High-Speed Rail

So what is high-speed rail? Well, it will be a new high-quality ultra-reliable train service linking the major cities in Britain. New high-speed trains will operate on new tracks at over 300 km/h (200 miles per hour) and above, and will also run onto the existing rail network to serve a wide range of destinations.

High speed rail technology is well-proven and already operates in a number of countries across the world. The first high-speed train was the Shinkansen in Japan, which opened in 1964. France followed with its first TGV line in 1981. Other countries with high speed railways now include Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and South Korea.

The UK’s first high speed railway, High Speed 1, linking London with the Channel Tunnel opened fully in November 2007. High Speed 1 is having a major impact on travel between the UK and continental Europe, with Eurostar services that have cut journey times from London to Paris, Brussels and beyond

The case for high-speed rail is compelling:

  • It can provide considerable additional transport capacity, which forecasts show will be sorely needed in the future
  • High speed rail can deliver a step-change improvement in journey times
  • It is an environmentally-sustainable solution to the country’s transport needs
  • By providing effective links between city regions and international gateways, high speed rail can boost economic development across the country, but particularly in the Midlands, the North and Scotland, and potentially in Wales and the South West too.

A national HSR network could transform accessibility across Britain, as our HSR accessibility slideshow illustrates.

Download our fact sheets to find out more about high-speed rail and the case for its development: