A couple of interesting (in a HS2-interesting sort of way) videos have caught my attention recently.
The first is from a BBC report about the HS2 summit organised by Bucks CC in April. In the second part of the report, they have an interview with Hugh Jaeger from Thames Valley Rail Future. He is opposed to the HS2 proposal on the grounds that is the wrong route at the wrong speed.
In particular, he says that the then Labour Government insisted that the route should go through Old Oak Common to provide a link to Heathrow: Hugh says that this doubles the amount of tunnel and adds £1 billion to the cost, even though only 1.4% of HS2 passengers would be going to Heathrow.
He also talks about the route of HS2: in this case he points out that the HS2 analysis shows a huge business case for stopping at Milton Keynes. However, he says, this was the wrong answer for HS2 Ltd: they didn’t want it to stop there, so came up with some sleight-of-hand reasoning to change the route.
But there is another major criticism of the way the route is planned. Many people in favour of high speed rail talk about how HS2 could be part of the continental high speed rail network. To do this it has to join up with HS1. But when HS2 Ltd were coming up with the design for the route of HS2, they did not include this link in their original plans, almost as if they had forgotten it.
So when looking at HS2 Consultation Question 4, maybe it’s worth asking why HS2 Ltd constrained the route like this? – to exclude a station which many thousands of people would use every day and add in a station used by a very small percentage of passengers? And why ignore the very obvious need for a connection to HS1.