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High Speed Trains

Volume 479: debated on Monday 1 September 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment she has made of the environmental effects of modal shift arising from the creation of a new high-speed rail line to run alongside the current route of the (a) West and (b) East Coast Main Line. (219416)

In developing the July 2007 rail White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Railway, the Department for Transport commissioned work on various inter-urban capacity options. One element of this work sought to establish how much shift from air to rail would be needed to make up for the emissions generated by a high speed line. It concluded that the scale of the transfer required depended on the route of a new line.

The recently announced Network Rail New Lines Programme, in examining options for increasing rail capacity, will assess the likely transfer of passengers to any new line. It will also consider whether if there is a need for new lines in the future and whether it would make sense to design these for conventional or high speed use.