This is a point I made in a previous article. While I believe French high speed rail has inspired so many other countries, it has also taken directions that threatened France's older network of 19th century railways. TGV trains are more expensive, often stop at dedicated stations in the middle of the countryside, and rarely offer convenient connections to regional trains in order to continue your journey. Investments focus on high speed lines, while regional lines die out. Booking platforms also make sure that TGV trains appear as the first option, while sometimes they do not offer more interesting service.
As HS2 will complement an already very dense network in the South of England and the West Midlands, it must connect itself to regional services, and reach large towns and small cities. By copying the French system, HS2 trains would end up calling at Birmingham Interchange, before only reaching Manchester or Liverpool. As the second phase of HS2 is probably decades away, there is a need to take advantage from the high speed opportunity between London and Birmingham, but also to ensure that trains reach more remote locations - either by stopping at places like Crewe, Macclesfield, Warrington in-between, or by even terminating at other locations - in North Wales, the East Midlands, or South Yorkshire for instance. The original railway between London and Birmingham should also remain fully operational to integrate places like Coventry, Milton Keynes, Rugby to this growing network.
This additional funding is exceptional news for the entire North, in order to push towards the completion of electrification progresses, increase capacities in central stations (to ensure that those remain the main railway stations, instead of building new ones outside of towns), and to make way for more regional services for commuter and North-to-North passengers. While funding matters immensely, the next challenge will be for service providers not to turn HS2 into a toll road. Instead, make HS2 a fully integrated highway, a thoroughfare that will open opportunities for North-South and South-North movements whilst not penalising the other infrastructures that once were railway pioneers. Government, as well as regions and cities of the North, must ensure that.
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