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Government to invest 6 billion pounds in UK SouthEast railways

Good

Today, Transport Secretary Philip Hammond announced that the government is investing £8bn in the UK’s railways. This includes a go-ahead for the full Thameslink development with 12-car trains by 2011.

Bad 

However, the upcoming hike in rail fares, the two year delay in completion of the Thameslink developments, and the decision on replacing the aging Intercity fleet (with electric trains, or electric-diesel hybrids) being further delayed, have been some of the major impediments to universal critical acclaim.

For more info

  • BBC website – summary of key points and a link to a short clip of Philip Hammond outlining these
  • BBC Radio 4 iPlayer 25/10/10 – listen to James Naughtie speaking with Philip Hammond (on the timer, it's from 1:09:00 - 1:15:00) on the justification of rail ticket price hikes, the future of a high-speed rail link to Birmingham, electrification and how the relationship with the rail franchise operators will need to change.
  • Independent website

Makes you wonder

With the lion’s share of the £8bn (£6bn) going on the Thameslink work, and 1800 of the 2000 new carriages earmarked the Southeast’s Thameslink and Crossrail programmes, you can’t help but wonder how people in the rest of the country feel about their local fare increases.

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