The preferred route for the London – Birmingham high-speed rail line (HSL) has now been published. It is a very detailed analysis, and unlike other similar studies it is well written. It sets out clearly which options were considered, and also why others were rejected. The report, with detailed graphics, is availabe for download at the transport ministry website:
- High Speed Rail London to the West Midlands and Beyond: A Report to Government by High Speed Two Limited.
It is recommended reading for anyone interested in high-speed rail. One thing is certainly clear: in high-speed rail, there is no such thing as a low-cost option. It is extremely difficult to find routes in densely-populated countries…
…and the selected route will be difficult to build. Even if an existing rail alignment is available, it can not generally be re-used. A complete new railway must be built alongside it. The planned line speed for this line is 400 km/h, which generally rules out even the best existing alignments.
The HSL proposals at this blog include, for instance, long exit tunnels in urban areas. There is often no alternative for this kind of complex and difficult construction. You either do that, or you don’t build a HSL at all.