The construction of a new high speed line could benefit towns between London and Birmingham, as well as transforming rail travel to and between cities further north, according to the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC).
In its response to the Government’s consultation on High Speed 2, ATOC says that HS2 is a ‘better way of dealing with growing passenger numbers’ than further upgrades to the West Coast Main Line.
Upgrading the existing line would offer only ‘marginal improvements’ to intercity services, do ‘little to free up capacity for local services’ between London and the West Midlands or for freight, and risks bringing major disruption to millions of passengers.
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of ATOC said:
“Rail travel is more popular now than it has been for decades with parts of the network facing a capacity crunch. Investing in a new high speed line and other parts of the rail network is key to ensuring the nation has a modern, green transport system fit for the 21st century.
“HS2 not only provides the extra capacity needed to serve growing demand for rail, uniquely it offers the prospect of dramatically shorter journey times between the engines of our economy.
“This promises to unlock the potential of cities in the Midlands and the North, and to attract even more people out of cars and planes and onto trains.”