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This is an IELTS Writing Task 2 sample answer related to railway lines from the IELTS Cambridge 12 book of past practice tests.

The question itself isn’t very tricky – should cities invest more in new railway lines or update existing public transport?

But it’s probably not a topic that you have thought a lot about or have very strong opinions on.

No problem, you can still write about it! The key, as always, is to focus on one main idea per paragraph and fully developed support for that one main idea.

If you have more than one main idea, then it will be harder to fully support your answer!

Here are some more sample answers that I wrote.

Dont miss your chance to learn the facts about IELTS and improve your English with my online courses, guaranteed!

Enjoy!

IELTS Examiner Sample Answer from Cambridge 12: Railyway Lines (by Dave)

In a number of countries, some people think it is necessary to spend large sums of money on constructing new railway lines for very fast trains between cities. Others believe the money should be spent on improving existing public transport.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.

Cambridge IELTS 12

Governments must always balance demands for newer modes of transport, including newer railway lines to connect cities, with maintaining current transportation infrastructure. In my opinion, the maintanence of current transport has a greater overall impact although the importance of fast trains will make life more convenient for commuters in the short-term.

The rationale for investing in newer, faster railway lines is that they will make it easier for people to travel between cities. Recent examples of this can be seen in Japan, which is famous for its ‘bullet trains’ that allow residents to traverse the country in a matter of hours. This provides an economic boon by allowing businessmen to travel easily from city to city. Moreover, tourists can also use these trains for convenient transnational travel, thereby making the country more tourist-friendly and helping to expand the industry.

Although I concede the above advantages, the majority of people are served by already existing forms of public transportation. Tourists and businessmen travelling between cities are the exception compared with those travelling inside cities. These travellers rely on buses, subways and city streets to get around. Simple improvements or additions to a subway line impacts millions of people. A new bus route can help workers get to and from work more easily. Even the lowering of fares is a reform that would benefit less affluent travellers.

In conclusion, cities that are more concerned with actual improvements, rather than publicity grabbing headlines, should focus on the most-used forms of public transport. In the future high speed rails may even become redundant as people commute less and transition to jobs based primarily online.

Analysis

1. Governments must always balance demands for newer modes of transport, including newer railway lines to connect cities, with maintaining current transportation infrastructure. 2. In my opinion, the maintenance of current transport has a greater overall impact although the importance of fast trains will make life more convenient for commuters in the short-term.

1. My first sentence repeats the overall topic. Change some words and write this sentence quickly.

2. The second sentence is my opinion – make sure that you opinion is 100% clear!

1. The rationale for investing in newer, faster railway lines is that they will make it easier for people to travel between cities. 2. Recent examples of this can be seen in Japan, which is famous for its ‘bullet trains’ that allow residents to traverse the country in a matter of hours. 3. This provides an economic boon by allowing businessmen to travel easily from city to city. 4. Moreover, tourists can also use these trains for convenient transnational travel, thereby making the country more tourist-friendly and helping to expand the industry.

1. My first sentence is a topic sentence that gives my main idea for this paragraph – it is easier to travel.

2. The second sentence begins my example. Start your example as soon as possible!

3. My third sentence develops the example.

4. The fourth sentence adds how this can help tourists as well as businessmen.

1. Although I concede the above advantages, the majority of people are served by already existing forms of public transportation. 2. Tourists and businessmen travelling between cities are the exception compared with those travelling inside cities. 3. These travellers rely on buses, subways and city streets to get around. 4. Simple improvements or additions to a subway line impacts millions of people. 5. A new bus route can help workers get to and from work more easily. 6. Even the lowering of fares is a reform that would benefit less affluent travellers.

1. My first sentence is a topic sentence explaining that current transport is more important.

2. The second sentence compares this to the main idea from the paragraph below to show contrast.

3. My third sentence supports my main idea by detailing the transport that people in cities use. Be as specific as you can!

4. My fourth sentence explains how improving subways can help.

5. The fifth sentence describes how bus routes can also be helpful – specific!

6. My last sentence adds an additional reform to existing infrastructure that would have a large impact.

1. In conclusion, cities that are more concerned with actual improvements, rather than publicity grabbing headlines, should focus on the most-used forms of public transport. 2. In the future high speed rails may even become redundant as people commute less and transition to jobs based primarily online.

1. My first sentence restates my overall opinion – be sure that you are very clear and don’t sit in the middle!

2. The second sentence gives an extra detail that many IELTS examiners require for band 7 and up.

Sample Answer Vocabulary

What do the phrases highlighted below mean in your own words? Is there a translation in your language?

Governments must always balance demands for newer modes of transport, including newer railway lines to connect cities, with maintaining current transportation infrastructure. In my opinion, the maintenance of current transport has a greater overall impact although the importance of fast trains will make life more convenient for commuters in the short-term.

The rationale for investing in newer, faster railway lines is that they will make it easier for people to travel between cities. Recent examples of this can be seen in Japan, which is famous for its ‘bullet trains‘ that allow residents to traverse the country in a matter of hours. This provides an economic boon by allowing businessmen to travel easily from city to city. Moreover, tourists can also use these trains for convenient transnational travel, thereby making the country more tourist-friendly and helping to expand the industry.

Although I concede the above advantages, the majority of people are served by already existing forms of public transportation. Tourists and businessmen travelling between cities are the exception compared with those travelling inside cities. These travellers rely on buses, subways and city streets to get around. Simple improvements or additions to a subway line impacts millions of people. A new bus route can help workers get to and from work more easily. Even the lowering of fares is a reform that would benefit less affluent travellers.

In conclusion, cities that are more concerned with actual improvements, rather than publicity grabbing headlines, should focus on the most-used forms of public transport. In the future high speed rails may even become redundant as people commute less and transition to jobs based primarily online.

Answers:

balance demands make concessions to make everyone happy

newer modes of transport more recent developments in transportation

maintaining keeping up with

infrastructure roads, buildings, etc.

greater overall impact more effect on

commuters people who travel in to work

short-term in the next few years

rationale reason for

investing putting money into

bullet trains super fast trains

traverse go across

a matter of hours just a short time

economic boon help the economy

transnational across the country

thereby causing

tourist-friendly easy for tourists

concede admit

existing currently available

exception not including

rely depend on

get around travel

subway line the route for the subway

get to and from go to

fares money for travelling on the bus/subway

reform change

less affluent poor

publicity grabbing headlines solely for the good press

most-used high usage

redundant superfluous

transition change to

jobs based primarily jobs located mainly

Pronunciation

ˈbæləns dɪˈmɑːndz 
ˈnjuːə məʊdz ɒv ˈtrænspɔːt
meɪnˈteɪnɪŋ 
ˈɪnfrəˌstrʌkʧə
ˈgreɪtər ˈəʊvərɔːl ˈɪmpækt 
kəˈmjuːtəz 
ʃɔːt-tɜːm
ˌræʃəˈnɑːl 
ɪnˈvɛstɪŋ 
ˈbʊlɪt treɪnz
ˈtrævə(ː)s 
ə ˈmætər ɒv ˈaʊəz
ˌiːkəˈnɒmɪk buːn 
trænzˈnæʃənəl 
ˈðeəˈbaɪ 
ˈtʊərɪst-ˈfrɛndli 
kənˈsiːd 
ɪgˈzɪstɪŋ 
ɪkˈsɛpʃən 
rɪˈlaɪ 
gɛt əˈraʊnd
ˈsʌbweɪ laɪn 
gɛt tuː ænd frɒm 
feəz 
ˌriːˈfɔːm 
lɛs ˈæflʊənt 
pʌbˈlɪsɪti ˈgræbɪŋ ˈhɛdlaɪnz
məʊst-juːzd 
rɪˈdʌndənt 
trænˈsɪʒən 
ʤɒbz beɪst ˈpraɪmərɪli 

Listen and repeat:

Vocabulary Practice

Governments must always _______________ for _______________, including newer railway lines to connect cities, with _______________ current transportation ______________. In my opinion, the maintenance of current transport has a _______________ although the importance of fast trains will make life more convenient for _______________ in the ______________.

The _______________ for _______________ in newer, faster railway lines is that they will make it easier for people to travel between cities. Recent examples of this can be seen in Japan, which is famous for its ‘______________‘ that allow residents to _______________ the country in ______________. This provides an _______________ by allowing businessmen to travel easily from city to city. Moreover, tourists can also use these trains for convenient _______________ travel, _______________ making the country more _______________ and helping to expand the industry.

Although I _______________ the above advantages, the majority of people are _______________ by already _______________ forms of public transportation. Tourists and businessmen travelling between cities are the _______________ compared with those travelling inside cities. These travellers _______________ on buses, subways and city streets to ______________. Simple improvements or additions to a _______________ impacts millions of people. A new bus route can help workers _______________ work more easily. Even the lowering of _______________ is a _______________ that would benefit _______________ travellers.

In conclusion, cities that are more concerned with actual improvements, rather than _______________ , should focus on the _______________ forms of public transport. In the future high speed rails may even become _______________ as people commute less and _______________ to _______________ online.

Listen and check:

Listening Practice

Watch the video below and review the vocabulary and notes from my sample answer. Here are some activities you can use to improve your listening while watching the videos: Improve your Listening.

Reading Practice

Read the article below to review more about Japanese bullet trains:

https://www.japanstation.com/shinkansen-high-speed-train-network-in-japan/

Comment any questions that you have below!


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