LONG PROJECT development timescales are the key to creating high speed rail lines in the UK, a meeting of the Railway Civil Engineers Association heard recently.
Land compensation agreements and environmental considerations can also lead to delays in construction.
These issues were highlighted by Maunsell Rail technical director Ernest Goddard in his presentation 'Trends in high speed rail', delivered to a packed audience at Great George Street.
He said the length of time from concept to operation meant it was difficult to sell the projects to banks providing private finance.
Environmental issues like noise and ecological considerations affect the development of rail more than other forms of transport. Goddard explained, and land compensation issues in the UK are complicated.
In France, Goddard said, the government declares land a public utility and pays the landowner 150% of its value.
Goddard said that more countries were developing high speed lines and that draft guidelines are due in December to outline how European networks can be linked.
But linking these networks could be tricky. In the UK alone there are two electrification systems, numerous signalling and warning systems and problems to solve with axle weights and pantograph head widths.