Survey Finds Support for High Speed 2 Rail Network Lacking

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25th February 2014 13:18 - Engineering

According to a poll commissioned by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), the vast majority (74%) of respondents said they would ‘never’ or ‘rarely’ use High Speed 2 (HS2), and three fifths (58%) said the money would be better spent on improving the existing network – almost double the figure of those who oppose the project outright.

Among respondents, two thirds (68%) said they believed the UK’s rail network was worse than in other Western European countries. But the IMechE said that failing to build HS2 would lead to a continued worsening of the existing network compared to other countries.

Dr Colin Brown, Director of Engineering at IMechE, said:

“This isn’t some sort of white elephant… This will help capacity on the other parts of the network because it takes a lot of the [existing] high-speed passenger activity out... If we do not have a sequence of projects our infrastructure will stay stuck in the 1960s. If you go to China, they have an intrinsic belief that good infrastructure leads to good business.”

The government has claimed that taking intercity trains off the existing network onto the high-speed link between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds would increase Britain’s rail capacity by 143 per cent in volume terms. However, there are others who have claimed that estimates for future passenger growth have been exaggerated and that small projects would be more cost effective.

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