Wednesday, 14 November 2007

High Speed Rail Link

As many of us are aware the first of the Eurostar passenger services to Paris and Brussels are due to roll out of the magnificently refurbished St Pancras International at 11:01 this morning.

An undeniably magnificent achievement.

The new high-speed rail link now means that it is possible to go from the heart of London to the heart of Paris in 2 hrs and fifteen minutes. With, it has to be said, considerably less bother than the flying and in greater comfort, but at greater expense by comparison to flying. Even so it is no so great when one takes in the convenience and lack of the sort of problems with check in and security encountered at airports – more civilised.

So that’s the good part. It is fine for those who can get to StPancras/King’s Cross easily. The High Speed line known optimistically as High Speed 1 cost £5.8bn.

Unfortunately there seem to be no plans for a High Speed Link to the North. So what does someone who lives in Manchester or Edinburgh do? Or those in the west? Given the comparatively steep costs of rail travel within the UK, they do what they are already doing - They fly. So that means it is probably of little practical use to the majority of the country.

So how much real utility will the high-speed line actually be, apart from to Euro MPs and the like?

And would the money have been better used on first building a high speed lines from/to the North and West?


Louis said...

You will find full agreement on that position in Birmingham. As posted on my blog, nice to know that £800 million can be spent on St Pancras when Birmingham New Street has been crying out for that kind of investment for years and has failed to fully receive it.

CFD Ed said...

A bit like spending a fortune on a new herringbone brick path and landscaping the front garden to impress the neighbours. When you your settee has a spring sticking out of it, the carpets are worn down, the washing machine needs replacing and you could do with some new socks…