High Speed rail in the Queen’s speech

The Queen’s speech included a mention of High Speed rail.

“My Government will support investment in new high-speed broadband internet connections, enable the construction of a high-speed railway network and reform the economic regulation of airports to benefit passengers.”

There is more information about the government’s plan here.

The government says:

“Demand for travel between major British conurbations is expected to increase significantly over the next twenty to thirty years. High speed rail appears best placed to provide significant and sustainable additional capacity to meet that demand, whilst also improving journey times.”

There is some doubt about the growth figures, because of the assumptions they are based on.  The growth of high-speed broadband (also mentioned in the Queen’s speech) and telepresence conferencing will reduce the growth in numbers of business travellers.  Will they still be able to justify high speed rail?

They also say

“The Government’s vision is for a truly national high speed rail network as part of it programme of measures for creating a low carbon economy, although it recognises that this would need to be achieved in phases. Such a network would include links to Heathrow and potentially other airports to provide an alternative to short-haul aviation.”

There are no scheduled flights between Heathrow and Birmingham.

Secondly, building the tracks will cause carbon emissions: it to be part of a low carbon economy, the high sped trains have to be a lot more carbon efficient then the alternatives, just to make up for this.

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