Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Council to lobby for high speed rail

Cardiff Council leader Rodney Berman is due to attend a keynote summit tomorrow (Wednesday, September 9) to add his voice to the calls to introduce a UK High Speed Rail (HSR) network.

The summit is being held in London by High Speed Rail UK -  a group of UK’s core cities including Cardiff - that have joined together to call for the development of a high-speed rail network, which, if introduced to south Wales, would reduce the journey time from London to
Cardiff to around 70 minutes.

Major cities such as Cardiff are the drivers of the country’s economic prosperity and the cities behind HSR:UK generate 55 per cent of our national wealth.

The political leaderships of these cities all understand that their communities will all benefit from this essential piece of national economic infrastructure which will not only link key cities across the UK, but also connect to the high-speed network already in existence in Europe.

Trains on a HSR network travel at speeds of 200 mph. There are currently around 3,500 miles of high speed lines in Europe, but only 68 of these are in the UK - which link St Pancras to the Channel Tunnel.

By cutting journey times between cities, HSR has the potential to help improve the UK’s economic performance and make a significant contribution to the UK Government’s carbon reduction objectives. By transferring long distance services to a new dedicated line, HSR will also release capacity on the existing rail network, which can then be used for commuter travel and freight.

As well as campaigning as part of High Speed Rail UK,
Cardiff is also working actively with its partners across south Wales and south West of England, including Bristol City Council,  to continue to promote the case for early investment in a HSR route between London and south Wales.

Speaking on the eve of the summit, Councillor Berman said: "High Speed Rail UK is a key initiative. As the economic and cultural powerhouse of Wales, Cardiff has a vital interest in working to deliver a quantum shift in rail communications with the rest of the UK and Europe. It is essential that the UK’s core cities stand shoulder-to-shoulder to campaign for a transportation system fit for the 21st century.”


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