Today’s announcement that Telford will be getting its direct rail connection to London back is great news but why do we have to wait until 2016 for it to be put in place?
Shropshire is the only county in England that has no direct rail connection to the capital and that’s not going to change for at least the next four years, subject to the new West Coast Main Line franchisee First Group getting agreement to operate the route. In other words, it might not even happen if agreements can’t be secured for a price that First Group are happy with.
The good news has been undermined, though, by the announcement that rail fares in England are to rise by 3% above inflation which is an average 6.2% increase in ticket prices. Prices in Scotland are only being increased by 1% above inflation and price increases have not yet been announced in Wales or Northern Ireland. This discrepancy is possible because the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish governments decide regulated train fares in their own countries but there is no English government so the British government gets to decide how much rail fares go up in England.
UKIP national policy is to scrap the wasteful HS2 rail line and invest the billions of pounds the British government intends to spend decreasing the amount of time it takes to travel by train from Glasgow to London by 8 minutes into improving the existing road and rail network.