Last week’s poll: future UK rail strategy

This autumn will see a review carried out into the government’s major investment projects and HS2 – a project underway but not at full speed – will once again be scrutinised as costs mount.

Run by HS2 Ltd, the project was expected to receive a formal notice to proceed with major construction works in June this year, but this has been put back to December due to budget concerns.

Rail commuters will be all too familiar with the day-to-day issues that blight the nation’s railway system, and weekend rail users are often herded onto bus replacement services as work continues to maintain tracks and other vital parts of the rail network.

HS2 was sold as a time-saving service between London and Birmingham with little made of capacity gains. The project will no doubt be given extra performance targets in the autumn and the UK will get on with its second high-speed line, but what we wanted to know in last week’s poll was readers’ thoughts on the best strategy for the UK rail network.

In total, 624 people took part in the poll, with 44 per cent agreeing that upgrading existing routes would be better than building new lines. Forty per cent of the vote was split equally between those that want to go ahead with plans based around HS2, and those favouring the cancellation of HS2 and going ahead with HS3. Of the remaining vote, 16 per cent opted for the investigation of Hyperloop/maglev transport systems, and the remaining five per cent opted for ‘none of the above’.

In the comments that followed, Ct said: “To be of real use we probably need a merged HS2 and HS3 as need east-west connectivity as well as north-south.”

“Can we please get what we already have working successfully and on time before we throw billions at someone’s vanity project?” added For Roy Masters.

In a similar vein, Another Steve said: “Yet again, we were misled over HS2. The speed of HS2 will be slower than stated, the time savings will not be achieved and it will go no further than Birmingham. The project is and will continue to be over budget and late. HS2 is a disaster for the railways, sucking up all the funds and preventing the much-needed investments elsewhere in the rail system. HS2 should be cancelled and the funds distributed to the rest of the rail network.”

What do you think? Keep the debate alive in Comments below, but please familiarise yourselves with our guidelines for comments.