Popular trains argue against Heathrow expansion

14 January 2009

ASLEF general secretary Keith Norman points to the increasingly popularity of rail for short-haul journeys as evidence that there is no need for expansion of Heathrow airport.


The success of Eurostar continues apace, with news that the number of passengers travelling on the London to Paris and Brussels service rose by more than 10% last year. The company says, and ASLEF echoes the sentiment, that these record numbers demonstrate that travellers prefer to use a train rather than a plane for short-haul journeys.


During 2008 a total of 9.1 million passengers used Eurostar, despite disruption caused by the fire on a Eurotunnel freight shuttle train in the tunnel in September.


Meanwhile the Spanish rail network reported that passenger numbers on its expanding high-speed rail links soared last year, contributing to a 20% drop in passengers using domestic flights.


‘By rights, these two announcements should see off any proposals to develop a third run-way at Heathrow,’ says ASLEF’s Keith Norman. ‘But I’ve been around long enough to know that logic does not always prevail.’


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