Good case for High Speed rail line, says parliamentary committee
Plans for a high speed rail link between London and Birmingham were given support from the Transport parliamentary committee, Charlotte Reid reports.
Plans for a high speed rail link between London and Birmingham have been given support from the Transport parliamentary committee, which said there was a good case for a high speed rail network.
The Government say that the £32 billion rail network will improve transport links and could bring big economic benefits to the country.
The committee chair, Louise Ellman, said, “A high speed rail network, beginning with a line between London and the West Midlands, would provide a step change in the capacity, quality, reliability and frequency of rail services between our major cities“.
The first phase of the build will be the line between London Euston and Birmingham. This will come at a cost of £17 billion and is expected to be open in 2026.
This part of the line is set to run through rural parts of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire and Staffordshire.
The second phase of the build splits into a Y-shape beyond Birmingham into the north, running to Manchester and Leeds. The phase will go out to public consultation in 2014 and will be expected to open in 2032 at the earliest.
However, the proposal has faced opposition from people who live nearby to the route who are concerned about the impact on their homes and the surrounding countryside.
The government has attempted to calm any fears by announcing that the rail line will be sheltered by two million freshly planted trees.
There have also been concerns about the economic viability of the project. The Institute of Economic Affairs, a think tank, released a report in July 2011 that said the rail line is “economically flawed” calling it a “political vanity project” that is based on “bogus assumptions“.
The public consultation on the proposals ended in July 2011 and the Government is due to announce its final decision on the high-speed rail line before the end of the year.
Photo: Paul Holloway.
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