Record numbers of people are taking the train, yet the system is creaking under the strain. Fares are shooting up while the overall cost of driving has been going down, and short-haul plane tickets have become much cheaper. People are turning to more environmentally damaging alternatives.
Plans for a new high speed line seems set to get the green signal but without the planning needed to safeguard the countryside adequately from trains shooting through at hundreds of miles an hour. And at the same time, smaller schemes that could unlock travel in the English regions seem to be stuck in a siding going nowhere. We need to reopen lines and stations to give more people, particularly in rural areas, an alternative to the car.
Our vision is for a revived, revitalised railway system. One that will extend the size of the rail network, and increase the numbers of passengers and the amount of freight that travels on it. A railway system that’ll be affordable, and safeguard the countryside. But this expansion must be planned carefully.