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The Direct Link North Proposal – A Master Plan For Transport

A major revision and update of this site is being made. The principal content will be the final version of the Direct Link North Proposal under the title “A Master Plan for Transport”.

A brief outline follows:-

The Direct Link North Proposal

A Master Plan For Transport

The object of the plan is to re-establish a fully integrated efficient national transport system, equivalent to that enjoyed in Britain before the start of the Second World War.

After the War rapid developments in road, air and marine transport left rail behind. Expansion was driven by unconnected forces, each mode followed its own interests and the old integrated order was lost. An unbalanced system resulted with chronic road congestion among its failings.

Road took over an increasing share of the nation’s freight distribution, transferring it away from old railside urban warehouses to chains of roadside warehouses on new greenfield sites served by the spreading motorways. Almost all these sites are inaccessible by rail. Relief for road cannot come until this is corrected by equivalent greenfield railside warehousing, linked by clear tracks for fast railfrieght services.

Passenger needs are not neglected. Long distance High Speed services would integrate with the system if they were based on Britain’s factual needs and not on unrealistic expectations found elsewhere. New rail infrastructure will be needed for this, as for freight. Two separate systems can be avoided by running the tracks side-by-side. An environmentally acceptable route has been established by fieldwork for a minimal spinal system linking all traditional industrial areas to their markets. The outlook for any area excluded would be grim. The spinal system will provide the framework around which the modes can, once again, be drawn together into a harmonious whole with the strengths of each supporting the work of the others.

The Master Plan will be presented in four parts. The first will explain the background to its preparation. The second and longest examines all the factors, direct and indirect, that determined the final outcome. Direct factors include the practical operation of each mode, international traffic, logistic needs and access to services. Less direct factors include population drift, use and misuse of statistics, vested interests and the consequences of human behaviour. When all is drawn together and set in the context of topography and regional needs (with special attention given to London) it dictates the form that the material solution must take. As far as is known no equivalent study has been made before.

Part three presents an outline of the material form of the solution. All areas reached by the spinal system, access for freight and passengers, links with airports and seaports and trackwork details will be given. The exact alignment of the route would be made known only if the proposal were adopted and compensation for intrusion and protection against unwanted land speculation established. Disclosure at this stage could cause unwarranted distress.

To foil attempts to gain unauthorised access to details of the route no electronic record of possible paths were made at any stage during preparation and none will be made prior to general release.

The fourth and final part ties up outstanding issues. These include cost/benefit ratio, finance, caring for the interests of present operators, sequence of construction, further extensions and needs of areas not yet covered.

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