2010 ‘the year of high-speed rail’ in the UK

A government minister has predicted that the year ahead will see high-speed rail projects in the UK gather momentum, as a landmark report on the sector is published.

High Speed Two (HS2), a company set up to advise the UK government on the development of high-speed rail services, has delivered its report today. In an official release, the Department for Transport described the study as “the most detailed examination ever undertaken of how to take forward high-speed rail in Britain”.

Describing 2010 as “the year of high-speed rail in the UK”, transport secretary Andrew Adonis said that scrutiny of the report would begin immediately and decisions on how to take high-speed rail forward would be taken by the end of March.

The HS2 report presents a detailed route plan for the first stage of a north-south high-speed line from London to the West Midlands, together with options for extending high-speed services and lines to areas further north including the North West, North East, Yorkshire and Scotland.

If the government decides to press ahead with the proposals, it will publish a white paper by the end of March 2010 which will set out route proposals, timescales and associated financial, economic and environmental assessments. This would be followed by a public consultation starting in the second half of the year, giving interested parties the opportunity to comment before proposals are finalised.