How to run more trains on the UK network: Is it possible to build more train lines?

Dan and Bex from Fun Kids find out more!

Although the digital railway of the future will help make the best use of the networks we have, it’s likely that new lines will also need to be built.

Bex and Dan find out more in our podcast series all about Britain’s railway renovations!

As the railway network has a limited number of routes and lines, when a train breaks down, it affects lots of other trains.

Building new lines is certainly a solution to the problem but doing that takes a long time – and they’re very expensive.

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New lines might include building a flyover at key junctions to remove a bottleneck. This will help speed up journeys as trains would not have to wait their turn at the signals.

Or it could be building new lines between cities to help passengers and freight get around more quickly, like the high speed line linking London with the Channel Tunnel, and that proposed to link London with the North…

Building new lines also frees up space on the existing lines so that more local trains could run, picking up passengers at towns along the route.

The extra space also helps more freight trains to run, taking lorries off the roads!

It’s not just new lines across the country that would help. New underground and tram lines help people get to work in large cities and shoppers to get into the high streets.

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All of this takes some careful planning. After all, no one wants a railway line going through their school or house – and there are protected habitats where building just isn’t allowed.

The landscape affects how new lines are built – and if they can be built at all. High speed trains can’t run super fast around tight corners or go up and down steep hills.

Viaducts and tunnels can be used to get through these obstacles but they cost a lot more money than surface tracks and many places aren’t safe for tunnelling because of flooding or the vibrations that the underground trains will cause to buildings in the area.

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As you can see planners have a lot to think about.

A wide range of people are involved in planning where new lines will be built. Transport modellers look at how people the railways and try to predict how this will change in the future.

Then there are are lots of different types of engineers who’ll be involved. Some are civil engineers who understand how railways lines fit around existing buildings. Others are geotechnical engineers – specialists in things like tunnelling.

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Find out more about Britain’s railways!

Bex and Dan from Fun Kids learn all about the future of Britain’s railways, from signals to trains and tracks, in this new podcast series!

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Kids Guide to Trains: Britain's Digital Railways

Bex and Dan learn all about the future of Britain's railways, from signals to trains and tracks!


Explore all the free Fun Kids podcasts!

Download a series to listen to on your phone, tablet or in the car!


Britain’s Digital Railways, in association with the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious scheme

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