THE IDEA of using the former Great Central Railway as an alternative to HS2 makes absolutely no sense.

For a start it would involve the same sort of ‘nimby’ objections as HS2.  A few years ago, the line was proposed for reopening as part of a new freight route.

But there were massive objections from people living near the line in places such as Rugby, Leicester and Nottingham.

The Great Central route had one advantage over the rest of Britain’s railways – it was built to a larger structure gauge than other routes, hence its possible attraction now to supermarkets and hauliers wanting to shift more goods from road to rail.

Otherwise, the GC route has considerable disadvantages for passenger services. Continue reading

Fare enough?

CAN YOU hear a whirring sound? Go on, listen a bit harder.

That’s it. Anyone can hear it if they try, because it’s the Government’s spinning wheel, rotating busily to make today’s announcement about a cap on rail fares sound as luscious and family-friendly as possible. Anyone would think there’s an election in 2015.   Continue reading

Lessons of ageing infrastructure from our American cousins

THERE ARE great similarities between America’s North East Corridor –connecting Washington DC, New York and Boston – and Britain’s West Coast Main Line. Both link a series of major cities. Both are struggling to cope with growing demand. Both have to handle express, regional and commuter passenger services plus a variety of freight trains. And both are reliant on ageing infrastructure.

With recent warnings from David Higgins – Network Rail’s chief executive, soon to take over as chairman of HS2 Ltd – that routes such as the WCML cannot continue to rely on Victorian infrastructure, rail operators and engineers in Britain might do well to take note of the enforced railroad chaos north of New York City that has been producing headlines in America since last week.

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