Shaping Tomorrow’s Railways

Greengauge 21 is a not-for-profit organisation, established in 2006 to research and develop the concept of a high-speed rail network as a national economic priority. Greengauge 21 wants to see a national high-speed rail network that is fully integrated with today’s rail system. And we want to see the existing rail network improved and extended to meet the strongly growing demand for sustainability in our national transport networks.

We research and promote the benefits of a better rail network. Rail is the sustainable transport alternative: high speed rail has a strong economic case and its carbon emissions are only one-quarter of those of car and air travel.

Our new report – Beyond HS2  – offers a comprehensive view of what Britain’s railway should look like by the middle of the century. 

We have a continuing research and activity programme, helping to shape tomorrow’s railways across Britain:

  • Extending the benefit of high-speed rail to Scotland, North Wales and across the whole of England;
  • Researching the case for investment in rail in rural areas, and for new lines/line re-openings;
  • Looking at where today’s rail network fails to serve the demand for freight and logistics services;
  • Promoting a network approach, by extending the reach of high speed services and showing how the existing network can best be freed up to improve local and regional services;
  • Investigating alternative links to ports and airports;
  • Studying city region networks, cross city links and the case for electrification.

High speed rail technology is well-proven and operates successfully in many countries across the world. The case for high speed rail in Britain is compelling because it can:

  • provide considerable additional transport capacity, which forecasts show is sorely needed in the future;
  • deliver a step-change improvement in connectivity and journey times;
  • offer an environmentally sustainable solution to the country’s transport needs;
  • boost economic development across the country, particularly in the Midlands, the North and Scotland, and potentially Wales and the South West too by providing effective links between city regions and with major airports.

With Parliament having reached the Committee stage of the High Speed Rail (London-West Midlands) Bill (the first stage of HS2), the prospects for high-speed rail in Britain are very positive indeed.

Greengauge 21 produced Fast Forward: A high speed rail strategy for Britain in 2009, which first set out a strategy for a comprehensive network of high speed routes linking all Britain’s major cities . This full national network of high speed routes, which includes east-west links in the North, can be developed from HS1, the UK Government’s plans for HS2 and the Scottish Government’s plans for a High Speed Rail Link between Edinburgh and Glasgow (download the network: GG21 HSR-Network).

On this website you can read about Greengauge 21, learn about the case for high-speed rail and wider rail investments, and you can download our publications and learn about upcoming events. We have no vested commercial interests in the development of high speed rail or the existing rail network.