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Examination of Witnesses

Part of High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 11th July 2013.

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Nicola Shaw: At one level, whatever we do will not be right, because things will change over time. What I have learnt, in the way that we operate UK railways, is that we want everything: we want high-speed railways to do low-speed things as well. So what we do with High Speed 1 is operate domestic trains that run all the way along High Speed 1 and then go off on to the classic network and operate on different things. We are going to do exactly the same on High Speed 2.

That is completely different from the mode of operation of high-speed railways in the rest of the world, where they only run on the high-speed network. That is how people get punctuality and how they get high-frequency services. We ask our high-speed railways to do a lot more, so we are always at the cutting edge of these things, which is great, because it enables the people of the UK to use the system in the way that they want. It means that they do things differently in other places. Whatever we do, we will not get exactly the right answer, although we are looking hard at the question and trying to identify a pragmatic and good way forward.