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Is the UK economy suffering because of underinvestment in the rail network?

The proposed £34 billion investment in a new London to Scotland rail line, with trains able to travel in excess of 200 mph, has opened up a wider debate regarding the UK transport network. There is no doubt that the transport network is at the heart of any country's economy and the UK is no different. However, we recently experienced the National Express fiasco which saw the company hand back its loss-making rail franchise and there are rumours that other franchisees are struggling to make ends meet.

It seems very much as though the UK transport network development is decided "on the hoof" because one minute various networks have been sold off to franchisees and the next minute the government is looking towards a £34 billion investment. Those who have travelled on rail networks in the likes of France and Japan will have seen totally different systems which are faster, more reliable and more comfortable.

UK train operators are set to be hit in the New Year with fare increases aligned to the rate of inflation which has turned down and depending upon which measurement you use is actually in negative territory. At a time when further investment is needed, restricting any potential ticket price rises seems absolutely crazy.

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