What’s next to HS2? Comparisions with HS1

The following information comes from a banner at one of the HS2 consultation roadshows. You can also download a PDF containing the information from the Department for Transport.

The 140 miles of the proposed HS2 route includes

  • 56 miles in cuttings including deep cuttings
  • 18 miles in tunnels, including green tunnels
  • 53 miles at ground level or on embankments
  • 12 miles on viaducts
  • 34 miles alongside existing railway or road corridors.

Readers who check these figures will spot that the DfT’s numbers add up to 173 miles, not 140 miles.

The most likely explanation is that where HS2 is next to “existing railway or road corridors” it may also be next to a viaduct or an embankment etc. Many of these roads are single carriageways, like the A413 near Great Missenden.

So 52 miles of HS2 is either in tunnel or next to a road or rail corridor1. That’s 37% of the HS2 route.

Compare this to HS1, where 85% of the route was in tunnel or next to a railway or trunk road, including the M20 and the M26 and other duel carriageways.

A significant proportion of the route crosses tranquil open countryside, sites of special scientific interest and woodland at ground level or on embankments and viaducts – but can you easily find those numbers on the DfT website?

1: 18 miles of tunnel and 34 miles of road/rail = 52 miles

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13 comments to “What’s next to HS2? Comparisions with HS1”
  1. Two important points:
    4 station – Heathrow Wormwood scrubs, Birm Airport, Birm new street
    2 Cities: London – Birmingham

    HS2 will have very little benefit outside these two cities, in fact it will have little benefit inside these two cities.
    Indeed it will destroy the environment in-between and will have a negative effect on surrounding towns and villages.

    Quick pitch for Maglev – All of HS2’s claimed benefits of a greener economy and an end to the north-south divide apply even more so to Maglev, it is faster, greener, and more flexible.
    Maglev can make it happen!
    I just thought you might want to know that, Gary I know you’re watching!

    • i am watching also luke !

      i will refute your comments instead of gary this time as he maybe doesnt want to as he has done it so many times before. firstly, however as far as this story is concerned, hs1 and hs2 are in different places. in kent it was possible to route hs1 near motorways but in the chilterns it isnt suitable. the route through kent was also constrained by minor obstacles like greater london and maidstone and the river Medway !

      i find it interesting that hs2 critics always seem to leave some of the details out or misrepresent them in some way. for example, you say hs2 will link two cities and have four stations. that is correct in some ways for stage 1 of hs2 but otherwise it isnt valid especially when it is extended to leeds and manchester.

      the four stations you mention are of course the new stations that will be built. but we all know that through trains will run over hs2 FROM DAY ONE through to other cities in the north. anyone who read your comments and didnt know better would not realise this so it is up to supporters of hs2 to correct misleading statements.

      You say that London and Birmingham wont benefit but that isnt what their representatives think otherwise they wouldnt be lobbying for it. also you say that hs2, which is 22 metre wide, is somehow going to destroy the entire area ! but you then suggest maglev ! people are going mad about 240 mph trains so your alternative is a 400 mph maglev. i would think that would be noisier and use more energy than would hs2.

      so instead of a 240 mph railway with some tunnels and cuttings, lets built a double that speed maglev !
      any maglevs i have seen are constructed above ground on huge concrete viaducts ! so how is maglev better then hs2 ? you certainly cant run a maglev on other lines so anyone going past the end of the maglev would have to change onto an ordinary train.

      • We keep on being told not to worry as HS2 will only be 22m wide. According to the official docs that is at ground level, where it is in cutting or on viaducts the “land take” will be more. Plus of course the 25m controlled vegetation zone on either side, where land may well be permanently changed from what went before.

        And HS2 Fact sheet HSRFCT14, tells us that “we expect to create a construction road along the proposed railway line to be used, wherever possible, instead of local roads”. This would be on top of the 22m as they can’t drive on the track.

        So even if, after building, we end up with 22m + 25m on each side being controlled the destruction of the natural environment to construct Hammond’s toy will cover a wider area.

        They go on to state “Inevitably, a project of this scale would have some impact on local road traffic during construction. However our aim would be to minimise the effect by only using roads of a suitable width and those capable of taking the traffic. In some instances this might require local road improvements.”

        It will be interesting to see the “road improvements” at Water Orton where HS2 is to go over the existing motorway bridge over the existing road. Triple Decker!

        • I asked one of the staff at the Brackley exhibition how much extra land would need to be taken during the construction phase. “Oh, about 50m each side.”, was the straight forward response. So how long would the construction phase last in any given area? “Where it’s just a case of constructing the line and a few bridges [as around Brackley], about 2 years.” What of construction traffic? Well that would likely be restricted to the line of the route with limited access points perhaps 10km appart allowing construction vehicles onto trunk roads, such as A43, only, hence the posible extra 100m take during construction.

          I noted on the presentation boards that in order to protect wildlife, particularly birds, they’re planning not to carry out any construction work during the breeding season. The array of boards at Brackley was far more comprehensive than those that I’d seen at Greatworth and Calvert. I did attempt to take a photo of those words, but was politely asked not to take photos of the presentation as all the information was in the 70+ leaflets available. Not found any reference to that particular promise yet, but it does seem like a very odd thing to do, literally stop building for a third of the year. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other building project stop while the birds nest. No wonder it’d take so long to build.

          I was also intrigued that some of the route map differed from that available online. Of particular note to me was at the exhibition the track appears to actually cut through Halse Copse (a small wood north of Brackley), but the online maps show it as barely clipping the southernmost corner. At that stage I was being watched and did not attempt to take another photo.

        • Abee, the service road is Within the 22m fenced strip, offset to one side of the tracks,

          This is clearly set out in the consultation paper “HS2 Railway Cross -Section” from the HS2 roadshows.

          The actual track bed which supports the twin tracks is “up to 11.5m” wide.

          The tracks themselves are slightly further apart than on a “conventional” line, an extra width of about 1.5m between them so as to allow for the greater passing speeds; but all of this still within the 22m strip.

          Where the line would run in cutting or on embankment the resulting banks “would be landscaped and grassed or planted with vegetation…appropriate in any particular location”,not a bare or concrete strip, as some would have you believe.

      • Nick – does your help in “misleading statements” include the assertion that HS2 will stop at Stafford as on the Yes website?

        Puzzled looks from DfT staff yesterday at Lichfield about that. They say HS2 trains will only stop at Manchester, Liverpool, E. Mids, S Yorks and Leeds.

        • i dont know myself whether or not trains will stop at stafford but there is no reason why they could not. i am not part of any website or pressure group so cant speak for them. however if there is anything misleading on either side of this debate i would be critical.

  2. Part of the so called existing rail line is the old Central line, closed for 60 years. Part now has wild boar living on it (waiting for Adonis) and many mini nature reserves that you can barely get through on foot but certainly not ‘transport’.

  3. # 56 miles in cuttings including deep cuttings
    # 18 miles in tunnels, including green tunnels

    Or put another way……over 50 % of the route is not actually visible at ground level, which is more than can be said for the WCML. ECML and MML currently.

    • Is that like closing your eyes and thinking you’re invisible? Just because it’s in a cutting or tunnel doesn’t stop it actually being there.

      • Bit like Motorways eh Alex? And of course electicity pylons, which simply cannot be disguised or blended in whatsoever……

        Of course, railways in cuttings and tunnels is nothing new, we have miles of that just up the road from where I live in the peak district, a well known area of outstanding beauty.

        • Yep – just like motorways and pylons. I hate all this change the subject nonsense. Motorways and pylons and any other landscape altering construct of the 20th century already exist, and there’s sod all we can do about it. We can try to do all we can to stop HS2. Just because we crapped all over the planet last century doesn’t mean we have to continue to do so.

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