The Tories have something different in mind for the proposed third runway at Heathrow: scrapping it in favour of high speed trains. Transport spokeswoman Theresa Villiers confirmed this morning at the Conservative Party Conference "that a Conservative government would say no to a third runway at Heathrow." The theory is that trains are greener than planes and will thus help cut carbon emissions.
We're quite fond of riding the rails at Londonist; it's definitely less of a hassle than flying, and a heck of a lot faster and more comfortable than a coach. And if you want to make those trains faster, all the better! But the proposed high speed trains are planned to Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester — decidedly short haul routes. While the Tories estimate that this will still save about 66,000 flights a year, we still have to wonder about the logistics of it. How many people on those short haul flights are looking for connecting flights? Would a person on a connecting flight really want to travel from Heathrow to St. Pancras to finish their journey?
Part of the initiative comes with the hope that use of the Eurostar will be bolstered by additional high speed trains going in and out of St. Pancras. It certainly isn't convenience that stops us taking the Eurostar; let's hope if the domestic high speed trains do pan out, they won't be quite as pricey as their trans-Channel counterpart. It would be nice to get to Manchester in a mere 80 minutes.
Photo courtesy of Fin Fahey via the Londonist Flickrpool.