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29.01.13

Concerns and disappointment raised over HS2 route

Not everyone has welcomed the Government’s announcement of the proposed route of the second phase of HS2.

Travelling up through the East Midlands and Sheffield to Leeds, and through Stoke-on-Trent and Crewe to Manchester, there are winners and losers in this route plan.

The project is “fundamentally flawed”, Stop HS2 has stated.

Others are campaigning about the damage to green land and residential areas, which they say will be significantly affected by construction. Others are demanding changes to the route, which misses out their cities and towns.

Some, like the Campaign for Better Transport, are calling for greater investment in the local rail systems which will have to join up with HS2. Chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “HS2 can't be planned in isolation – it needs to be linked to the rest of the transport network and to wider plans.”

He added: “We are however concerned about some local impacts such as ‘parkway’ stations, and will be asking the Government to reconsider some of the station proposals announced today so they can link better with urban areas and existing railways.”

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said: “The Government talks about jobs, and regenerating the north, but in reality, high speed rail projects elsewhere have sucked jobs to the capital cities, away from the regions. HS2 focuses on long distance journeys, when the main passenger growth is in regional and local areas.”

She called the project “fundamentally flawed”, criticising it as “London-centric”, for its extension of the London commuter belt further north.

“Proponents of HS2 don’t seem to realise that people can already live anywhere in the UK and telecommute to anywhere else in the world, and before HS2 is due to open, this will be even easier. It’s yet another example of outmoded thinking that ignores digital technologies, which will be the real wealth and job creator in the 21st century.”

James Ramsbotham, chief executive of the North East Chamber of Commerce, said: “I’m disappointed that there isn’t a clear commitment at the moment to bring high speed rail all the way through to Newcastle. We will continue to campaign to get high speed rail all the way through the north to Scotland. Without that we are slightly left in the slow lane.”

Cllr Paul Shotton, deputy leader of Stoke-on-Trent council, called for the dedicated link planned for Crewe to be repositioned between Junctions 15 and 16.

He said: “We feel this proposal has several benefits over the one published today and would see both the North Staffordshire urban conurbation and Crewe come out as winners.

“Having a station between Junctions 15 and 16 would be less expensive, less damaging to the environment and will have less need for tunnelling.

“It would also provide good links to the existing motorway network, encouraging drivers to switch to the train and reduce traffic on the motorway.”

Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Image c. djim

Comments

Mikeyb   29/01/2013 at 15:35

Whilst in favour of HS2, I wonder how locations away from the proposed route will benefit. For instance, it is said that Liverpool will be linked by a junction "south of Wigan" but does not say exactly where. Will trains from London join the Chat Moss line near Newton-le-Willows or take the route via St Helens Central to Lime Street? The latter option would be a long way round! Another alternative would be to expand that part of the WCML between Winsford and Weaver Junction into four tracks, in order to speed up services via Runcorn. Also, unless Crewe - Chester - Holyhead is electrified, North Wales will be totally left out on a limb.

GLC   01/02/2013 at 12:49

High Speed rail services should have been built in the UK during the 1980s . In my view there is a significant flaw in the feeder services to maximise the benefit of the proposed high speed routes. The ICE services operated by Germany's DB have shown the value of high speed trains services running on both dedicated high speed lines and the existing network. For example ICE Services linking the Lower Rhineland and Ruhr district to Berlin run on existing standard tracks to maximise passenger pick up and set down points in the heavily populated areas of Nord Rhein Westfalen before picking up the dedicated high speed network near Hannover. To maximise the benefit of HS2 the German template of through running beyond the dedicated high speed network will be essential to maximise the value and revenue stream of HS2. A High Speed link in the North (i.e. Sheffield to Manchester (Reopening and upgrading the former Woodhead route !) could enable both the HS2 Leeds and Manchester routes to operate a valuable complimentary northern link within HS2. Otherwise HS2 will become something akin to Eurostar's present limited destination operations.

Jb   13/06/2014 at 18:59

The inescapable solution would be to scrap HS2 and re-open and upgrade the ex GCR route from London to Sheffield and Manchester utilising formerly existing connections, minimising disturbance to the present environment and saving a lot of money!

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