Amid reports that the alternative to HS2 is improvements to the existing rail service, Stop HS2 campaigners have accused the Government of blackmail to save the £50 billion vanity project.
Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said
“The Government are complaining that the railways are nearly full and the only option is HS2. The big flaw in the Government’s argument is that Phase 1 of HS2 won’t open to the travelling public until about 2027, meaning that there would be no change for passengers until the middle of the next decade. But building HS2 would cause years of disruption at Euston, and other places on the rail network as well as chaos along the route of HS2, with roads being diverted during the build and in some places permanently shut.
“However Network Rail aren’t planning to do nothing. They’ve already announced planned closures on the West Coast Mainline for 2014. It looks like they are positioning themselves to be able to blame others for any problems during these improvement works.”
“With the growing skepticism across the political spectrum, it looks like the Coalition government are trying to blackmail HS2 doubters with threats of improvement works on the classic network. What they are really saying is that support for David Cameron’s vanity project means the existing railway will be neglected.”
Deidre Vernon, of Burton Green Action Group said
“What about the disruption HS2 will cause? Building HS2 will affect road, footpath and waterway users. It will cause loss of homes and businesses and disruption to communities, including demolition of village halls, and schools. It will blight property in surrounding areas, damage farmland and destroy woodland. There will be massive disruption at Euston. The list is endless and in areas, the disruption will be happening continuously for years. It can’t be compared to streamlining existing routes.
“Drop HS2 and improve internet connections along with incentives to live local and work local. That’s all better for health and family long term well being.”
Joe Rukin, Stop HS2 Campaign Manager said
“The alternative to HS2 which has been suggested involves addressing 4 pinch-points on the existing railways. It’s highly disingenuous for the government to say it will take 14 years to make these changes. We simply don’t believe it.
“People will cite the WCML upgrade program. But the vast majority of that upgrade was essential maintenance.
“Yet again the government are not comparing like with like, forgetting all the disruption that HS2 will cause. That’s not only where it links to the existing rail network, at Euston, Manchester Piccadilly, Lichfield Church Fenton and elsewhere. But there will also be years of traffic chaos. Building HS2 means moving the M1 in two places, moving the M42 and road carnage around the M6 and M42 where the proposed Birmingham airport station will be built.
“Yet again the Government have been misleading the public and failing to tell the full story when it comes to HS2.”