Stick by HS2, union tells Ed

30 August 2013

Mick Whelan has written to Ed Miliband to urge that the Labour Party maintains its policy of support for high speed rail, and particularly High Speed 2. He says, ‘My union believes Britain needs not only a new high speed rail line - but a high speed rail network.’

Mick reminded the Labour leader that the number of rail passengers has doubled since 1995 and that in the same period rail freight traffic has risen by 65%. Even through the recession, passenger numbers have continued to grow at over 5% a year.

‘The existing rail network is operating at near full capacity,’ Mick warns. ‘Neither new motorways nor domestic air travel are sustainable options to meet the mobility requirements of a British population expected to grow by 10 million by 2033.’

The union does not believe that upgrades to the current network, or longer trains,can meet peak demand or provide the necessary enhancements to local services or freight.

‘The consequences of insufficient capacity on the rail network would be disastrous for the British economy and society - with major implications for our domestic and international competitiveness,’ Mick wrote.

‘In the absence of a national transport strategy from the current government the development of a high speed rail network must be the framework on which future transport policy is determined.’

Mick commended Labour for instigating plans for high speed rail while the party was in government. ‘Now we call on you to ensure that Labour stands firm against the naysayers and continues to support high speed rail.’

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