Written evidence from Transport
Futures (HSR 144)|
THE UK ECONOMY,
Speed Rail (HSR) offers a once in a generation opportunity to
transform the economic geography of the UK, supporting sustainable
growth and international competitiveness.
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
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."
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.
will improve transport connections between UK regions and Europe,
reducing peripherality, increasing trading opportunities and boosting
studies, including the government's own HS2 study, have demonstrated
a good business case for high speed rail.
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.
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.
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.
rail services can be enhanced to attract more journeys from car.
A MORE ENVIRONMENTALLY
HSR will provide a more sustainable form of transport for high
volumes of people in terms of carbon emissions and air quality.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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)
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
6.1 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
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
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