The Bow Group today calls on the Government to focus transport funding on re-establishing closed rail links, in order to increase rail capacity, provide greater links around the country, and regenerate rural communities.
Their new report, Reviving Britain’s Railways, sets out the potential benefits of these less expensive schemes, against major projects such as High Speed 2. Recommendations include evaluation of closed routes, and match-funding when private sector investment could help to revive lines which have been closed for years – reconnecting towns and villages across the country with the rail network.
One such, the Borders Railway, was opened by HM the Queen last week, and is just one example of where existing tracks can be used to bring a boost to an area. This line has been so successful in one week, that ScotRail is already looking at increasing carriage capacity on peak services.
Elizabeth Anderson, the report’s author, said:
“Tracks and tunnels closed in the Dr Beeching era could be vital now in improving transport links across the country – and the social benefits that this can bring by allowing people the freedom and ability to access employment or education in nearby towns, as well as increasing tourism.”
Ben Harris-Quinney, Bow Group Chairman, says
“Now is an ideal time for the government to take positive action that can transform transport, making use of existing infrastructure and therefore cutting capital costs.”
“At a time when the focus is on value for money, government should be looking to fully utilise the country’s existing resources, rather than pouring funds into major schemes such as High Speed 2 which many experts feel will be ineffective.”
“Reviving existing railway lines has the ability to improve lives for people across the whole country, and rather than connecting major cities that already have links, bring effective public transport to areas that have been cut off from the transport grid for decades.”
Peter Smith, Research Secretary,
“Elizabeth Anderson is to be congratulated for adding her voice to the chorus of rail users and economists who are highly sceptical of the need for major projects when the same resources could be put into local initiatives that have a considerably greater impact.”