Forty-five years since Japan linked its major cities by high-speed rail, and 30 years since France and Italy did the same. It is high time England followed suit.
As Transport Secretary I was committed to electrifying the Great Western Main Line (GWML) from London to Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea, and the lines from Liverpool to Manchester and Manchester to Preston and Blackpool. This is being taken forward by the coalition, but only from London to Cardiff on the GWML.
I also set out ambitious plans for converting motorway hard-shoulders into running lanes to ease congestion, after successful experience of this in a pilot project on the M42 near Birmingham and in the Netherlands.
I continue to campaign for transport improvements in all forms – road, rail, air and cycling. I’m a strong supporter of the Campaign for High Speed Rail.