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High Speed Travel

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rov1200 | 18:14 Sun 19th Dec 2010 | Motoring
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The proposed high speed railway between London and the North is to cost in excess of £32bn. Is the good method of spending that amount when only the rich and well off would benefit from saving 20% of travel time?

The same amount would more than cover an extra lane on the motorway to get to the same destination. This could be available to all.

What method should be chosen?

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1. Rail travel is now more popular than it's ever been since World War II. The vast majority of passengers aren't the 'rich and well off'. They're simply people who are seeking a fast, efficient and eco-friendly means of travel. The rail system is in need of a serious overhaul in order to meet those needs.

2. High speed rail travel isn't necessarily particularly expensive. London to Paris return costs £69 using the cheapest fares. Single fares, on existing tracks, from York to London start at £13.50.

3. Rail travel is far less damaging to the environment than travelling by car (or by plane). The duty on vehicle fuel should be doubled (taking the price of a litre of fuel to over £2), with an exemption from paying duty for public transport operators, in order to fund much-needed rail improvements.

Chris
I agree with Chris, although I would focus on actual costs and focus less on environmental aspects.
It's simply wrong to assume only well-off people can afford rail travel and that car drivers are less well-off people.
A car journey from the North of England to London and back can be 500 miles. The running cost of any car is going to be at least 50p a mile. Even if you exclude some costs such as insurance and road tax the marginal cost will still be around 30p a mile (fuel, oil, tyre wear, servicing, etc). That makes it £150 return. The train fare will often be less than this.
It’s generally cheaper to use taxis and public transport to get around than to buy and run a car.
Question Author
I get your point Factor30 but that assumes you want to travel the whole distance. There are few stopping places on the HS train. Motorways have many junctions.
In fact because of the long distances involved it may be environmentally preferable to travel by air which will be the alternative for flight passengers coming into Heathrow considering the amount of disruption the building of the HS railway will bring.

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