Capacity of the existing system can be increased by adding more coaches, reducing the gap between trains, lengthening platforms and double-deck coaches where clearance can be achieved.
Whereas the ICE would just love to see the scale of construction high speed rail would generate, it would not be value for money when set against the more modest expenditure these overdue improvements could achieve.
North-south rail is already well catered for but where the rail system is totally lacking is cross-country and suburban. Where the route exists there are stupid time restrictions, such as having to travel Stansted to Peterborough via London. Where there is a need, such as Peterborough to Northampton, the Beeching vandals cut it.
Look also at the Waverley Line from Edinburgh to the Borders. Forty years after the line closed, politicians have finally decided to reinstate some of it.
Transportation should have a priority national strategy of its own committed to by politicians in the public interest; not an issue manipulated for maximum private gain nor grabbed by party brats eager for publicity.
I've observed the decline over a few years now and doubt whether there exists enduring awareness of the importance transportation has to this country.
- IAN HART (M), email@example.com