UK Plans High-speed London-Glascow Rail Service

Plan resumes electrification of UK's rail service that ended in 1991.

Published: 24-Jan-2009

The most eye-catching aspect of yesterday's package of rail announcements is the establishment of a company to plan and build Britain's second dedicated high-speed rail line.

High Speed 2 will be set up to explore the options for a rail line heading west out of London to a new Heathrow International hub near the airport, before going on initially to the West Midlands, but possibly eventually to Scotland.

However, in the immediate future, another aspect of the announcement will prove still more significant for the national rail network. It promises a decision before the end of this year on restarting the UK's rail electrification programme, which largely ended in 1991 with completion of work on the London-Edinburgh East Coast Main Line. The next lines to be electrified are the Great Western Main Line from London to Wales and the West Country and the Midland Main Line from London to Nottingham and Sheffield. Electric routes are less prone to delays because electric trains are more -reliable.


Pictured is computer 3D visualization of proposed San Francisco Transbay high-speed rail terminal. The House bill, approved 311-104, cites the Northeast corridor as one for which the Transportation Department might consider high-speed proposals, but the legislation adds that other projects might be considered as well.

Rail travel produces more than a third less emissions than road transport. Pictured is yard switcher being converted by Rail Power to hybrid-fuel cell power.

Quebec-based Bombardier manufacturers high-speed electric trains.

The report proposes 560 kilometres of high-speed electric track, as well as shift to plug-in hybrid cars.


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