Too hard to go to Scotland?

Theresa Viliers visited Newcastle on Friday to promote HS2 at a meeting reported by the local paper, the Journal.

Her view was that “there is a really strong case for extending the line through the North East to Scotland.”

But in reply to the question “Why is the Government not already building the line from Scotland? You could start on both sides of this line and bring real benefits.” the answer was “trying to get a bill through Parliament for just the London to Birmingham extension was difficult enough, without adding to that the greater problems of a nationwide line.

So the case for a line to Scotland is “really strong”, but it would be too difficult to get it through Parliament?

Why might it be so hard?

Is it the cost? £33 billion just to get to Manchester and Leeds.  How much more would it cost to go to Scotland?

Is it the time it would take?  The high speed tracks won’t reach Manchester until the 2030s – would they get to Scotland before the 2040s?

Or is it that the government think some of the current supporters would melt away if the saw the plans extend all the way to Scotland.

Some of the people who currently support it are doing so because they think they will get the benefits of a local station.  A typical view is this one, expressed by Tim Garrett, one of the signatories of a letter to the Financial Times supporting HS2.

“But I have another view – a station in Nottingham will put us on the map. It will encourage visitors here. We need this – we need, at the same time, to capitalise on Robin Hood (and I hope to have more on that at a later date!).”

Would people like him be so supportive if they knew Nottingham, or Newcastle, or Carlisle or Sheffield was bypassed?  Because at the moment, there is no certainty that the route for the Y section will include a station in or near Nottingham, or Newcastle, or Carlisle, or Sheffield.

The government have said there will be at most one or two more stations on the entire network from London to Scotland.

Until they make it known where those stations might be, all the city councils of potential sites have a reason for supporting HS2.  But as soon as the Government lists the actual places that will be served, that reason will go for many of those councils.

And then, like Coventry has done, those cities might join the opposition to HS2…

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8 comments to “Too hard to go to Scotland?”
  1. Jim Stear (AKA Greengauge 21 Pro HS2 Lobby) has previously presented that there would be little business modal switch from air for a journey of more than 3 hours

    London – Glasgow / Edinburgh is 3½ hours according to the consultation doc

  2. Carlisle MP Mr John Stevenson, could put something about lobbying for a stop for the high speed train on his web-site. So everyone in the world knew he was campaining in his very marginal seat for a stop. But as I said before he has lost the battle, as the official consultation diagram does not show the high speed classic train stopping in the Constituency of Carlisle.

    Mr John Stevenson is lobbying, he says on his web-page, for the new franchise for the West Coast Main Line in regard to Carlisle. He can be contacted on 01228-550684, but he only gives the House of Commons switchboard as his contact number in our Parliament. I guess Carlisle could have a HS2 protest group.

    • Not quite sure why he is lobbying for the new franchise on WCML which starts in 2012 – the spec is pretty much the same as is now for Carlisle – in other words, business as usual. There are a number of bidders for this franchise – one of them interestingly enough is a joint bid from SNCF French Railways.

      There was also an interesting interview on the Andrew Marr Census programme at the tail end of last week……it was discovered from census info that a lot of French businesses had set up in London over the last few years, indeed someone described London as Frances 5th city. An interview with a French business owner in London revealed 2 reasons why she had come to London. The first being it was easier to set up in England than it was in France due to red tape …..the second was……Eurostar !!!

    • He’s spoken in Parliament and been quoted in his local paper in favour of a high speed stop in Carlisle.

  3. I have to admit that this is where my views start to differ from the HS2 proposals……..

    My own view is that the new line ( which I know we absolutely need because of capacity issues ) should really include some more stations/parkways. A theroetical maximum of 20 trains per hour heading North from London should be achievable on a new line – remember there will be no level crossings, flat junctions etc ….and no lineside signals. I cannot see a reason why a service pattern cannot be introduced which serves every stop , but not with every train…which means we can still keep the max design speed buit in to any service.

    I mentioned lineside signals, which really are old technology nowadays…..I couldnt help but notice the issues caused on the ECML yesterday when a software issue knocked out a IECC which turned all signals to a right side failure.

  4. Carlisle is already by-passed with no station. Please look at “Economic Case for HS2″ – Appendix. ” Figure A1 – Service specification for HS2″. The Glasgow to Euston route, does not stop between Glasgow Central and Preston.

    • I think you are reading much too much into the diagram. Trains coming onto/off HS2 and running from/to Glasgow will have to pass through a number of stations north of Preston, some more significant than others: the simplest explanation is that to show them all would make the diagram too large and complex when the purpose is to show how the HS2 phase 1 and phase 2 ‘Y’ option services might work if built – the detail is not needed. So not a bypass as such: the diagram indicates existing WCML so Carlisle station will still be there!

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