HS2 will bring no benefits to North
Dear Sir, — The arguments to complete the HS2 project continue, even though the majority want rail modernisation in other areas of the North.
Our money would be best spent on the Pennine link from Manchester to Leeds and Liverpool. Support the North through building this link and modernising our present system. Take notice of Andrew Gilligan, the transport advisor, and axe HS2 in the South and use the cash in the North. The £108bn budget could be diverted to rail services in the new Tory “heartlands”.
In addition, the report that is to give HS2 the green light has been disowned by its co-author. After all, why admit to failure through renationalising Northern Rail but not address the other failures of our systems in the North?
Boris is reputed as saying: “We’re in a hole with HS2 so let’s keep digging.” Is he referring to the grave that will deny the North its rightful place in the UK?
Electrification and track improvements would improve the North–South divide. Lancashire MP Jake Berry said that the East–West divide was more of a priority, as he could get a train from Stockport to London, arriving in London one hour and 53 minutes later, but if he were to travel to Leeds, he would choose his car.
Cheshire East is also encouraging public opinions on the proposed Crewe hub, but why, when the rolling stock will operate on existing track? Why not adapt the existing station to cope with HS2?
I would not mind so much but, according to many users, the London link from Crewe, especially by the Pendolino, has a completely acceptable journey time.
Trains bound for the North West (e.g. Crewe) are crowded until they reach Milton Keynes, when they virtually become empty. The trains going to Euston from Crewe become packed at Milton Keynes.
How many people will use HS2 in the NW and how many could afford the fares, especially if they want to arrive mid-morning? I respectfully suggest very few.
As for the loss of jobs with the scrapping of HS2, the East–West and Northern projects would provide jobs to train and up-skill the next generation and would be less costly. And, as the HS2 train/rolling stock could use the existing track, we should concentrate on improving and maintaining the existing network.
Our existing system does have speed restrictions on it and a geologist associated with Mid Cheshire Against HS2 has rightly mentioned that the proposed route across the Cheshire salt region requires a rethink. After all, speed restrictions apply in these regions of the existing railway, so HS2 would be subject to these restrictions, as our legacy salt, brining and mining has been continuous for centuries.
Other articles have said that the HS2 tunnel is a risk to rare chalk streams that provide rare, valuable and irreplaceable habitats for wildlife by damaging the aquifer in the Chilterns. Even Robin Hood’s grave is in danger.
The solution to the problems on our railways will not be solved but escalated, by HS2. The problems have, unfortunately, been further escalated by a recent decision to approve the high-speed rail network to Birmingham. This network will not benefit or improve the Northern Powerhouse, as the link between Birmingham and London is adequate, especially if the network is maintained and improved to cope with the new high-speed trains. The greatest demand is between Milton Keynes and London.
Please listen to the vast majority of constituents and abolish HS2. — Yours faithfully,