High Speed Rail policy

Railfuture has actively campaigned for further UK High-Speed lines (300 km/h) to follow HS1 for many years prior to the Government’s acceptance of high speed rail through the formation of HS2 Ltd.

Rail usage in the UK is expanding fast and the network needs new capacity. Enhancements on existing lines are highly disruptive to current train services and new high speed lines can offer much greater extra capacity for the money invested, with much less disruption.

High-speed rail generates much less pollution than road and air transport. Using rail reduces road congestion and the reallocation of landing slots from short haul air services to long-haul reduces the pressure for airport expansion.

  1. Railfuture supports an expanding network of both classic and high speed railways. These are the best way to meet the demand for longer distance travel both within the UK and to the near European continent.
  2. Railfuture urges the Government to prepare a long-term programme to build a network of high speed rail lines, starting with HS2, so that unit costs of construction can be reduced.
  3. Railfuture urges all local Government authorities to support the a national high speed rail network and to direct their economic development, land use planning, tourism and transport policies towards making the best use of the both existing and new high speed rail networks These measures should increase the growth of existing expanding businesses which will stimulate the development of new products and services to meet future needs and create economic growth.
  4. High speed rail networks should follow the best commercial practice. Stations on high speed lines should be through stations, and not terminal stations, so as to facilitate cross-city connectivity. They should offer efficient cross platform interchange between ‘classic’ trains and high speed trains. Where the existing city centre station poses capacity challenges, a new city centre station should be built to serve both existing and high speed services.
  5. Railfuture is not convinced that speeds greater than 320km/h are necessary for the shorter distances in the UK as this could result in higher pollution and greater energy costs passed on to passengers as higher fares.
  6. Railfuture recommends that out-of-town ‘parkway’ stations, at locations where access other than by car is difficult, should not be built on high speed lines as they not only generate increased car traffic but attract far less rail traffic than city centre stations and very few have proved successful in other countries.
  7. Railfuture recommends that where commercially beneficial, trains running on the high speed routes should be able to access large towns and cities off the high speed route with appropriate connections between the high speed and ‘classic’ lines to facilitate new service opportunities, and to provide valuable diversions when either the classic lines or high speed lines are blocked.
  8. Railfuture calls for the investment in the classic rail network to increase rather than reduce as a result of building high speed lines as a result of growing demand for rail travel.

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