Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Bring on High Speed Two, not more runways

rail planRegular readers will know I think high-speed rail is a necessity. Today, on there was an interesting statistic in this news article: Cities urge high-speed rail lin

Over 60 years, it is estimated that the line could save 30 million tonnes (29.5m tons) of CO2 worth £3.2bn by diverting passengers from air travel to rail.

Although 60 years can seem a very long time, rail infrastructure is ammortised over long periods. The real saving could be that a proper high-speed rail (HSR) network could avoid building more runways around London. I'm sure BAA thinks differently, but it worked just like that in France where TGV has displaced air travel on routes such as Paris to Nantes, Lyons, and even Marseilles.

Will this happen in the UK? I'm sceptical it will happen quickly, mostly because of the lack of proper planning, decentralised decision making and short-term focus.

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