The best way to see the British countryside is arguably by rail. Britain was once at the forefront of great rail engineering. In recent times this legacy has languished with lack of investment.
The tide has been turning over the last few years. With large rail infrastructure projects like HS2, Crossrail and the electrification of the GWR line. But unfortunately after years of neglect we are seeing the reckoning of this in increased fares. Wouldn’t we all rather have paid £35 over 10 years instead of £20 for 8 and £95 for the final 2?
These projects are not enough, and have been hampered by constant reviews and public consultations. The reviews have delayed implementation and sent costs soaring. Engineers are assigned to projects elsewhere then new ones have to be found when the project restarts. These “reviews” are disguised as in the public interest. Checking we are getting value for money, but often serve little purpose except to increase costs and timeframes. We need to see more commitment to these projects. Stop questioning, get behind them and make them happen.
The nice thing about infrastructure projects is that you get something tangible out at the end. Something that not only creates value in the economy, but a physical manifestation that has value in itself. You start to benefit from them as soon as they are complete, making delays as costly as price increases.
Rail infrastructure has a huge role to play in the coming redistribution of economic wealth around the United Kingdom. Be in through connecting businesses in Glasgow to those in Newcastle, or house prices outside of big cities. It isn’t always about how quickly you can get into London, but how quickly you can get out of it.
The future is on the track, but is it on track?