A super-fast link to capital
is probably wishful thinking

European workers including nurses, social workers and teaching assistants protest outside the Houses of Parliament in London before lobbying MPs over their right to remain in the UK.  Picture: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

RICK JACKSON: Why aren’t we on the streets protesting about Brexit?

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Anyone who uses the train to get to work in London or Southampton from Portsmouth will doubtless back Flick Drummond’s call for a new fast service to both.

But they are not really the people she’s concerned about.

Those the Tory MP for Portsmouth South is thinking of are the future workers who might chase jobs in Portsmouth and only be convinced it’s a city worth coming to if they can get here quickly by train.

There’s no doubting that her figure of £400m investment in both routes would be welcome, but where on earth would such a sum come from? And how could it be justified?

The Portsmouth-Waterloo route is not the main line to London. That belongs to Southampton. Our line is full of topographical reasons why times between us and the capital have never been cut to less than an hour. Things like hills and bends.

Perhaps Mrs Drummond’s call yesterday stands more luck on the Portsmouth-Southampton line which, with all its niggly stops is akin to a tram service. Those frequent halts must drive commuters into their cars and on to the clogged M27.

One thing’s for certain: the time it takes to get a relatively short distance by rail into or out of this area has hardly changed since the age of steam and should be examined urgently if this region’s economy is to flourish.

One such move was approved in principle yesterday by Hampshire County Councillors – the long-awaited and controversial £35m Stubbington by-pass.

It’s a decision we support because of the help it should bring to the regeneration of Gosport and the alleviation of some of the nightmare that is the A32.

We just hope the cash-strapped authority can find that 
amount of money from somewhere soon.