Five corridors for High-Speed Rail in Britain

12 November, 2007

Greengauge 21 releases a new report “The Next Steps for High-Speed Rail in Britain”. It identifies five corridors with the potential for high-speed rail, and the key actions for government.

Greengauge 21 today released a new report The Next Steps for High Speed Rail in Britain. It identifies five corridors with the potential for high-speed rail, and the key actions for government.

“With the opening of High Speed One on time and budget, and the continuing twin pressures of strong growth and the need to reduce carbon emissions, the time has arrived to start making some decisions on the next steps” said Greengauge 21 Director Jim Steer.

“The recent report from the Department of Transport [1] is mildly encouraging”, he adds. As a response to the Eddington and Stern reports it goes beyond the minimum possible and proposes a programme of interurban corridor studies in which it wants to see shorter journey times and reduced levels of carbon. In the example corridor of London – Birmingham – Manchester, high-speed rail is explicitly mentioned as a candidate solution. This is where Greengauge 21 had earlier this year proposed ‘High Speed Two’.

“That’s welcome, of course”, says Jim Steer, “but we need to think not just about High Speed Two, but about the strategy for a well-defined network of high-speed lines that can start the process of transformation of our national travel behaviours”.

The new Greengauge 21 report calls on government to carry out five actions as the next steps. “This includes working out how high-speed rail would be applied as part of an integrated plan that meets the country’s economic development and environmental needs. Otherwise, the new ‘corridor’ studies will plod down well-trodden policy paths, putting a premium on schemes for highway improvement that can be dusted off from earlier studies. The risk is that they will learn little that’s new”, Jim Steer adds. “High-speed rail is the new game in town, in vogue on the back of the evident success of High Speed One, but we need to get down to some serious planning and do it much better than we have in the recent past.”

[1] Towards a Sustainable Transport System, Department of Transport October 2007. Cm 7226

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