The head of Network Rail promised today the biggest expansion of the national railway system since the days of the great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.
Evening Standard, Tuesday 31st March 2009
Is it an amusing coincidence that this announcement was made the day before April Fools’ Day? £35 billion is a huge amount of money… It took only £20 billion to bail out the Royal Bank of Scotland. Of course it’s enough, but I wanted to draw some attention to a different point.
In the 1930s Roosevelt initiated the New Deal. This included major programmes of work, such as the Hoover Dam, which provided jobs and infrastructure. It is perhaps a symbol of how redundant Westminster’s power and influence has become, against the background of the greater power and influence of the private sector, when the kind of investment the UK needs is not driven by government.
This investment in the country’s rail infrastructure is long overdue. It is good for sustainable development and encouraging more use of public transport over cars and short-haul flights. It will provide jobs and training opportunities. It may even encourage some research and development into improving trains and train lines.
And according to this article at least, it will improve the life of the lowly commuter.