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Rail network could replace flights

A north-south high-speed rail (HSR) network would mean that internal flights in the UK would become largely a thing of the past, according to Transport Secretary Philip Hammond.

He described the HSR route - along with a link to Heathrow airport - as being “at the heart” of the new Government’s transport policy.

Mr Hammond added that funding discussions for a scheme that would “transform our cities and regenerate our regions” would soon begin.

He was speaking at an HSR conference in London arranged to discuss the Government plans for a high-speed route linking London with northern England, the Midlands and Scotland.

“We believe that HSR can encourage a modal shift from long car journeys and short-haul flights to rail,” said Hammond.

“It will make the bulk of domestic flying a thing of the past in due course.”

Mr Hammond confirmed that the Government hoped to start work on a HSR route “during the course of 2015”.

He admitted that this represented a “very testing timetable” but he believed that HSR is “a well-judged capital spending” project.

Readers' comments (3)

  • julian Hartless

    Instead of an extra runway at Heathrow the HSR route to Birmingham international, which has expansion capacity, could give the increase in flight capacity. Travel times into London will be much shorter making this combination the ideal solution for air and rail in UK.

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  • We would all love to let the 'train take the strain' once more, but until train fares can match those of the budget airlines it's not going to happen.

    Glasgow to London return - £50 on Easyjet; £110 on train. Companies are still cutting costs, particularly travel budgets.

    Any high speed train link is likely to carry an additional premium compared to regular train service.

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  • The price is indeed important. Andrew McNaughton, chief engineer of HS2, gave a talk on HS2 at Southampton University a few months ago, which I attended. He suggested that high speed rail may actually be cheaper than existing rail prices: if usage of high speed networks is near capacity, then the ticket prices don't need to be high for the operators to make a significant profit.

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