July 2011: High Speed Rail

My most recent e-consultation question Do you agree that the government should invest in high speed rail between London and the north of England?”saw more than 350 replies of which;

  • 75% were in favour of high speed rail
  • 25% were against high speed rail

Common arguments in favour of high speed rail included:

  • With the UK falling behind the rest of Europe when it comes to rail travel, a faster, more efficient service is long overdue
  • High speed rail to the north of England will reduce travel times between Scotland and the south of England
  • With aviation costs set to rise with the cost of carbon, we should invest in an improved rail infrastructure as an alternative
  • Additional rail services should bring the cost of rail travel down

Common arguments against high speed rail included:

  • With spending cuts and the current state of the economy, investment into new services should not be considered
  • The government should concentrate instead on high speed rail links between Glasgow and Edinburgh
  • More money should be spent to improve existing urban rail services such as additional parking facilities at existing stations
  • The expense of implementing the service would heavily outweigh the benefits to Scotland should the service stop in the north of England

As well as strong overall support for the proposed high speed rail route, there was an overwhelming consensus that the rail links should continue to Glasgow and Edinburgh with a view to introducing a similar scheme to the north of Scotland in years to come. Indeed, some of the “no” voters commented that they were against the current plans stopping in the north of England and would be in favour of high speed rail running all the way between Scotland and London. I have sent your feedback into the government consultation and will look for opportunities in Parliament to put the case to Ministers for extending the project to Scotland.

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