Did they read the letters they signed?

On Friday, a series of letters organised by the Campaign for HSR were published in several different newspapers.

It’s another in a set of statements we’ve seen from them, touting things which sound like they might be true, but are completely made up. Internationally, high speed rail has been a disaster, Portugal and Poland have just last month cancelled their programmes and in France even the President of SNCF, Guillaume Pépy has said “We risk having longer and longer high-speed lines which are used less and less.” We are not lagging behind other countries as journey times in the UK are already shorter than our European competitors.

HS2 will create a fraction of the jobs which could be generated by spending on other areas and we won’t see any of that employment for decades and the cost is simply too great. Business leaders in the north should be more interested in improving local transport links than dreaming of the service they will get in the first class section of HS2.

We do need improvements to infrastructure, but you can deliver more benefits to more people more quickly for less money by upgrading the existing rail lines. This is simply a much better option than building the fastest, most expensive railway in the world. High Speed Rail does nothing for the vast majority of rail users, but they will end up having to pay for it and we know the final cost will be well above the £33bn price tag.

High Speed Rail is a 19th century solution to a 21 st century problem. If we really want to create jobs, revolutionise the economy and get ahead of competitors, we need to be investing a fraction of the amount that could be wasted on HS2 on high speed broadband, that is the future and a strong lobby from those with vested interests in the construction of HS2 should not be allowed to dictate policy.”

No doubt the people who signed these letters did so in good faith, perhaps aware that an early Campaign for HSR fundraising dinner was attended by Philip Hammond. But its a shame that they didn’t spend longer checking high speed rail out for themselves before they agreed to put their names to the letter.

Campaign for HSR appeal for signatures

Screenshot of the request for signatures by the Campaign for HSR

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8 comments to “Did they read the letters they signed?”
  1. Dear Protestors,

    I live in Orpington, Kent but wanted to sign your petition as am fed up with people who protest just being dismissed as Nimbys. I think it is a disgrace that they will be destroying countryside and throwing people out of their homes and what for? Twenty minutes each way London to Birmingham? Why should 20 minutes make so much difference to employment? What will happen to the hotels if business travellers do not stay there as this 20 minutes is going to be such a transformation of business travel? Maybe the Government is looking to reap money from giving away lucrative contracts (saying this without prejudice and only using maybe…!!).

    We all need the countryside, if the Government decide to do this despite it being so unpopular, it will be able to do anything. Where I live used to be a greenbelt area, but it has been built on and built on over time, until there is practically nothing left. This will happen in all areas and we all need to protest against the HS2 to stop the Government thinking it can treat local people so appallingly. We should all be looking after our countryside.

    Otherwise the Government will think.
    Sod paradise put in high speed rail network …

  2. I have just visited the Yes to HS2 website and I am frankly staggered by the wishful thinking they try to present as facts. Their headline claim that it will create 1 million jobs is frankly laughable as is the assertion by the head of Volterra that HS2 will magically transform the growth prospects of cities outside London. How on earth 100 miles of railway track will achieve this dual miracle is not clearly explained. This is an expensive train set we’re talking about not the second coming.

  3. It now looks as if we are to be ignored. The only hope of reversing that is to NOW initiate the De-selection of all MPs who support the HS2 scheme, and its expenditure. MONEY NOT SPENT DOES NOT HAVE TO BE RAISED IN TAXES leaving us all better off. Some lesser amounts could be better spent restoring our roads and upgrading existing transport, WITH LESS DISRUPTION TO BUSINESS AND GB LTD IN GENERAL. Why do the Pro-HS2 still act as if money grows on trees? THE WEALTHY ARE THE WRONG PEOPLE TO MAKE THESE DECISIONS. People who have served us best are those who invented new things on a shoe string, at least cost until they could afford to invest more. Those with least always get more for less. That is the Character of Britain that made us Great, and which we need to foster again. As a retired (Almost 80 year old) I can assure you this Anti-HS2 group is more on sound lines than the Advocates of it. New Year Resolution: Up the Anti, and show we are not going to tolerate this proposed White Elephant for anyone!! MOVES MUST BE MADE IN HOURS RATHER THAN DAYS.

    • I doubt that the present estimate of £30 odd billion now bears any relationship to the final cost of the HS2 project especially as it excludes the Heathrow Link.
      I doubt that the eventual contract will be given to a UK based consortium and in consequence I very much doubt that the majority of the workforce will be English resident citizens paying tax from the earnings generated.
      Surely AT THIS POINT IN TIME such expenditure and more of it would be better for our economy, our prosperity our health and our future if it were spread throughout our country on updating local Victorian infrastructure and repairing our existing transport system using local work force and hence putting money and local people into local jobs into their local economies.
      The problem is bringing it to the attention of the taxpaying public at large.
      Why do you think MPs in constituencies along the route are against it? Is that their personal view? Or are they promoting and protecting the interests of the public who voted them into office. And so it should be throughout the country. Do you think the public at large would prefer a super fast rail line catering for the affluent few or major updating of their local services using the local workforce whose income would then be spent locally to the benefit of the community as whole? Our local MPs listened and understood our plea and acted accordingly knowing full well that to ignore our concerns would bode ill for them come the general election when they might lose their job. I think it is clear that the majority of the press are against the expenditure at this time and for the first time the nation as a whole is beginning to wake up to the millstone to be tied around their neck. But the only people who can turn this result around are the MPs and the only way MPs will change their minds is if they are persuaded by their constituents that there is a better alternative and local use for some of that investment.
      Did you know the following facts?
      “Liverpool Street Station

      • HOW TO WIN FRIENDS AND INFLUENCE PEOPLE
        Did you know the following facts?
        “Liverpool Street Station

        Over 148 million travellers yearly – the highest footfall railway destination in the UK
        Around 650 million people travel in and out of London by rail every year
        The location of Liverpool Street (near the financial district) means that 37% of passengers are affluent commuters.
        75% of travellers are ABC1 demographic – the high-earning over 45 age group is the most prolific.
        Liverpool Street has a central location, especially within London’s tourist hotspots. Its underground station intersects with 4 key underground lines.
        Liverpool Street is the London terminus for trains to East Anglia, a region which attracts a lot of tourists and leisure travellers.
        The train was the most frequently used mode of transport to and from London by both UK staying (67%) and day visitors (68%) – London Visitor Survey 2009
        Stands will be serviced at least once a week, ensuring your leaflet supplies are topped up
        Dwell time on the station concourse before trains arrive is an average of 19 minutes per passenger – this is a key ‘point of interest moment’ for the captive audience when leaflets are most likely to be read
        Stands can accommodate DL and A5 leaflets
        Leaflets in their ‘take away’ format means that people can read them whilst on their journey and will take the information home for multiple impact”

        Why is it then that no effort is made to inform these commuters about HS2 via leaflets which would include advice on how to call a local constituency meeting with their MP in order that they might be questioned on their personal attitude to the HS2 expenditure as compared to spreading the money throughout the country, creating income and jobs locally rather than one grossly expensive rail line linking two stations less than 150 miles apart.
        It is clear from the attitude and response from our MPs that where their job is concerned they have realised that their priorities lie in promoting and protecting the interests of their local constituents before the party line. MPs further afield confronted with the views of their constituents would act in a similar manner if they wished to continue to represent their public after the next general election. I for one would be happy to help fund such a leaflet professionally prepared.

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