Writing in his local paper recently, Sir Edward Leigh, MP for Gainsborough, explained why he was worried about the vast sums of money being spent on HS2. He said he’d used his speech on HS2 in the House of Commons to talk about the poor rail provision in his Gainsborough constituency.
“As I pointed out in my speech, if you missed the train from Gainsborough Central to Brigg, you would have to wait a whole week for the next one. The service at Market Rasen is often a single carriage, infrequent, and arriving overcrowded. This does not bode well for those of us trying to get to Newark for a connecting service.
“One of our central worries about HS2 is that it will divert funding away from conventional rail, where the need is clear. To cite just one example, almost all the railway switches in France are heated to make them more impervious to cold – and this in a country much warmer than our own. It may require money, but the long run pay-off in terms of reliability makes it worthwhile. In addition to this, other changes need to be carefully investigated such as improving signalling systems and reducing the number of first-class carriages. Our battle to improve the service whether in our part of Lincolnshire or in the country as a whole continues, and CP5 – Network Rail’s strategic business plan for 2014-2019 – does plan a range of upgrades.”
Supporters of HS2 like to claim that the HS2 funding is separate from the rest of the rail budget. However it is all from coming from the same pot of taxpayers money.
Cancelling HS2 would gave the government a large pot of money available for them to spend on other projects, whether it’s transport projects like rail, bus or bike, money for the NHS or education or even as a way of reducing individuals’ tax bills.