Just recently, Milton Keynes Council has issued a draft document called “A World Class Transport Vision and strategy for Milton Keynes”, which includes their view on High Speed Two. They are asking for public comments on it.
HS2 said they had looked into having a station at Milton Keynes, but decided against it for the somewhat bizarre reason that too many people would want to use the high speed trains. (You can read their reasoning for yourself, in the HS2 Ltd main report, p89-92.)
HS2 also said that after their proposed new railway opened, the fast Pendolino services – many of which stop in Milton Keynes at the moment – would be reduced. (That’s in the main report as well.)
Milton Keynes is not a dormitory town for London. It is a rapidly growing city, where a large number of national and international companies have their headquarters. Organisations based there – such as the Open University and Volkswagon Group UK – have operations over the entire country. Staff from these organisations travel, not just to London, but to places like Leeds and Manchester.
When new ‘improved’ rail services commence, serving a slightly different set of locations, almost inevitably, the places served by the old service loose out. This happened after HS1 was built: for instance, the MP for Gillingham and Rainham in Kent told attendees at the Westminster Hall debate a couple of weeks ago, that the services from Gillingham had been reduced.
Right now, some rail services between Milton Keynes and Manchester take less then an hour and forty minutes: HS2, as proposed, will not make this journey any faster. HS2, as proposed, is likely to make long distance train travel from Milton Keynes worse, not better.
Given all of this, it just seems a bit surprising that Milton Keynes Council are supporting the building of High Speed Two.