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Plan raised to slash rail journey times

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HIGH SPEED rail technology should be able to cut journey times between London and Birmingham to just 45 minutes, a lobby group said this week.

It has drawn up plans which would also see London and Scotland linked by two dedicated high speed rail lines.

One would be via the north east and the other via the north west.

The new not-for-profit lobby group - Greengauge21 - is developing the plans and wants to promote them as a national and economic priority.

The organisation is led by Steer Davies Gleave director and founder Jim Steer, formerly managing director of strategic planning at the Strategic Rail Authority.

Last December the Railway Forum called for an 800km, £40bn high speed rail link to be built between London and Scotland but said that costs must be brought down to make it a realistic option (NCE 12 December 2005).

Greengauge21 plans to investigate how to make high speed rail more economic.

It is also studying spin-off regeneration and economic benefits, planning criteria and technologies.

It will produce a series of papers on the issues over the coming months and a full report in the summer.

INFOPLUS Read the Greengauge21 manifesto at: www. nceplus. co. uk

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