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European Railroad Discussion > UK High Speed 2 receives Royal Assent

Date: 02/28/17 14:58
UK High Speed 2 receives Royal Assent
Author: prrmpup

The last step in approval of the new High Speed 2 line between London and Birmingham.
Although it passed Parliament with a massive majority, some are unhappy.
Primarily those who live near the line where the train does not stop.


This is the third major railway construction project post 2000.
HS1 between London and the Channel at Folkstone opened in 2007.
Crossrail, the new  72 railway built through and under London due to open in 2019.

Date: 02/28/17 16:15
Re: UK High Speed 2 receives Royal Assent
Author: spflow

I think this project raises questions for us all, to which there is no obvious right answer.

The basic question is: is more travel a good thing? I ask because we have always assumed that it is, and the only issues related to mode of travel. "Trains good, everything else bad!"

However, when in 1959 my eldest brother left home in London to attend University in Manchester we didn't see him for a whole term. He might as well have gone across the Atlantic or to Australia! There were 6 steam trains per day which averaged about 5 hours, and the cheapest fares were well over £100 return in today's money. Now there is a train every 20 mins with a journey time of just over 2 hours. We simply expect to be able to make these journeys quickly and cheaply, and have organised our lives accordingly. While some of this progess is unquestionably a good thing (such as this website), travel is an important reflection of how we live. Sometimes the infrastructure gets really intrusive or expensive, and we also end up destroying the precious differences that make travel worthwhile. I would certainly go back to Mumbai VT railway station but not to Bangalore airport that could be anywhere from Hong Kong to Charlotte SC.

In London we have the example of Crossrail - on the face of it a wonderful public transport project which links west and east London, and is claimed to make it very easy to get from Heathrow airport to the financial districts of the City and Canary Wharf. Airport expansion plans have obviously followed. However, what will be the situation in 30 years time if much face to face business is transacted virtually? Or if the UK leaving the EU leads to most financial business moving to Paris or Frankfurt?

I suspect that the brave new world of a "succesful economy" may lead to many people feeling that it was "better in the old days", and that this has fuelled many political movements on both sides of the pond. The challenge for us all is not to throw the baby out with the bathwater and to keep focussed on what was best from the past while being prepared to grasp the future.

Nick(86235)'s pictures have shown how precious the English South Midlands countryside is. We (ie I) do not want more road construction but the mindless use of travel growth predictions must not be used to supress the real questions of "why?" and "what for?".

We always have a choice over what kind of world we want to live in!

Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 02/28/17 16:22 by spflow.

Date: 03/01/17 10:19
Re: UK High Speed 2 receives Royal Assent
Author: Hartington

It's not that simple.   When our sons were at University we lived in Maidenhead (about 25 miles west of London).   One went to Oxford (another 30 miles north west of Maidenhead and the other to Nottingham, maybe 130 miles fro Maidenhead.   We saw neither of them from one term to the next.   This was the late 1990s early 2000s when train services were much better than in the 1950s/60s.

One son now lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, just shy of 300 miles north of London.   He works from home and once a month goes to "head office" which happens to be next to Kings X station in London.   Just over 3 hours door to door.   He does a lot using phone and video conferencing but still uses the train.   The other one became a fan of the train whilst doing his masters and PhD at Bath where parking simply made owning a car impractical.   For the best part of 4 years he went everywhere by train.   He now lives in Salisbury and needs (and owns) a car for getting to his work but regularly travels in the UK by train, particularly when going to London.   We moved to Somerset about the time he started in Bath and when we went to have lunch with him occasionally we would usually go by train because of the parking.

The cost of getting a driving licence and then buying a car and insuring it has meant we have a generation which HAS to travel by public transport.   I doubt if that situation is going to change much whilst HS2 is being built.

The real question mark is Brexit.   If we make a success of it then HS2, Crossrail and even Crossrail 2 to name but a few  schemes will be needed.   If things go belly up then we could be left with a white elephant.

I wish I had a time machine so I could nip forward. find out, then come back and invest!

Date: 03/02/17 01:57
Re: UK High Speed 2 receives Royal Assent
Author: spflow

Thanks for your comments, and I certainly don't think it is at all simple, rather that the issues are wider than just questions of superiority of of one travel mode over another. Your example of your son living in Newcastle is an excellent one as such an arrangement would have been unthinkable 50 years ago, but is now made possible by improved train services and essential due to property values.

I agree that we don't know what the future holds, and whether we will need more physical communication or less. As for Brexit - who knows?

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