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Yes campaign responds to Johnson

The Yes to High Speed Rail campaign has responded to comments made by Mayor of London Boris Johnson in his official response to the Department for Transport. Johnson stated that aspects of the route were “unacceptable” and expressed his opposition to the project.

He also called for a new tube link at Euston station to deal with the expected increase in passengers if it is used as the HS2 terminus as currently planned.

Professor David Begg, director of the Campaign for High Speed Rail, said in response: “The Government is busy trying to address the north-south divide, so it’s outrageous that Boris is trying to hijack this progress purely to secure more transport spending for London.

“London already receives more transport spending per resident than anywhere else in the country, and the HS2 scheme as it stands will benefit London hugely in terms of jobs and transport infrastructure.”

However, Daniel Moylan, deputy chairman of Transport for London, asserted in a letter printed by the Guardian newspaper that Johnson is trying to improve, rather than oppose HS2. London Underground must be able to cope with the extra arrivals if HS2 is to succeed, he said.

He wrote: “It will definitely mar the high-speed rail passenger experience if, having saved an hour on a journey from Leeds to London, you then find you have to wait half an hour at Euston before being let on to the Victoria line because London Underground cannot cope with the extra arrivals. Yet this is what Transport for London’s initial figures show will be the case if a new tube line is not built to relieve Euston, once the proposed high-speed service goes beyond Birmingham. Instead of resorting to manufactured outrage, the proponents of HS2 should address TfL’s calculations with evidence of their own. They should also admit that when Boris Johnson says this, he is not seeking to undermine high-speed rail (the principle of which he supports): he is trying to make it work.”

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