1  The value of high speed rail is in providing good city centre to city centre communication. Spacing of stations should not be so close as to reduce the benefits of higher speeds. From European experience, spacing of around at least 100 miles is desirable. This would tend to rule out intermediate stops on the London to Birmingham route.

4.1.2  It is essential however, that stops are only provided where there is a verifiable demand for longer distance journeys. Any station locations outside city centres should be determined by the need to provide access particular facilities such as airports or to provide a major interchange point serving a wider hinterland.

4.2  Which cities should be served by an eventual high speed network? Is the proposed Y configuration the right choice?

4.2.1  All the HSR studies have considered an eventual network to link London and HS1 with, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, East Midlands, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow to the north. The Y choice provides a basis to include all these points, although Transport Futures believes strongly that a commitment should be given now to include the North East and Scotland directly in the overall network. It is also important to ensure that both axes of the "Y" are committed to and progress in parallel. To do otherwise would lead to a serious imbalance in economic development in the northern regions and it is not considered economically justifiable for one part to proceed before the other.

4.2.2  There is also the potential for significant service improvements to destinations beyond the high-speed network using high-speed trains that can also operate on conventional lines. As the network develops in the medium term, direct services could potentially be introduced using both high speed and conventional lines. This approach of using high speed lines and conventional lines has been an important part of the success of the French TGV network and has been key to the phased expansion of that network over time. With successful operation of this type of service in UK, it is also possible to envisage the eventual development of more high-speed lines (eg to the West and South Wales) later in the century.

4.3  Is the Government correct to build the network in stages, moving from London northwards?

4.3.1  The most pressing capacity issues are in the corridors leading into London, especially on the WCML. The greatest initial capacity benefit therefore will be achieved by constructing the London to Birmingham section first. However, the country will only fully realise the wider economic and environmental benefits of HSR when it extends to Manchester and Leeds and beyond to include the North East and Scotland. This is when the journey time savings and full economic and environmental benefits to the regions and the whole of eth UK generally will be fully achieved.

4.3.2  Current proposals for the Y network will reduce journey times from Birmingham to London by 50%; a roughly 45% cut from Leeds and Manchester, but only 23% from Scotland. Hence Scotland will be disadvantaged and remain relatively more peripheral to London and Europe unless it is included in the high speed network.

4.3.3  Consideration should therefore be given to phasing of extensions further north depending on a combination of capacity issues and potential maximum speeds on existing lines. What is important is that the government should set out a clear commitment to implement a network beyond Manchester and Leeds, to include the North East and Scotland. During these phases, earlier benefits can be achieved by constructing the elements of the new lines according to where greatest speed benefits can be obtained, which might mean construction from the northern end as well as sections in the middle.

4.3.4  HSR offers a once in a generation opportunity to transform the economic geography of the UK to support sustainable growth and international competiveness. However, it is essential that a new HSR network is developed in such a way as to maximise opportunities across the UK from the beginning, to ensure that the whole nation benefits.

4.4  The Government proposes a link to HS1 as part of Phase 1 but a direct link to Heathrow only as part of Phase 2. Are those the right decisions?

4.4.1  If UK regions are to derive full benefit from HSR, it is essential that a link to HS1 Is provided in the first stage. This will avoid disruption in the London area and additional costs which would be incurred if this were to be left until later. Providing through services to Europe from the UK regions will be a key factor in shifting passengers from air to rail and greatly assist business interaction with European markets.

4.4.2  Previous proposals to run Eurostar services northwards via a link built to the WCML did not materialise, partly as a result of such services being limited to international passengers. A way round such restrictions should be found to create a much more viable network of services, offering through services to destinations such as Brussels and Paris and interchange to a wide range of European destinations. International services on the mainland of Europe cater for both domestic and cross-border passengers and restricting services in the UK only to international passengers will lead to less effective services into mainland Europe.

4.4.3    In the first phase, travel to Heathrow can be facilitated relatively easily via a station at Old Oak Common and it seems reasonable that a direct connection to Heathrow should be developed later. At that stage, consideration should be given to providing onward links from Heathrow to points further south and to Gatwick and how a new link to Heathrow can be incorporated into lines to the west in order to link high speed rail opportunities in this direction also.

5.  Economic rebalancing and equity

5.1  What evidence is there that HSR will promote economic regeneration and help bridge the north south economic divide?

5.1.1  The economic benefits of high speed rail are already apparent in other countries where there is clear evidence that it stimulates economic growth away from the capital. In Spain and France, the still expanding TGV networks have brought large scale change to centres such as Zaragoza in Spain and Lyons and Lille in France. In the latter case, a declining post industrial city with high levels of unemployment has been transformed into the France's third financial, commercial and industrial centre. It is these sorts of benefits that we need to see in UK regional cities, especially in areas of current economic disadvantage in the north of England and Scotland.

5.1.2  Within the UK, HS1 has stimulated development in the Ashford area and in the Gravesend/Dartford area centred on the HS1 station at Ebbsfleet.

5.1.3  This experience, both in the UK and abroad, helps to give confidence about the beneficial effects of high speed rail in spreading economic wealth to the areas served by the network.

5.2  To what extent should the shape of the network be influenced by the desirability of supporting local and regional regeneration?

5.2.1  As indicated earlier, facilitating regional regeneration should be one of the key objectives of high speed rail. The network should seek to improve connections to as many key centres in the regions as possible. It has already been noted that levels of economic activity and wealth need to be spread more fairly between regions in the UK and the HSR network will have a major role to play in improving accessibility to the northern regions, North Wales and Scotland.

5.2.2  Over the last thirty years, the economy of London and the south east has prospered at the expense other UK regions; in many areas of the north, there is an over reliance on public sector employment. The world class status of London and its proximity to mainland Europe has meant that other regions have not shared the prosperity of the European economic corridor stretching broadly from London to Milan. In transport terms, regions on the "wrong" side of London are at a significant disadvantage, which can be remedied by linking HS1 to HS2 and other strategic main lines to permit through passenger and freight services to mainland Europe, hence reducing the disadvantage of peripherality.

5.2.3  The current proposals for a Y shaped network would provide good connections to most of the major city centres in the East and West Midlands, North West, Yorkshire and Humber. Nevertheless, the need to link in the North East and Scotland must be included, as well as the potential to provide new freight routes using the classic network. Areas which could benefit from such an approach include Northern Ireland, by improving freight links to key west coast ports such as Holyhead, Liverpool, Heysham and Stranraer. It will also be important to use the associated benefits of HSR for freight to enhance connections to these and other ports for global and European trade, including East Coast ports such as Tees and Hartlepool, Tyne, Hull and Felixstowe, with the overall aim of minimising lorry miles.

5.3  Which locations and socio-economic groups will benefit from HSR?

5.3.1  Potentially, by increasing overall network capacity, most regions of the UK should derive either direct or indirect benefits from a high speed rail network. Clearly, the main direct benefits will accrue to those regions directly serviced, but the benefit can be extended by linking high speed lines with the classic network in a way which maximises possibilities for longer distance services; the release of capacity on the existing network will also benefit more local journeys; for example, a much more frequent commuter service into London will be achievable on both the West Coast mainline from Rugby southwards and on the Chiltern Line for services from Warwickshire and Buckinghamshire into Marylebone. With the completion of later phases, local services on other lines will also benefit, for example, services on the East Coast Main line from Peterborough into Kings Cross.

5.3.2  A Greengauge21 study has advised that the business case for high speed rail is sufficiently robust when based on current fare levels for long-distance rail travel. If these levels are retained in real terms, services will cater for both business and leisure travel and hence be as inclusive as the current rail network. With increased capacity on high speed trains themselves, business travellers' needs for working on the train could be accommodated through premium fares commensurate with facilities offered.

5.4  How should the Government ensure that all major beneficiaries of HSR (including local authorities and business interests) make an appropriate financial contribution and bear risks appropriately? Should the Government seek support from the EU's TEN-T programme?

5.4.1  It is appropriate for the private sector, where it directly benefits from new infrastructure, to contribute to its development. Opportunities will exist for private sector contributions to key stations if they are also linked with new developments in the immediate vicinity and a mechanism should be devised to ensure contributions can be secured from those interests that will particularly benefit from high speed rail and the location of new stations. However lessons should be learnt from the introduction of the Mayoral CIL (Community Infrastructure Levy) in London, where from 2012 schemes across the city will be charged whether or not they directly benefit. This arrangement could impact on the viability of some developments, including that of much needed housing.

5.4.2  Scope should also exist for attracting European funding as the HSR network will form part of the Trans European Network. The latest European Transport White Paper sets out a target to shift the majority of medium haul passenger travel to high speed rail by 2050.

6.  Impact

6.1  What will be the overall impact of HSR on UK carbon emissions? How much modal shift from aviation and roads would be needed for HSR to reduce carbon?

6.1.1  HSR has considerably lower carbon impact per passenger than either car or air travel. As power sources are progressively moved towards renewable resources, the carbon footprint from HSR operations will be reduced further.

6.2  Are environmental costs and benefits (including in relation to noise) correctly accounted for in the business case?

6.2.1  Given the academic challenges in doing this, we believe this to be generally the case.

6.2.2  Environmental benefits associated with high speed rail are mainly linked to carbon reductions and air quality, not only by more efficient propulsion per passenger for HSR itself compared with air or car, but also in the potential to reduce demands for short haul air and car based trips. It could be argued that as the full potential of this has not yet been scoped out, the environmental benefits may have been hitherto underestimated.

6.2.3  The DfT has made great efforts to ensure that the environmental impact in the sensitive landscape area of the Chilterns is minimised, both from the visual perspective and from the noise emitted. . In reality, as demonstrated on HS1 through Kent and indeed in other countries, the impact of a high speed railway, both visually and in terms of noise, can be reduced through careful choice of alignment and mitigating features and is considerably less than that of a three-lane motorway such as the M1 or M40. Motorways are yesterday's solution to dealing with demand for transport and in overall terms, high speed rail will provide for high volume travel demands in a more environmentally friendly way. The careful planning that went into HS1 in Kent in this respect confirms that it is possible to construct a high speed railway without unacceptable environmental consequences.

6.3  What would be the impact on freight services on the "classic" network?

6.3.1  As alluded to earlier, release of capacity on the classic network, in particular on the West Coast Main Line, already the key artery for freight in the UK, will lead to growth in rail freight services. The full potential for this does not seem to have been thoroughly scoped and will require supporting infrastructure and feeder services to be fully effective. Attention will need to be given to the location of freight transfer facilities to maximise the potential benefits of this.

6.4  How much disruption will be there to services on the "classic" network during construction, particularly during the rebuilding of Euston?

6.4.1  Clearly, a project of this magnitude cannot be delivered without some disruption and careful planning will be required to ensure that this is the least possible. In the case of Euston, similar circumstances at St Pancras with the Thameslink services and Midlands Line indicate that this should be manageable. Where possible, disruption could be reduced by diverting some services onto other suburban lines in the London area, for example via Old Oak Common and Cross Rail. Elsewhere, the advantage is that the route will be new-build and the only rail disruption should be the construction of connections back into the existing network.

May 2011

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 8 November 2011