27TH MARCH 2009


The Government is currently preparing its proposal for a high-speed rail network which will be published in early 2009. A conference on high speed rail therefore could not be timelier.

With Lord Andrew Adonis, Minister of State for Transport, providing the keynote address, this one-day conference gives you the perfect opportunity to discuss and debate the Government's thinking on this critical area.

The UK is far behind other countries in Europe and Asia in developing any kind of high-speed rail network after previous studies suggested no case existed. Theresa Villiers, the Shadow Transport Secretary, promised that a Conservative government would start construction of a line between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds in 2015 and open it in 2027.

The government has set up a National Networks Strategy Group, chaired by Lord Adonis, which will bring together senior officials from the Highways Agency, Network Rail, the Treasury and other government departments to examine the options. Areas the group will focus on include developing practical plans for further electrification on key routes and assessing the scope for new lines, including high-speed ones.

Topics for discussion 

  • What cities should be served, along what routes and should it serve Scotland?
  • Is the case for high speed rail based on faster journey times between cities or increased capacity?
  • Should high speed rail take precedence over Crossrail 2 & 3?
  • What is the likely balance of funding between the public & private sector?
  • What impact will high speed rail have on domestic aviation?
  • Is high speed rail a real alternative to a 3rd runway at Heathrow?
  • What technology will be used?
  • Will stations be out of town TGV style?
  • What lessons can be learned from other countries?

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Tim O'Toole CBE

Former CEO, FirstGroup