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There's been talk of new high speed rail lines in the UK, to compete with air links between London and unspecified points North. (Probably Edinburgh, possibly Manchester and Birmingham.)

Noo Labour doesn't like trains, and finds the idea ridiculous. The Tories are raring to go, and even talking about Maglev. But as the opposition they don't have much experience of dealing with the clucking of treasury bean counters. So I would be surprised if the plans survive the onslaught of Sir Humphrey.

One problem for the UK is population density. The technology is straightforward enough - providing it's not Maglev - but the local politics are extremely complicated. You can be sure that whatever route is chosen there will be protests, court actions, and other legal issues which will create huge delays.  

I suspect other parts of Europe may have similar issues.

It's taken nearly 25 years to get CTRL I+II built. Other rail schemes, like Crossrail, are still in legal limbo, even though they've been discussed for a similar period.

The other problem for the UK is that - unlike air - there's no effective pro-rail lobby. This is one area where the EU could itself a big favour by pushing strategic infrastructure planning across the whole of the EU zone, instead of leaving individual countries to come to their own individual arrangements, which might, or might not, join up at some point, if we're all lucky and think happy thoughts.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Mar 24th, 2007 at 04:14:58 PM EST
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