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HSR in the UK

By Matthew Yglesias  

"HSR in the UK"

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For all that high-speed rail opponents in the United States like to cite misleading statistics about population density, I don’t think anyone can seriously deny that the United Kingdom is a densely populated country. And yet, the land from whence the railroad originates doesn’t have a proper high-speed rail network. Plans are afoot, however, to remedy that:

Network Rail’s proposed new line linking Glasgow and Edinburgh with London, on which trains could travel as fast as 200mph, would also serve Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Birmingham.

A spokesman for one of Manchester’s biggest employers, Kellog’s cereals, said: “This is great news for business in Manchester, just as London is going to be more accessible for us, Manchester will be for those in the South East.”

The new line would cut the journey between London and Birmingham to 45 minutes, from a best time of one hour and 22 minutes currently.

One thing to note here, and something that’s generally the case with HSR, is that there will benefits to this scheme even for people who never take the train. Right now there are tons of London-Glasgow flights taking up space on runways. Developing a better rail link between those cities will reduce the need for air travel between them and allow airport resources to be focused on those routes that really can’t be served adequately by train. And that, of course, is a lot of routes—especially for a country located on an island.

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