High Speed Rail around the world

This is a guest article by Andrew Bodman.

An update on what’s going on with high speed rail lines around the world:

On 7 December, Poland announced it was shelving plans to build a 480km Y shaped high speed rail line, as they would only be getting enough EU funding to pay for one megaproject, or for vitally needed improvements to their existing lines. Projected costs had already risen by 40%. The government will instead focus on upgrading existing lines.

Doubt has been cast on plans for a high speed rail network in Norway. A former boss of the Norwegian state railway NSB has suggested that funding will not made available to build a high speed network, and that the public are being misled on the subject.

In California, there is growing anxiety about the planned high speed rail system. Projected costs have more than doubled to $98bn and the completion date has slipped by 13 years to 2033. More than half of those polled are now against this high speed line.

3 comments to “High Speed Rail around the world”
  1. Blog Stop HS2 reply to on 19 Dec. 11

    Thank you for this Andrew. Another interesting aspect of opposition to HSR comes from mainland Europe – see the various blogs on this site about Stuttgart and about the Charter of Hendaye. Stop HS2 is now a signatory of the Charter of Hendaye, which unites many of the groups in Europe who are struggling against HSR projects that are either planned or already exist. Stop HS2 joined their recent event in Paris.

    The ‘No Tav’ group in the Susa Valley have been fighting their scheme for 22 years and are currently facing military action – yes, military. We talk about HS2 as a white elephant and their equivalent is ‘a cathedral in the desert’! Then there is the Stuttgart 21 group; and the Basque group; and the Gironde group; and the Middle Rhein group; and lots more. Our government will have you think that everyone in mainland Europe is delighted at their HSR projects but the truth is very different.

    We are currently shortening and translating a video from the Middle Rhein group that is truly frightening. Picture this: High Speed goods trains on a double track, both sides of the river valley, with the trains just YARDS from villages (there is not a lot of flat land along the Rhein Valley!) and the sound bouncing off the water and valley sides. The heavy trains make a fantastic noise well into the night – residents are literally suffering mental breakdowns and it is heartbreaking to read the blogs from people written in the middle of the night with children crying because they can’t sleep, and residents unable to move. The vibrations are also causing chunks to fall off their ‘wattle and daub’ old houses. Far from accepting these problems, DB are now apparently seeking to extend the goods traffic through the night.

    What is being done about this? Something like this: Deutsche Bundesbahn say it is up to the EU to pay; the EU says it is up to national Government to do something; the national governments says it is up to the regional government; and the regional government says it is up to DB (on the principal that ‘the polluter pays’). Or sometimes, like musical chairs, they all might have fun blaming each other in reverse order. Meanwhile, residents are going crazy – literally. There is nothing from the way that DB has behaved in this case study that should give us any belief that DB cares about mitigation; or that the EU legislation will insist that something is done; or that governments sort out this sort of thing before a project is given the go-ahead; or that legislation will protect us etc. It has to be worrying that DB has already taken an interest in HS2 to join their existing ownership of Chiltern Rail. Unless we fight, with our MPs and Councillors, we cannot be sure that we will not join the Middle Rhein in a life of hell.
    P.S. I wouldn’t book a cruise along the Middle Rhein if I were you. Not if it’s peace you want. Not if you want to experience Christmas singing in the beautiful churches.

  2. I trust this information will be passed to The Secretary of State for Transport and others? I would not wish them to be deprived of all the facts that may temper the belief that HS2 is a panacea for all the problems on the rail network.

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