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High Speed Rail Group publishes five recommendations for the government post HS2 announcements

A comprehensive long-term strategy to develop the UK’s inter urban rail network is essential for future economic growth and achieving net zero, according to a new report from the High Speed Rail Group (HSRG).

Political figures on all sides are urged to look beyond HS2 and take a fresh approach in order to maximise the potential of high speed rail in the UK, which the High Speed Rail Group says is “vast”.

HSRG, which brings together expertise in engineering, operations, funding and regulation, outlines five recommendations for the next government in its new report, ‘High Speed Rail: Exploiting the Potential’.

If implemented, these would potentially allow the UK to deliver the new capacity and connectivity which it desperately needs to grow sustainably.

From cancelling the section of HS2 between Birmingham and the north west, to removing the entire section south of Leeds and to the East Midlands, plans for new high speed rail have been drastically scaled back over the years.

Logistics UK’s Senior Policy Advisor, Ellis Shelton commented: “The network limitations that remain north of Birmingham harm the chances for rail freight growth by restricting important longer-distance freight flows between Scotland/North West England and the country's major ports in South East England, hence harming the potential for export commerce.

"As a result, businesses face increased costs, longer transit times and heightened uncertainty, detracting from the attractiveness of rail freight as a viable option for transporting goods to and from key economic hubs.

"This impediment not only stunts the expansion of the rail freight industry but also undermines the overall competitiveness of the nation's export sector, constraining its ability to capitalise on global market opportunities and maximize economic prosperity."

The report outlines the following recommendations for the next government:

  1. Develop, and stick to, a comprehensive long-term strategy for both north-south and east-west travel, prioritising the link from Birmingham to the north west, and the route across the north of England from Liverpool to Hull.
  2. 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, and avoids any costly delays to the tunnelling work.
  3. Retain the present HS2 landholdings and avoid a costly fire-sale of land until those long-term decisions have been reached.
  4. Engage with the infrastructure investment community to explore all funding options. It does not have to be an ‘all-or-nothing’ approach with some assets, such as rolling stock and stations, lending themselves more easily to private finance than others.
  5. 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.

Published On: 09/05/2024 14:30:00


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