The Conservative Party has released some new plans that include no new runways at Heathrow and Stansted but new high speed rail lines from Heathrow to St. Pancras to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
At first look the ideas make some sense. But it is only when you think about the apparent illogic of serving Heathrow with high speed rail and yet not building an additional runway that the good sense begins to come clear:
Basically the high speed rail links will enable travelers to and from London to use additional airports at Birmingham and, possibly, Manchester. At the same time it is probable that much European traffic from the Midlands and North will divert from air to rail and pass through St. Pancras, thus reducing some travel in and out of Heathrow.
High speed rail will apparently take only 45 minutes from London to Birmingham. That almost puts Birmingham International (BHX) in the same "time-radius" as Gatwick but with the bonus that Birmingham is a much more efficient airport!
Well the plans are a start, at least!