ASLEF welcomes HS2

23 February 2017

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, has welcomed the HS2 Bill being set to receive Royal Assent.

Mick said: ‘We believe Britain needs not only a new high speed rail line but a new high speed rail network and we would, ideally, like to see HS2 run the length of the United Kingdom, being built from Scotland, and the south, at the same time, meeting in the middle, linking HS1 and going via Heathrow. While that is not what is on the table, we welcome the Bill, because it’s a major infrastructure project which will help bring our railway into the 21st century.

‘The number of passengers on our railways has doubled since 1995 while rail freight traffic has risen by 65%. The existing rail network is operating at near full capacity and neither new motorways, nor domestic air travel, are environmentally sustainable options to meet the mobility requirements of a British population expected to grow by 10 million by 2033.

‘Longer trains, and upgrades to the current network, will not be able to meet peak demand or provide the necessary enhancements to local services or freight. The consequences of insufficient capacity on our rail network would be disastrous for the British economy with major implications for our domestic and international competitiveness.

Mick added: ‘As train drivers, we have a clear interest in a successful, integrated, modern railway network. Because we know that a better railway will mean a better Britain.

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