The government has today revealed its long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan. Initially responding to the plan, Michelle Craven-Faulkner, partner and rail lead at Shoosmiths, said:
“The eastern leg of HS2 was set to create new gateways to parts of the UK that are currently underserved by fast rail links, while also improving connectivity cross country between some of our major cities. The proposed infrastructure had one of the best economic cases of any part of the new high-speed rail network, supporting 74,000 new jobs and £4bn in gross value added in the East Midlands alone.
“Improving the rail system isn’t just about the economic and social benefits, though. Rail travel has key environmental advantages. While the new plans will go some way to upgrading local transport links, scaling back high-speed rail will limit much needed connectivity and hinder the UK’s journey to net zero.
“Promoting a culture of rail travel is a noble aim. However, until its benefits are fully realised, and greater consideration is given to increasing capacity, reliability and speed, this will remain a dream, not a reality.”