Posted 11th March 2010 | 1 Comment

High Speed report to be published today

Birmingham International is set to be the site of a High Speed hub

Birmingham International is set to be the site of a High Speed hub

THE Government is preparing to publish its White Paper on further High Speed lines today. It's expected that a route between London and Birmingham will be at the heart of the proposals, but other major cities are waiting to see what the plans will mean for them.

Even the Birmingham route cannot be taken for granted: there is growing opposition in the Chilterns, where anti-rail protestors are rallying to defend the areas of outstanding natural beauty which they fear will be placed at risk by the construction of a brand new railway.

Birmingham itself may well gain not one but two High Speed stations: one would serve the city centre but the other would provide a key interchange at Birmingham International, allowing easy access to Birmingham Airport as well as the National Exhibition Centre.

There is speculation, too, about the possible inclusion of Heathrow Airport, but transport secretary Andrew Adonis hinted strongly in a recent interview with Railnews that a dedicated spur, or even diverting the main route, is unlikely to have found favour with the planners. Instead, a major High Speed interchange just west of Paddington at Old Oak Common, which would also include Crossrail as well as the Great Western Main Line, is more likely.

It is further north, beyond Birmingham, where the real debate will take place. The ultimate aim will be to connect London and the major Scottish cities, while both Leeds and the north east of England have been lobbying hard to be included on the future network. The first step beyond Birmingham, however, is almost certain to be Manchester. Indeed, it has been announced that transport minister Sadiq Khan will be giving interviews at Manchester Piccadilly later today, where he is expected to set out the implications of a High Speed route for the north west.

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Joel Kosminsky, London, Britain

    The key factors are - (1) bring High-Speed domestic rail to as many localities consistent with a reliable service, (2) Build it as quickly as possible and not destroy vast swathes of the countryside, (3) Run frequent services at affordable fares without complicated booking arrangements. Do that and we have got it right. Don't do that and get used to everyone else laughing at us.