Posted 12th May 2010 | 7 Comments

Green light for High Speed rail, says coalition

Continental High Speed rail: Thalys services link Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris

Continental High Speed rail: Thalys services link Amsterdam, Brussels and Paris

THE new coalition government formed by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats has said the establishment of a domestic High Speed rail network in Britain is one of its priorities.

A detailed document has been published setting out the policies agreed berween David Cameron and Nick Clegg, who are now Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister respectively.

Although the transport details have yet to be fleshed out, the government has confirmed that a High Speed rail network will be established, although other rail schemes such as Crossrail have not been mentioned at this stage. But some key aviation decisions have been made. There will be no third runway at Heathrow, and no additional runways at Gatwick or Stansted.

ATOC said it was studying the announcement and would comment soon, but the news of a British High Speed network was immediately welcomed by Alstom, which has built High Speed trains for several other countries, including the iconic French TGVs as well as the Eurostar fleet.

Alstom president in the UK, Stephen Burgin, told Railnews it was a positive step in the right direction. "I certainly welcome this announcement. We hope we will be tendering to build High Speed trains for Britain in not too many years from now."

Reader Comments:

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

  • brian goss, beeston, england

    Regardless what the naysayers think, HS2 is in the Queens speech

  • Rob, Leeds

    Just read the coalition agreement on transport issues. Not doom and gloom, but could be better.

    Surprise, surprise, the Liberal work on rail re-openings isn't mentioned! Pity about that.

  • Philip Wootton, Aylesbury, UK

    Why do we need to spend £39bn to save 40 minutes to Manchester? With wi-fi connections to the office server there is now no 'dead' time, mobile communcation and video conferencing getting better and better what is the value of this time saving? Surely not £39bn with all the disruption and energy consumption involved in building this network. Money invested in upgrading the existing networks and building a fibre optic network for super-fast broadband would surely be a a better use of some of those billions. Most, if not all, of the high speed networks around the world were approved before the widespread use of the internet and mobile phones. Would they still make the same decision? Most of the countries with HS rail are bigger and emptier than ours, except Japan. Not noticed their economy being rated highly in recent years!
    It is the ultimate vanity project.

    Philip, Aylesbury, UK

  • Rob, Leeds, England

    As much as it is a bit doom and gloom, I think that sadly David Spencer will be right and the rail budget will be slashed.

    Will our railways ever get some protected development? We need a long term strategy for the network that grows and develops it - one that is not dependent on who is in power but based on what is best for the country.

    Lets hope that the environmental aspects of the new coalition is the driving force to ensure greater use of public transport and not cut them.

  • David Spencer, Bolton, Lancashire, UK

    The wonderful work of Lord Adonis is set to be undone as the Coalition set to work with its budgets. Crossrail will be cancelled and the HS2 line to Birmingham will be re-engineered (to save money) but in reality cost even more because of the tinkering to push the new line to Heathrow. I worry a great deal. Phillip Hammond is not the man for the Transport job and is likely to turn out to be an axeman. Rail industry beware. ATOC beware and no new trains especially replacing HST 125.

  • Amir, Eastbourne, United Kingdom

    It was always going to go ahead but expect the next upheaval and a new transport act with longer franchises etc... What does a Transport Act guarantee? Another transport Act. Watch this space!

  • Rob, Leeds, England

    What about the ambitious and very pleasing rail re-opening plans laid out in the Lib-Dem manifesto.....

    Fantasy land no doubt!