Today 31st October 2001, the Labour Party have announced an alternative route for HS2, the proposed high speed rail link. The proposal is for a direct link to Heathrow, with the line following parts of the M40, before rejoining the currently proposed line somewhere in Warwickshire.

Stop HS2 Campaign Coordinator Joe Rukin said: “For this proposal to come from Labour at this time is quite bizarre and it is highly unlikely that anything will come of it. The results of the public consultation are due in the next month or two, and Labour are now suggesting starting the whole idea for scratch. The strangest thing is of course that the route currently on the table is what the decided was their preferred route when in Government, whilst what they are proposing now is similar to what the Conservatives proposed when in opposition.”

“Moving the route is all well and good but it doesn’t change the fact there is no business case or environmental case, nor does it change the fact we can’t afford it. Wherever it goes, high speed rail is still a project which will only benefit the richest in society. We cannot understand this obsession with using high-speed rail to connecting airports.”

Notes to Editors:

1. For more information contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880 or Penny Gaines on 07765 780553.

2. The Bow Group proposal put forward by The Conservatives whilst in opposition can be found here;

 3. People can sign the petition against HS2 via the Stop HS2 website; or directly at

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  1. No revised estimate of the huge amount extra for the extra cutting and tunneling put forward in the last plan published last December, this will amount to much more than the “odd hundred million”.
    So no objective opinion can be made.
    Hence the scheme with all other factors is a complete no-no.
    Interesting to note that the countries in severist debt in Europe are those with high speed rail. there has been no official study within this realm.
    Hence no=no again.

    • Edward, The HS2 Consultation document Feb 11 states that Route 2.5 was estimated to be about £0.5 billion (£0.8 billion with risk) more expensive than the currently proposed Route 3, and Route 2 was estimated at about £2.5 billion (£4 billion with risk) more expensive. In my opinion that equals an even bigger NO to HS2!

  2. Labour’s recent announcement represents petty politics at its worst by converting the detailed route, rather than the broader principle of High Speed Rail, into a political football – a convenient device to wield against electoral rivals during the General Election period – never mind that Labour originally proposed the very same route they’ve now miraculously had second thought about; never mind that First Past the Post means there can be no effective contest in any of the “Tory Heartland” constituencies bordering the currently proposed route, never mind that any new route raises the spectre of blight for tens of thousands residing in the vicinity of the alternative route proposed – pure unadulterated hypocrisy of the shallowest kind!

    Has anyone even seen a detailed map of the new alternative route?

    Has the new route been costed in terms of potential disruption and time delays – will the new alternative proposed actually increase the already massive capital costs by smashing through a town or two?

    Whilst those in close proximity to the current route (South East of Warwick at least) will doubtless sieze upon this announcement as potential “manna from heaven” what will those residing close to the M40 corridor in the same area be thinking right now – in other words it’s simply taking the problem from one person’s back yard and dumping it on someone else’s doorstep!

    • Stop HS2’s view is quite clear: HS2 is the wrong project for the nation and should be cancelled in its entirity. Simply moving the route a bit here, or a bit there won’t make it a good project.

    • Basically I agree, although I can’t help feeling the Conservatives deserve it for their equally transparent policy of not reviewing or committing to a the Adonis route before the last election. Do politicians really think we are this stupid or am I just too cynical?

    • Many groups and organisations have complained that the original “preferred route” was, even after the alterations made last year, presented by HS2 ltd on behalf of the Government, as a package without sufficient discussion as to the basic scheme and its effect on the environment.

      There was also a frequently repeated suggestion that any new line should follow more closely an existing major transport corridor; both the M.1 and M,40 corridors were suggested as better potential routes than the Amersham -Wendover plan.

      The French Eurostar / TGV line serves Charles de Gaulle Airport and there are plans to link central Paris with Orly Airport “with a station as close to the terminals as possible”; it is hardly surprising that many believe that a direct link to Heathrow is essential in any scheme that might be adopted.

      So, with the suggestion that a rethink of the route might be useful, it is perhaps unfortunate that, rather than engaging in debate as how best to address the problems of access, connection and capacity, in seeking to balance the needs of peak time commuters and long distance travellers, those reacting prefer to snipe and sneer.

      . Why shouldn’ people express a change of heart? Why must it always be attributed to cynical party political point scoring? Isn’t a change of mind what is constantly being called for?

      “Do nothing/ build nothing” is not an option.

      We have a few years to find the” best”- or it may be for some the “least worse” solution, while more immediate improvements already being planned or implemented buy us some time.

  3. I am against HS2 whereever they decide to put it. It is a complete waste of money and we cannot afford to let them put a huge scar through our lovely country. I say NO to this which ever route they decide on.

    I say protect the Shires
    The Hobbit

  4. I think the Conservatives want the hybrid bill passed before the next general election. That way they force the Lib Dems and Labour to take a firm position and take some of the sting out of the issue at election time. It suits Labour to still have the debate ongoing – it may not swing the election result but it’s certainly a major distraction for the Conservatives in constituencies where they would otherwise face little competition.

    A fine balancing act for Labour – be supportive enough not to be seen to jeopardise the project but obstructive enough to delay the final votes until after the election. I thought Maria Eagle’s letter to 51m was a nonsense (see their website).

  5. Maria Eagle’s announcement of Labour’s new policy on a different route is designed to woo the air transport lobby. The way to ensure it does not happen is to stop Labour being re-elected and the much wider swathe of countryside now at risk will bring in many more opponents to HS2 generally.

    StopHS2 could now spread its net of supporters wider to the west.

  6. Campaiging against the current route will obviously encourage others to come up with alternatives. I think the phrase, ‘Be careful what you wish for, it may come true’ applies here.

  7. With current events in europe, the capacity problems that Maria Eagleton envisages (and says justifies this grossly wasteful spending on HS2 and the environmental damage it will cause), may never arise. Far better to go for a gradual increase in capacity using existing lines and watch the european situation closely. I’ve also read that ‘the powers that be’ want to open the financial centre of London up to Indian financial institutions, that there will be a ‘little India financial centre’ within London, using a large number of personnel imported direct from India (millions??). There is this idea that some of the economic growth that India will experience over the next 20 years or so can be shared by Europe, through Indias financial systems working out of London. The powers that be are desperate to open up more international flights into Heathrow, and move people around on highspeed trains. I hope that noone in the department of transport is saying that the proposed highspeed train project is ‘green’. Its actually based on greed.



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