Rail in the South: the Day After the Day After

It was almost predictable that, as soon a major rail investment scheme for the North of England was announced, a ‘counter-bid’ from the South would be clamouring for decision makers’ attention.

– BBC Crossrail extension to Hertfordshire being considered

– Telegraph Crossrail could run to Hertfordshire

– DfT statement here

So it’s ‘the Crossrail of the North’ versus Crossrail 2. But the difference now is that at least the London scheme has a counter-balancing competitor to force a more complex set of assessments and judgements into the policy mix and that, thanks to Evan Davis’ acute question to Chancellor George Osborne on the Today programme just the day before, this complexity has been immediately acknowledged at the highest level:

”I hope we don’t have to make a choice between the two,’ he said. ‘I think the real choice in our country is actually spending money on this big economic infrastructure, trans-Pennine rail links, Crossrail 2 in London and the like, and spending money on, for example, welfare payments which are not generating either a real economic return and at the same time, are trapping people in poverty.”