London to Scotland by train in just two hoursmihost
Network Rail revealed the results of a detailed investigation into the need for new capacity on Britain’s railway network.
It concluded that a new 200mph high-speed line to the Midlands, the North West and Scotland, halving travel time to Scotland to just over two hours, was the best option generating almost £55bn of value with a capital construction cost of £34bn. Iain Coucher, Network Rail’s chief executive said: «High-speed rail can transform Britain. It can promote economic growth, regeneration and social inclusion. It is a low carbon option – cutting domestic flights and taking cars and lorries off the road. It will release capacity on the existing rail network and revolutionise passenger journeys.»
«Demand for rail travel is growing and our main lines from the north to London are nearly full. By 2020 we will be turning away passengers – that’s not what we want. We need to start the planning now to meet future demand and the solution is a new high-speed railway to the Midlands, the North West and Scotland. The line has a sound business case that will pay for itself.»
Network Rail’s study, running to over 1,500 pages of research, modelling and analysis, concluded that in order to meet demand a new high-speed line from central London to central Manchester (in just 1hr 06mins) with a diverging high speed line to the centre of Birmingham (just 46mins) offered the best benefits.
Continuing the high-speed line to Preston (1hr 13mins), with a diverging high-speed line to Warrington (1hr 06mins) and Liverpool (1hr 23mins), and then northwards splitting to go directly to Glasgow (2hrs 16mins) and Edinburgh (2hrs 9mins) offered the best value for money, generating revenue and benefits worth almost £55bn, paying for itself 1.8 times over.
Mr Coucher added: «As well as running Britain’s railway day-to-day, Network Rail also looks at long-term planning to meet customer, passenger and freight demand. Today the railway is thriving, we want that to continue and to meet the economic and environmental needs of tomorrow.»