High Speed Rail
It’s not expected to be ready until 2040, but what benefits can sports fans expect to see upon HS2’s completion? The most obvious benefit is that it should make it much easier to attend sporting events further from home. By linking many major cities through high-speed rail, travel times should be reduced, helping more of us enjoy the high-quality, live sport.
Football is the most obvious sport that will benefit from a highspeed network of trains running up and down the country. Any given weekend, there are tens of thousands of football fans travelling around the country to support their team, and HS2 can drastically shorten their travel times. Think of all those poor Newcastle fans who are constantly having to travel to the South of England to watch their team – HS2 could make a big difference for them. It should also mean more people travelling on low carbon-emitting trains and free up space on busy motorways benefiting travelers up and down the country. Another group of people to remember are the players and staff themselves. For longer journeys, the clubs will generally fly to their destination, but if HS2 can make travel quicker and more efficient, it might provide these teams with more eco-friendly travel options.
Another sport that regularly sees tens of thousands of people travelling up and down the country is horse racing. Not only do significant events such as the Grand National pull in crowds of 70,000 odd people, but all around the country, smaller events are going on too. This means lots of people travelling on the roads, often stuck in traffic jams, and spending more time travelling than they need to be. While the HS2 project won’t be affecting the horses, it should allow fans to travel in comfort with much shorter journey times.
Nothing beats a summer of cricket, and in the international game, the action is spread out between a select few stadiums, particularly for test matches. If HS2 can speed up travel between cities like Manchester and London, then it would make it much more accessible to attend more matches. When there’s such huge interest and only a few matches each summer, improved transport options can make a big difference for people hoping to attend and mean a wider variety of people can watch top-level cricket games.
Our international sports events tend to be concentrated in London. This makes sense because it is our major transport hub, which is handy when you’ve got large numbers of athletes flying in from around the world. The better our transport to and from London is though, the more we can share these competitions out around different regions and bring the international sport to people who otherwise might not experience it. We’re always encouraging young people to take up a sport, and perhaps, with improved transport, we can inspire them by bringing more high-level sport to their area.