The Bow Group: High Speed Rail Review and Recommendations (Jan. 2010)

Link to Bow Group PDF file

FOREWORD by Lord Heseltine:
"The development of a nationwide high speed rail network, linking our great cities, represents the most ambitious and demanding engineering challenge of our time. It has the potential, if done correctly, to regenerate those regions which have fallen behind and open up access to parts of our country and our main airports which have previously endured poor rail access.

"... The route chosen for High Speed 2 (HS2), between London, Birmingham and onwards must not be just left to the rail industry, though their expertise and opinion is important. Many other considerations must be taken into account such as how best can we move people from air to rail, how best can HS2 help regenerate the great cities of Birmingham, Liverpool, Leeds, Manchester and on into Scotland, how can it deliver a genuine integrated transport strategy and how can it help us meet our binding environmental targets on carbon emissions?

This requires vision and conviction from today's decision takers and policymakers. This document, 'The Right Track – Delivering the Conservatives' Vision for High Speed Rail' is an exhaustive account of the history of high speed rail, the various options on the table toda,y and the leadership which has been shown in other European countries in the joined up implementation of high speed rail, particularly with aviation.

This study provides a positive framework for a future Conservative Government to secure the benefits of high speed rail for the nation, if it takes the right decisions for the right reasons."

"The Government plans to report on its HSR plans in the spring [2010]. The Bow Group, through its research for The Right Track, strongly recommends that it supports a direct HSR link to Britain's only national hub airport and thus allows it to become a truly national airport, bringing to an end its enduring lack of proper and effective public transport connection.

"For Conservative Party policy to be translated into action, we must learn the lesson of the adopted proposals for the Channel Tunnel Rail Link [HS1] where
"a number of interests came together, and a solution presented itself which met a variety of objectives international connectivity together with competitiveness, domestic rail improvement, economic and housing growth, regeneration, environmental protection and improvement."
"There are also direct parallels in that decisions were made, for example, in the case on a London station site purely because it was convenient for British Railways, not its customers, and without any discussion over the environment or development possibilities.

"Today, the continued promotion of Old Oak Common as both a London high speed rail station, and the Heathrow interchange, follows the same argument, of a redundant railway site being available and, in the narrow rail-centric view, suitable, and therefore chosen without any proper consideration of wider issues or benefits."

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