Many parts of the rail network are already under critical capacity pressure, and options for further upgrades are extremely limited, usually entailing major cost and disruption for very little gain. The situation is similar to that which applied on the trunk road network in the 1950s and 1960s. It was not practicable to further develop the trunk road network, and instead the decision was taken, to build new motorways. Exactly the same logic applies today, to build new railways – and just as with the motorways, the new lines should be:
designed for higher speed;
constructed with the capacity to accommodate all existing intercity flows; and
provided with closed-spaced interchanges to allow full integration between high speed line and existing main line network.
Regrettably HS2 Ltd has taken the first requirement, to design for higher speed, to unnecessary extremes, and it has failed to address issues of capacity and integration. The design of HS2, with only 2 tracks running direct from London to the West Midlands, with no connection to the existing network, can be likened to designing the M1 with no interchanges, and only a single lane in each direction.