New Year’s Resolutions for Greening

29th December 2011 – As Justine Greening prepares to give the go-ahead to High Speed Rail Two (HS2) in January (despite widespread public opposition), members of Action Groups Against High Speed Two (AGAHST) along with railway expert Chris Stokes, have been giving some thought to what her New Year’s resolutions should be for the UK’s rail network.

AGAHST suggests that the Minister makes the following resolutions as well as abandoning the white elephant that is HS2:

1. Northern Hub – confirm investment in the Northern Hub, (£500m) and Ledburn junction (£243m). Ledburn investment would enable commuter capacity to Milton Keynes and Northampton to be doubled in circa 5 years time relieving overcrowding now. HS2 will not deliver any relief until 2026.

2. Electrification – of the Midland Main Line; Cardiff to Swansea; Reading to Birmingham and Bristol to York

3. Extra rolling stock – in two to three years to relieve existing overcrowding for commuter services in Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Bristol and Paddington

4. Timetable – develop a national interval timetable pattern, with greatly improved connections across the network. Switzerland already has this.

5. Speeds – improve speeds on key regional routes. Liverpool to Manchester line is slower than 100 years ago!

6. Capacity – develop proposals to increase capacity on the really overcrowded routes: Great Eastern; Great Western; South Western and Brighton Main lines. West Coast Main Line is not the priority, as shown by our peak counts

7. Transport strategy – prepare an overall transport strategy and rail / air / road connectivity to include a re-examination of a high speed Heathrow hub development

Commenting on the resolutions, Jerry Marshall, Chairman, AGAHST, says; “While HS2 might looks good from round the cabinet table, our research shows the public don’t see it as a priority and there are a number of much more affordable developments of the rail network which will dramatically improve the services for commuters and leisure travellers. Let’s hope Greening uses the Christmas break productively and realises that HS2 is not the answer to any question, let alone rail capacity and regional economic development.”