ROB Insight is a premium commentary product offering rapid analysis of business and economic news, corporate strategy and policy, published throughout the business day. Visit the ROB Insight homepage for analysis available only to subscribers.
It was the sight of the first Eurostar gliding into London’s Waterloo station in 1994 that started the political row about fast trains. The gleaming, bullet-nosed Alstom locomotive was as sexy a piece of Gallic engineering as ever sashayed down a Paris catwalk, and a world away from the frumpy toy train legacy of British Rail rolling stock. Since then, a political consensus has demanded more infrastructure. Billions were set aside for gleaming steel roads from London to the North, but suddenly and unexpectedly, high-speed rail seems like yesterday’s fashion.