High Speed Rail Gets the Go-Ahead...in the UK

Despite strong opposition from homeowners and environmentalists, the UK Government has just approved an ambitious investment in high speed rail linking London with Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds.
January 12, 2012, 12pm PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Gwyn Topham reports that approval of the $50 billion project will be the most significant investment in rail in the UK since the Victorian era, drastically improving access between the Europe, London, and northern destinations.

"The network, to be running by 2026 and completed by 2033, will almost halve some journey times between England's biggest cities and make it significantly quicker to travel from the north of England and Scotland to London. [Transport Secretary Justine] Greening promised that by attracting passengers away from roads and air services, "its benefits will be felt far beyond the network".

"The government confirmed that a link would be created in north London to the existing high-speed line to the Channel tunnel, meaning Birmingham could see direct high-speed services to Paris and Brussels in 14 years' time."

Strong opposition has centered around the cost of the project versus other alternatives and the impact of the line on scenic vistas.

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Published on Tuesday, January 10, 2012 in The Guardian
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