What’s the Mainline Alternative? – Part 2

Yesterday we asked what’s the Mainline Alternative?

We were intrigued to see that the Campaign for HSR had linked to our article. They said:

“Before the first train had even pulled out of Marylebone, opponents of the proposed HS2 project linking London with the Midlands and the North were already praising the Chilterns line upgrades as proof that all the UK’s train users need are upgrades to the existing train lines.”

This is entirely typical of the Campaign for HSR’s elastic attitude to accuracy.

Our article yesterday was published at about noon – implying there are no Chilterns Mainline trains out of Marylebone in the morning. Of course, that’s not so: the timetable shows 8 trains leaving Marylebone in the morning.

We weren’t surprised to see one of their other comments. They said:

“4. The WCML has already seen extensive upgrades that cost £10bn and caused severe inconvenience and disruption to travellers trying to use the line. Upgrading the line again can only ever be a short-term “make do and mend” solution.”

Actually, we predicted they might say that:

“Sure, they’ve had to shut Marylebone for the last month, but for some reason, proponents of HS2 don’t seem to think HS2 Ltd’s suggested 8 year rebuild of Euston is problematic.”

(Euston is the London terminus of the West Coast Main Line.)

One last thought. One of our commenters said Chilterns Mainline “uses diesel trains which impact far more on the environment than electric ones”.

This is another example of an upgrade to Britais’s railways which would be genuinely beneficial to the environment. There are still lots of lines which can still only use diesel trains. Electrifying these lines will make a huge difference. For instance, on the electrification to Swansea, Wales Online said earlier this year. “Electrification will improve trains’ reliability, reduce their operating costs and help wean Wales off its dependency on oil imports.” Current plans end the electrification in Cardiff.

Like we said yesterday “Maybe the real alternative that would serve the traveling public best is not a high speed, high cost HS2, but low cost options like upgrades to the existing rail network.”

PS Don’t forget the Transport Select Committee session on HSR today – you can watch it live here.

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