“Rail Infrastructure Development must be Correctly Specified, Accurately Costed and Implemented Network-wide – not for Isolated Localities,” says Local Liberal Democrat.

While welcoming the two-year flurry of announcements from Transport Minister Grant Shapps for rail rebuild proposals, local Liberal Democrat Councillor for the Tring West & Rural Ward on Dacorum Borough Council, Nick Hollinghurst has sounded a note of caution.

“When looking right across the UK – which is really the only way to view proposals affecting a national rail network – there are lessons to be learned. HS2, or “Cameron’s Concorde” as some call it was an ambitious, but clearly needed, major capacity enhancement for our national rail network. But HS2 was spoiled completely by a gold-plated over-specification that now looks like coming in well over three times the original budget. Why? Simply because of a political red line that the London – Birmingham journey time had to be less than two hours.”

Then in Scotland we have had another example of incorrect specifying. Here, the re-opening 5 years ago of the Borders Railway from Edinburgh to Tweedbank has been very popular with both tourists and commuters. However, the failure to improve the junction with the East Coast Main Line at Portobello just outside Edinburgh and the shortness of the passing loops on what was

“Rail projects often seem extremely expensive – and indeed HS2 is – but we blithely agree to new roads and road improvements

He concluded, “And if we could just plan our transport infrastructure in a holistic way and with an eye to building in a greener future, we could get even better value for money from rail – and fewer lorries on our roads into the bargain!”