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13.08.12

Motorway route proposed for HS2 by HS1 engineer

The route for HS2 should follow the M40 corridor, an expert who worked on the first high speed rail link has said.

Mark Bostock, an engineer who worked on the CTRL, is calling for Government to learn lessons from this first project and states that there is still time to change plans.

His route proposal would safeguard the Chilterns, connect with Heathrow Airport and save the taxpayer billions, Bostock said. HS2 Ltd believes it would cost far more and impact on a greater number of people. 

Opponents to HS2 have criticised the project’s business case, as well as the damage it will inflict on areas of outstanding natural beauty. Bostock suggested that a station close to Heathrow Airport and a route that surfaces close to the M25 before running along the M40 would minimise disruption and noise. 

An additional station near Bicester, Oxfordshire is also included. His proposal would take up to four minutes longer; but this should not concern passengers he said, accusing the Government of being “obsessed with speed”. 

Bostock said: “I do not believe the officials in charge of HS2 have looked at the idea of utilising the M40 corridor; I have seen no evidence that they have even looked at it. And I find that that very surprising. 

“There is now a body of opinion out there now saying very strongly that we should pause and think whether the current plan is the right way to proceed. Is this the best way to spend a very substantial amount of money? There has been a presumption that the Government assumption is the best. 

“They seem to be obsessed with speed. It is a very old-fashioned view. What we as passengers are looking for is connectivity, certainty, punctuality and comfort. With laptops and iPads, business travellers and other passengers are not so bothered about a few minutes off their journey.” 

A spokesperson for HS2 Ltd responded: “An M40 route would cost £3bn more and affects more population centres, including Gerrard’s Cross, Beaconsfield, High Wycombe and Princes Risborough, which have a combined population in excess of 110,000 people. 

“This would result in unacceptable impacts on communities through major demolitions, severance and noise impacts that could only be reduced through extensive and expensive tunnelling.” 

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

Image c. Jody Morris under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic Licence.

Comments

MJL   30/05/2014 at 16:28

Euston is too congested, Marylebone is too small. Paddington is too far out and yet nearly half of geographical Britain is directed at them. Bring express trains from the Western half of Britain into new underground mainline stations, Heathrow, Paddington, St Pancras, Liverpool Street and maybe more. Leave the capacity created at the old stations for commuter growth. From Bristol and Avon, South Wales, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire etc change at Didcot for Reading, Oxford and South East Coast trains. Miss the Reading stop for the above Inter-city trains. Add express trains from Didcot or Oxford calling at a Pangbourne Parkway Station (for the M4 into Reading etc) Reading and Heathrow (for flights or Crossrail). Divert Intercity trains from the North West of Britain via Old Oak or Didcot into the new underground Stations. Use the tunnelling machines to good effect whilst we still have them and the skilled teams to use them through the Thames Valley clay deposits out to Didcot or even further.

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