The recent cancellation/postponement of a number of Network Rail projects, particularly the electrification of the Midland Main Line and the Trans Pennine route, is a serious blow to the five year plan to ‘modernise’ the railway network.
Rather bizarrely some supporters of HS2 have actually tried to argue that the Network Rail debacle proves the case for building HS2. In some respects it might be easier to ‘build new’ but the same could be said for housing where for very good reasons the generally held premise remains that brown field sites should be developed, even if there is extra effort involved in demolition, decontamination etc, before green belt land is used.
To the contrary, the problems faced by Network Rail simply highlight that there is not a bottomless pot of money for grandiose schemes and choices need to be made between transport projects and between the transport budget and other government department budgets. That is something that was clearly highlighted by officials at the Major Projects Authority whose report into HS2 was withheld by the government until last week when it could no longer legally do so.
In the shorter term we need to be demanding reassurances that Network Rail will continue to allocate funds towards the double tracking of the line between Kenilworth and Coventry and for the building of Kenilworth station in Priory Road.
James King, Coventry Road, Kenilworth