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Pressure group identifies five high speed rail corridors

High-speed rail pressure group Greengauge 21 today released blueprint for high speed rail with five key steps and five high speed corridors.

"The Next Steps for High Speed Rail in Britain" identifies five corridors with high-speed potential, and important action the government needs to take.

The corridors are: London-North-East; London-South Wales; London-North West; Cross-Pennine; and northern England-Scotland.

Greengauge 21 Director Jim Steer said, "With the opening of High Speed One on time and budget, and the continuing twin pressures of strong growth and the need to reduce carbon emissions, the time has arrived to start making some decisions on the next steps.

"The recent report from the Department of Transport is mildly encouraging", he says.

The Government's reponse to the Eddington and Stern reports mentioned the example corridor of London – Birmingham – Manchester, as a high-speed rail candidate. is Greengauge 21 had earlier this year proposed 'High Speed Two' for this corridor.

"That's welcome, of course", says Steer, "but we need to think not just about High Speed Two, but about the strategy for a well-defined network of high-speed lines that can start the process of transformation of our national travel behaviours."

Greengauge 21 now want government to carry out five actions as the next steps to developing a high speed network:

- Develop suitable technical standards for High Speed Rail in Britain

- Identify key sites, especially in city centres that should be protected for high-speed rail developments

- A programme of consultation on the work that has been done to date on high-speed rail

- Assess the options available for public sector funding and financing of high-speed schemes, and the role the private sector should play in their development.

- Develop a policy statement on National Rail Infrastructure

"This includes working out how high-speed rail would be applied as part of an integrated plan that meets the country’s economic development and environmental needs.

"Otherwise, the new 'corridor' studies will plod down well-trodden policy paths, putting a premium on schemes for highway improvement that can be dusted off from earlier studies. The risk is that they will learn little that’s new", Steer says.

"High-speed rail is the new game in town, in vogue on the back of the evident success of High Speed One, but we need to get down to some serious planning and do it much better than we have in the recent past."

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