High Speed Rail Debate

11/01/2012

The Government has given the green light to the investment and build of the High Speed Rail 2 that will see around £34 billion pummeled into HS2 Rail Construction.

However has the government actually listened to the public or are they more interested in keeping up with the rest of Europe rather than review what the UK really needs?

The fact that the UK is in economic crisis does not bode well for the plans, the Government intends to take a rather large chuck of finance from the public money pot.

In recent years we have seen public transport in hot debate with overcrowding of trains, ticket fares trebling and the lack of a consistent train service in many areas.

The UK Government has insisted that the High Speed Rail will make a return of around £12 billion and that thousands of new jobs will be created,

Transport Secretary, Justine Greening announced

‘A key and vital investment in Britain’s future’

The main debate is that the UK is already suffering for Government decisions, unemployment levels are soaring and public spending in crucial areas such as the NHS has been choked. It leaves many wondering, have these changes been put into place to fund a vanity project with no backbone?

If we look at the first attempt for High Speed Rail connections, the line between London and the Cross Channel was widely over anticipated becoming a public burden selling for less than a third of the intended figure and disappointingly, passenger usage was extremely low.

A spokesman for the Institute of Economic Affairs, labeled the development

‘The Government is ploughing ahead with a hugely expensive project whose economic case is severely flawed’

Concerned with the Governments stubborn announcement, the Institute believes the project would, over the years drain the UK theorizing that time saving hypothesis is clouded and lowering environmental impact is unprincipled.

In defense, the Government has hit back at the opposition stating that the purpose of the High Speed network will be to ease road congestion and boost economy through shorter travelling times.

One supporter added;

We are right to plan for the infrastructure which the next generation will need, and the biggest prize will come from phase 2 – the link with the North. This will help spread the benefits of future economic growth across the country’.

In line with business approval the Rail Freight Industry has also voiced its support along with the Freight Transport Association but they did add that efforts for Rail Freight must not be taken away from the Rail Industry to subsidize the move.

The Rail Freight Group commented;

‘These paths are vital to enable more rail freight, particularly containers to move between major UK conurbations. Container traffic has grown by 56% in the past eight years, and customers particularly in the retail sector are pressing the rail freight industry to take more of their goods by rail, for reliability, price and low carbon reasons’

The plans look set to go ‘full steam ahead’ but the full consequences will not be evident until building is underway and the implications on those both opposing and supporting the High Speed Rail 2 can be outlined.