Navigating stormy waters

Sometimes it is hard to swim against the tide of opinion. Some railway debates pit opposing camps against each other – for example, there are strong proponents of High Speed Two who believe the Y-shaped route must be preserved at all costs, and those who strongly oppose it as a total white elephant. Some fall between these camps, but their voices seem rarely to be heard.

The response to the publication of the Government’s Integrated Rail Plan was perhaps less of the expected standing ovation and more a chorus of boos and catcalls from the gallery. Loud voices proclaimed – and still do – their horror at the reduction in scope of the HS2 eastern leg and of Northern Powerhouse Rail infrastructure compared to what had been promised. There have been loud cries of betrayal from many corners – politicians, rail campaigners and stakeholders alike.

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