The United Kingdom has finished its massive £9 billion project to improve the West Coast Main Line track, which runs between London and Glasgow, via Birmingham and Manchester. Through the doubling of some track, the straightening of curves, and the updating of catenaries and tracks, the project allows 125-mph runs throughout the system, which in some areas is a dramatic improvement. While this is not high-speed rail in the continental sense, it will provide big advantages to riders. For instance, non-stop trains between London and Birmingham will run the trip in 1h12, 30 minutes faster than previously. The overall trip between the capital and Glasgow will now take 4h30 instead of 5h20 previously.
The quite extraordinary cost of the project is a bit of a disappointment: the reconstruction of the West Coast Main Line was originally supposed to cost only about £2 billion, but construction cost overruns and complete
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