What do HS2 and Norfolk have in common?

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On Channel 4 News on 11th February, presenter Cathy Newman interviewed Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands, following the government’s decision to forge ahead with HS2.

Discussing the pros and cons of the massive rail project, Ms Newman, in commendably journalistic style, threw a ‘curved-ball’ question.

“What’s in it for you if you live in Norfolk?” she asked.

Political commentator and broadcaster Iain Dale asked a similar question a year ago in the Eastern Daily Press.  The spiralling costs of HS2 have been exacerbated by concerns that the business case for the project are collapsing, wrote Dale, and he suggested we need to focus on fixing regional railways with the money instead. Imagine the benefits to our regional economy, he continued, if just a fraction of the multiple £billions earmarked for HS2 were spent upgrading the Liverpool Street to Norwich line. Or the line linking Norwich to Cambridge. Or King’s Lynn to London. Not forgetting the plans to link the North Norfolk Railway at Holt to Fakenham and Dereham. What about spending some of the money restoring some of the local railways axed by Dr Beeching in the 1960s?  Read the complete article here.

How much do decisions taken about public transport at national level impact upon local transport provision? It’s just one perspective on the debate about declining rural public transport services – both bus and rail – in rural areas.