Rail (UK)

Open Ac­cess

- Richard Lan­caster, Kent Waterloo · Southeastern · London · Paris · Amsterdam · United Kingdom · Kent · Essex · Boris Johnson · Dartford

Some­thing to say? This is your plat­form.

Now is prob­a­bly not the best time to sug­gest al­lo­cat­ing more no­tional ex­pen­di­ture to HS2, but David Roster Phillips is right to lament the de­ci­sion not to link HS2 with HS1 ( RAIL 914).

It prob­a­bly stems orig­i­nally from the poor pa­tron­age of the ded­i­cated di­rect link from the North to Water­loo for con­nec­tions to HS1 at the out­set, but which was sub­se­quently scrapped.

Clearly it was thought that this ser­vice would at­tract a worth­while flow of pas­sen­gers, al­beit that the prospect of overnight trains had al­ready been aban­doned.

How­ever, ig­nor­ing COVID for the mo­ment, things have moved on. A mas­sive amount of busi­ness has flowed along HS1 since it opened, in­clud­ing the spec­tac­u­larly suc­cess­ful Javelin ser­vices, and it is time for a re­think.

HS1’s ad­van­tage over the air­lines is that it goes from city cen­tre to city cen­tre. It does not pol­lute our at­mos­phere. And given that there is now much greater aware­ness of global warm­ing and the air we breathe, there is ev­ery rea­son to be con­fi­dent that through jour­neys from north of Lon­don to Paris, Brus­sels, Am­s­ter­dam and be­yond would re­sult in an im­pres­sive re­turn per £1 of out­lay.

An HS1/HS2 link would also pave the way for sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tions in both in­ter­nal flights within the UK and lorry traf­fic between Europe and the UK.

The lat­ter, in par­tic­u­lar, is a ma­jor source of dan­ger­ous pol­lu­tion through Kent, in the Dart­ford area, south west Es­sex and be­yond.

The Road Haulage As­so­ci­a­tion won’t like be­ing re­minded of that fact. In­deed, it wouldn’t sur­prise me if they were among those lob­by­ing against the idea of the link in the first place.

Boris John­son was in­stru­men­tal in block­ing the idea of an HS1/ HS2 link when he was Lon­don Mayor, so res­ur­rect­ing the idea wouldn’t have much sup­port from him. Or would it?

 ?? JACK BOSKETT/ RAIL. ?? A Class 395 Javelin stands at St Pan­cras In­ter­na­tional. The suc­cess of the Javelin ser­vices and of HS1 sug­gests that an HS2-HS1 link is worth re­con­sid­er­ing, says Richard Lan­caster.
JACK BOSKETT/ RAIL. A Class 395 Javelin stands at St Pan­cras In­ter­na­tional. The suc­cess of the Javelin ser­vices and of HS1 sug­gests that an HS2-HS1 link is worth re­con­sid­er­ing, says Richard Lan­caster.

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