Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: https://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/629/9836

From The Socialist newspaper, 16 June 2010

New rail lines

High speed trains and high priced fares

Proposals for a second high speed line (HS2) between London, Manchester and Leeds were announced earlier this year by the outgoing Labour government, at a cost of 30 billion. Construction of the first phase from London to Birmingham is due to start in 2017.

Mark Pickersgill

The new line would be routed through the Chiltern hills, an area of outstanding beauty north of London, by tunnel and using disused lines. Journey times to Birmingham would be cut to 46 minutes.

Britain lags well behind other European countries such as France, Spain and Germany that already have high speed line networks. In Spain for instance passengers travel the 307 kilometres from Madrid to Zaragoza (the equivalent distance of London to Liverpool) in 74 minutes. In France some airline companies no longer offer flights from Paris to Lyon because journey times are quicker by train.

High speed trains are also less polluting than airplanes, a high speed train travelling from London to Paris is ten times more fuel efficient than a passenger aircraft making the same journey.

However, while some of the advantages of high speed trains are clear, not everybody will benefit because of the high cost of fares. For instance, domestic passengers on the new high speed service from St Pancras to Kent, using the channel tunnel high speed rail link (HS1), have to pay on average 35% more than on the existing conventional services.

Only 15% of commuters that travel from the north Kent and Thanet area have switched to the new faster service. Others are deterred by the extra cost, but also the fact that many don't want to enter London via St Pancras. South East Trains, which runs the franchise, has already cut the number of coaches on each train by half due to the lack of demand for their high speed service.

Train companies that use the high speed line pay access charges and this cost is passed onto passengers - even though the cost of building the line in the form of 5.2 billion worth of debt has been taken on by the government, and the train operating company that presently runs the franchise has already received 80 million in government subsidies.

As with much of the rest of the public transport system, private companies receive large government subsidies to run transport while extracting huge profits. But when these companies fail, their liabilities are underwritten with public money - as in the case of Railtrack, Metronet (on the London underground) and the East Coast main line.

The cost of train travel in Britain is already the highest in Europe - on average 50% higher - despite the huge subsidies that are given to the train companies. The privatised railway system costs three times more than it did under publicly-owned British Rail.

The building of a high speed rail system would be of enormous social benefit but only if it is properly planned with consideration given to the environment, and is fully integrated and affordable. To achieve this, the whole public transport system should be renationalised but this time under democratic workers' control and management and run in the interests of the whole of society.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 16 June 2010:

Millionaire ministers savage public services

'Bloodbath budget' day protests and meetings


Education

Comprehensive education under attack

Opposing 'Dickensian' academy schools in Waltham Forest


National Shop Stewards Network

Come to the NSSN conference

Unison local government conference: Delegates face huge struggles

Northern Rock throws workers on the dole

Wales Unison: Socialist Party member elected

NHS Scotland - ConDemned to terminal decay

Southampton library staff strike to save jobs

Save the Big House


Socialist Party editorial

Labour leadership contest dominated by right wing


Socialist Party news and analysis

TUSC plans for future elections

BP's value plunges as oil spill worsens

Willetts approves tuition fees hike

Bloody Sunday report appears 38 years late

IDS's 'anti-poverty drive' attacks the poorest!

High speed trains and high priced fares

Why we don't back the Queen's pay claim

Fast news

Diary dates


Anti-racism

Tower Hamlets: Jobs, homes and services - not the racist EDL!


International socialist news and analysis

Greece: A test bed for 'austerity' and resistance

Spain: Millions of public sector workers strike over brutal cuts

Portugal: Mobilisation against austerity reaches new level

Socialist Party Scotland launched at packed and inspiring meeting


 

Home   |   The Socialist 16 June 2010   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Fares:

triangleMerseyrail protest

triangleRail: fares up, bosses' pay up - delays and cancellations up

triangleNationalise rail now

triangleWhat we saw

triangleHow the Single Market blocks socialist policies

Rail:

triangleRMT strikes against driver-only operation continue

triangleRMT rail members buoyed by coordinated action

triangleStrike against driver-only operation on five rail networks

triangleBrutal rail privateer Abellio takes over Midlands rail services

London:

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: 120 years since the death of Eleanor Marx

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: The Refugee Rights Campaign

triangleTower Hamlets Socialist Party: Fighting for women's rights around the world

Transport:

triangleArriva bus drivers' action wins pay rise

triangleArriva bus strikers stand firm

Reports and campaigns

Reports and campaigns

22/2/18

UCU

Lecturers strike around country in defence of pensions

21/2/18

Strike

German engineering strike puts shorter week on agenda - but could have won more

21/2/18

Cardiff

Cardiff Refugee Rights gig success

21/2/18

Nottingham

Nottingham hospital black alert

21/2/18

East Midlands

Lively discussion at East Midlands Socialist Party conference

21/2/18

West Midlands

Tremendous determination on show at West Midlands conference

21/2/18

Wales

Successful Socialist Party Wales conference sets tone for the year ahead

21/2/18

Bradford

Bradford protests against kids' service cuts

21/2/18

May Day

May Day, May Day! Celebrate solidarity!

21/2/18

Kirklees

Labour councillors push through savage cuts in Kirklees budget

21/2/18

Salford

Save Salford nurseries!

21/2/18

Caerphilly

Victory: Pontllanfraith leisure centre saved

21/2/18

Council

Northants council crisis - protesters demand an end to cuts and privatisation

21/2/18

Leicester

Leicester Uni makes Tory fee tripler David Willetts chancellor - sack Willetts!

21/2/18

UCU

Bosses divided - university pension strikes can win!

triangleMore Reports and campaigns articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

LATEST POSTS

CONTACT US

Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777

Email: info@socialistparty.org.uk

Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0191 421 6230

North West 07769 611 320

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551

ABOUT US

ARCHIVE

Alphabetical listing


February 2018

January 2018

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999