Rail Investment to Get Britain Booming Again?
Much has been made of the rail investment in Britain of late, what with proposed plans for the High Speed 2 (HS2) high speed rail links and the development of Crossrail, which will serve London and its environs. Coupled with these projects is the announcement that Network Rail will be investing around £38 billion into the rail infrastructure of the country over the next 5 years.
The HS2 project claims that it will bring a wealth of benefits that will include re-generation of such areas as Ebbsfleet, Stratford and Kings Cross worth around £10 billion. This is on top of the supposed £59.8 billion in user benefits, and the £13.3 billion of wider ones, whilst also closing the economic gap on the North South Divide.
Crossrail also estimates it will bring around £42 billion in overall benefits with its extension of services to workers in the capital and the increase of 10% commuter capacity to London.
Now Network Rail has announced its intention to majorly invest in a 5 year plan that will see projects including:
- A 20% capacity increase in London commuter trains
- An East to West rail project connecting Milton Keynes to Oxford
- Around 700 more trains per between major cities in the North of England
- A further 850 miles of track to become electrified
- Refurbishment and Upgrades to large hubs such as Manchester Victoria Station and Birmingham New Street Station
- The renewal of ageing fencing, tracks and platforms
By supplying such an investment in safer, more reliable commuter options that provide greater capacity, trade links between different areas of the country will undoubtedly improve thus offering even further opportunity to investors and start-ups within the country. Also, by pushing investment in Northern areas and other places outside of London, the potential for a greater spread of wealth throughout the nation means that investment within the country could continue to grow in the future as well whilst improved punctuality will increase productivity across the UK.
It’s not just the rail network itself helping boost the economy but also the job creation around the construction projects. The HS2 project alone, between London and the East Midlands should create around 40,000 jobs and this does not include further employment prospects created by larger/more stations.
With Britain’s economy tentatively growing after the economic downturn it seems like projects such as these are only going to help boost the influx of wealth into the country.