High Speed Rail In the UK

When you visit the UK the chances are that you will fly in using one of London’s airports. Although many people think of the ‘London airport’ as the major hub at Heathrow, in fact there are five airports that each have equal claim to the name.

Heathrow, Gatwick Stansted, Luton and London City Airport each cater to different routes and carriers and are important in their own ways. International tourist visitors are far more likely to arrive at either Heathrow or Gatwick, whilst UK nationals going on holiday may find themselves using Luton or Standstead. London city Airport is mainly used by the business community.

Getting to and from each airport can have different approaches as they are in quite varied locations, but each are served well by rail connections which then transport you to major hubs that give the ability for ongoing travel anywhere in mainland Britain. Train ticket prices can be purchased in advance online for all major routes providing cheap rail travel.

Sadly even today the UK often lags behind much of Europe when it comes to the adaptation of high speed rail links. Countries such as Germany and France have heavily invested in both rail track infrastructure and train designs to make use of high speeds. Recently the introduction of the high speed link between Madrid and Barcelona in Spain has seen a cut in travel time that has taken travellers away from short haul air flights and back to the railway.

High-speed trains actually existed in the steam age in Great Britain but the infrastructure of British railway’s track and lines system was unable to support it. This meant that the maximum speed limit remained at 100 mph until the mid 1970s.

Foreign railway authorities and government initiatives invested in building completely new tracks for their own new high speed rail systems whilst British Rail decided to take the route of developing a train which could use the existing laid track.

The result of this approach was the Intercity 125, which was launched into service in 1976 and was capable of a top speed of 125 mph. Ten years later in the mid-1980s ‘Intercity 225′ electric trains were introduced, with these engines being capable of achieving 140 mph, although in practice they were limited to no more than 125 mph for safety reasons.

The first purpose built high speed rail line in Britain was the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Today the difference between the approaches to railway development either side of the Channel can be experienced first hand, when upon existing the tunnel and emerging on French soil the Eurostar trains show a marked increase in speed.

A second purpose built high speed line will that will connect London and Birmingham is currently the topic of great debate and discussion. known as H2 the line is causing a great deal of controversy when it comes to the actual route it will take and there is also a demand that when the line is built it includes an option to be extended to Scotland.

At the moment East Coast Trains travelling out of London’s Kings Cross link major cities such as Leeds and Newcastle to the capital, as well as extending into Scotland for quick and efficient travel to Edinburgh, Glasgow and beyond.

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