Stoke on Trent City council announced a couple of days ago that they are going to bid for station on the HS2route: it’s expected to pass close to them.
The question is, would they get one?
Way back in November, David Cameron listed in the Telegraph the places where they planned HS2 stations –
“We can’t put a stop in every constituency – the whole point about high-speed rail is that it’s got to go fast.
“So, it’s going to stop in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, with one or two extra stops along the way – no more.”
However, the current consultation documents already show two extra stops, in “South Yorkshire” and “East Midlands”.
So it looks like the extra stops have already been chosen – or the people there are being misled by the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd.
And lets face it, HS2 Ltd rejected Milton Keynes for a station, because too many people would use it. Then they rejected the route that would pass near Milton Keynes, making any bid for a station from Milton Keynes impossible to succeed.
Instead, when they selected the route that passed close to Aylesbury Vale Parkway station, they rejected building a station near Aylesbury because too few people would use a station there.
Maybe Stoke on Trent has the precise number of potential users that makes it a suitable candidate in HS2 Ltd’s eyes.
But even then, they shouldn’t rely on Philip Hammond’s support. He told one of the local Staffordshire papers “I don’t operate in a world where people only support a piece of national infrastructure if there’s something in it for them.”
And as for the East Midlands stop, suggested for between Derby and Nottingham. I suspect if the people of Derby were asked whether they’d want a station in twenty years time, which might heal the “north-south divide”, or jobs building Thameslink trains now, they pick the jobs now.