UK manifesto from High Speed Rail Group

Image: Shutterstock. aappp.

A comprehensive long-term strategy to develop the UK’s inter-urban rail network. That, says the industry-wide High Speed Rail Group, is essential for future economic growth and achieving net zero. Those claims are backed up by a new report from the group. It urges political parties to look beyond the HS2 high-speed rail project and take a fresh approach to maximise the potential of high-speed rail in the UK.

The High Speed Rail Group brings together expertise in engineering, operations, funding and regulation. The Group has outlined five recommendations for the next Government in its new report, “High Speed Rail: Exploiting the Potential”. If implemented, says HSRG, these would allow the UK to deliver the new capacity and connectivity which the country desperately needs to grow sustainably.

Progress and seize vast benefits

Britain’s high speed rail reputation, and its wider infrastructure capability, has been tarnished by the cancelling of much of the HS2 project. HSRG says plans for new high-speed rail have been drastically scaled back over the years. At the same time, they see competitor economies forging ahead. “European neighbours continue to progress and seize high-speed rail’s vast benefits,” says the Group’s report. “The UK’s network has fallen victim to short-term thinking and political expediency.”

HSRG Exploiting the potential report cover. Image: © HSRG.

To reverse this trend, the High Speed Rail Group urges politicians to learn from recent mistakes. They want a long-term strategy, which includes considering alternative funding models that can access private investment. That, says the Group, could deliver new high speed more quickly and cheaply than previously considered in the UK.

Britain’s biggest rail bottleneck

In the report, the HSRG says prioritising new links in the areas most immediately in need must be central to this new long-term strategy. This is where the benefits would be greatest. “A new link between Birmingham and the North West and Manchester is required to alleviate Britain’s biggest rail bottleneck on the West Coast Main Line and to boost connectivity between the UK’s second and third largest cities”, they say. The problems on the West Coast were in sharp relief last week when a freight derailment brought services to a standstill.

The report outlines the HSRG recommendations for the next Government. “The case for a new East-West connection across the north of England, from Liverpool to Hull via all the major cities of the north, remains overwhelmingly strong. Driving economic growth, which transforms prosperity and productivity across our regions, should be a national priority.” In addition to a comprehensive long-term strategy for both North-South and East-West travel, they turn their attention to the floundering project for a London terminus for HS2. “Develop a funding model which allows the Euston station works to be completed and give immediate go-ahead to the section of HS2 from Old Oak Common to Euston”, says the report.

Explore all funding options

“It is imperative to take a step back and look at the UK’s high-speed network as a whole before assessing where we should go next”, said Dyan Perry, the Chair of the High Speed Rail Group. “If the UK is to achieve its growth and net zero aims, we urgently need to develop a comprehensive strategy for high-speed rail travel whilst thinking creatively to unlock the maximum investment possible. The next Government must take smart, long-term decisions to maximise wider benefits and reach regions calling out for investment.”

The High Speed Rail Group want immediate action to retain the present HS2 landholdings and avoid a costly fire-sale of land on the currently abandoned routes north of Birmingham. They also want the government to engage with the infrastructure investment community to explore all funding options. Furthermore, they want a recommit to work towards a three-hour journey time from London-Glasgow/ Edinburgh, which would play a vital role in strengthening economic and social ties between the nations of the UK.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is UK correspondent for RailTech.com and Railfreight.com

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UK manifesto from High Speed Rail Group | RailTech.com

UK manifesto from High Speed Rail Group

Image: Shutterstock. aappp.

A comprehensive long-term strategy to develop the UK’s inter-urban rail network. That, says the industry-wide High Speed Rail Group, is essential for future economic growth and achieving net zero. Those claims are backed up by a new report from the group. It urges political parties to look beyond the HS2 high-speed rail project and take a fresh approach to maximise the potential of high-speed rail in the UK.

The High Speed Rail Group brings together expertise in engineering, operations, funding and regulation. The Group has outlined five recommendations for the next Government in its new report, “High Speed Rail: Exploiting the Potential”. If implemented, says HSRG, these would allow the UK to deliver the new capacity and connectivity which the country desperately needs to grow sustainably.

Progress and seize vast benefits

Britain’s high speed rail reputation, and its wider infrastructure capability, has been tarnished by the cancelling of much of the HS2 project. HSRG says plans for new high-speed rail have been drastically scaled back over the years. At the same time, they see competitor economies forging ahead. “European neighbours continue to progress and seize high-speed rail’s vast benefits,” says the Group’s report. “The UK’s network has fallen victim to short-term thinking and political expediency.”

HSRG Exploiting the potential report cover. Image: © HSRG.

To reverse this trend, the High Speed Rail Group urges politicians to learn from recent mistakes. They want a long-term strategy, which includes considering alternative funding models that can access private investment. That, says the Group, could deliver new high speed more quickly and cheaply than previously considered in the UK.

Britain’s biggest rail bottleneck

In the report, the HSRG says prioritising new links in the areas most immediately in need must be central to this new long-term strategy. This is where the benefits would be greatest. “A new link between Birmingham and the North West and Manchester is required to alleviate Britain’s biggest rail bottleneck on the West Coast Main Line and to boost connectivity between the UK’s second and third largest cities”, they say. The problems on the West Coast were in sharp relief last week when a freight derailment brought services to a standstill.

The report outlines the HSRG recommendations for the next Government. “The case for a new East-West connection across the north of England, from Liverpool to Hull via all the major cities of the north, remains overwhelmingly strong. Driving economic growth, which transforms prosperity and productivity across our regions, should be a national priority.” In addition to a comprehensive long-term strategy for both North-South and East-West travel, they turn their attention to the floundering project for a London terminus for HS2. “Develop a funding model which allows the Euston station works to be completed and give immediate go-ahead to the section of HS2 from Old Oak Common to Euston”, says the report.

Explore all funding options

“It is imperative to take a step back and look at the UK’s high-speed network as a whole before assessing where we should go next”, said Dyan Perry, the Chair of the High Speed Rail Group. “If the UK is to achieve its growth and net zero aims, we urgently need to develop a comprehensive strategy for high-speed rail travel whilst thinking creatively to unlock the maximum investment possible. The next Government must take smart, long-term decisions to maximise wider benefits and reach regions calling out for investment.”

The High Speed Rail Group want immediate action to retain the present HS2 landholdings and avoid a costly fire-sale of land on the currently abandoned routes north of Birmingham. They also want the government to engage with the infrastructure investment community to explore all funding options. Furthermore, they want a recommit to work towards a three-hour journey time from London-Glasgow/ Edinburgh, which would play a vital role in strengthening economic and social ties between the nations of the UK.

Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is UK correspondent for RailTech.com and Railfreight.com

Add your comment

characters remaining.

Log in through one of the following social media partners to comment.