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Is high speed what we need?

It is ironic that Britain, where railways were born, now appears to be incapable of moving forward into the next era – the development of a high speed train network.
Tom Harris' comments (NCE last week) show just how far this government is trailing behind the rest of Europe, and several countries in the Far East, with respect to the introduction of high speed trains.

The laws of physics apply to all forms of transport; an increase in energy is required to move any vehicle at a higher speed. Using Mr Harris' assertion, road vehicles and aircraft should therefore reduce their speed in order to lower their carbon footprint.

However, electric trains can operate from renewable energy; road vehicles and aircraft cannot. High speed trains on the London-Paris route have resulted in a 70:30 modal split in favour of rail over air transport with a consequent reduction in carbon emissions. This is a key issue ignored by the rail minister.

The main purpose of high speed trains is to provide more efficient transport between major centres of population, one that is reliable and not subject to congestion.

Mr Harris' comments fly in the face of government policy to construct nuclear power stations in Britain; only electric vehicles will be able to take full advantage of power produced by them. The government's continued procrastination could cost the country dearly.

MI BAXTER (M), 82 Sittingbourne Road. Maidstone

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