08/09/10- CANAL BUILDERS’ DESCENDANT SAYS “HS2 WILL BE IMMEDIATELY OUTDATED” AS SHE CROSSES BRINDLEYS’ GRAND UNION CANAL
On Day Eight [8th September] of her walk of the entire route of HS2, the proposed London-Birmingham high speed rail link, STOP HS2 campaigner Lizzy Williams will cross the Grand Union Canal, which was built by her direct ancestor, James Brindley.
Williams, who will today reach Ladbroke, her last stop in Warwickshire before crossing into her “home territory” of South Northamptonshire on Wednesday said;
“Like what happened with the canals, High Speed Rail will become irrelevant as a viable transportation system as soon as it is built. Back then of course, the canal builders didn’t know that the railways were coming, the same way the railway builders couldn’t foresee the advent of the internal combustion engine which moved traffic to the roads. Now it is a different story, the people behind HS2 should be able to see that business passengers are going to travel less in the future. Due to the internet, email and video conferencing progressing, businessmen simply don’t have to travel as much as they used to. Fifteen years ago, no-one had even heard of email, now almost everyone uses it. It will be about another fifteen years before HS2 is ready, so who knows what technological innovations there will have been by then? The best way the Government can invest in the UK economy is with high speed broadband, not high speed rail.”
Joe Rukin, STOP HS2 Campaign Director said;
“There are currently 45,000 passengers per day using the West Coast Mainline. The HS2 business plan says that this will somehow be magicked into 146,000 per day. HS2 Ltd say that 65% of these will transfer from cars and normal trains which both pollute less, but a staggering 27% -almost 40,000 people per day- won’t even travel at all until this thing is built. The question I have is why on Earth do they think this is going to happen? According to the original forecast, HS1 in Kent should be carrying about 24 million passengers a year by now, but it’s only got about a third of that. That’s why it’s running at a loss, that’s why they’ve cut the services, and that’s why it’s being sold for a quarter of what it cost to build. Even ARUP, the company which drew up the plans for HS2 has already told employees to use video conferencing instead of travelling to meetings, so why does anyone think HS2 will encourage more people to travel? Isn’t that exactly the opposite of what we should be encouraging people to do anyway?”
NOTES FOR EDITORS
- Stop HS2 is the national group campaigning on behalf of anti-HS2 action groups up and down the proposed route. See www.stophs2.org.
- For more details contact Lizzy Williams on 07842 164880 or Joe Rukin on 07811 371880.
- On Saturday 11th, a walk will be held from Offchurch to Ufton Woods in Warwickshire from 9am to 6pm. The press are invited to Welsh Road Farm [CV33 9BG] [OS grid ref. 375 645] at 11am where farm machinery will be set up to show the height and width of HS2. For more details contact Mike Geddes on 07827 274626. http://www.offchurch.org.uk/high-speed-2.
- Also on Saturday 11th, two walks will be held in the Chilterns, starting at Amersham station (HP6 5AZ). Both will follow the route of HS2, with the long walk following the Misbourne Valley to Great Missenden and the short walk going to where a tunnel entrance will be. For more details contact Carol Rainsford on 07736 106101. http://www.chilternsociety.org.uk/hs2/sept2010-sponsored-walk.php
- On Friday 10th, Lizzy Williams will have a ‘homecoming’ reaching The Inn in Greatworth (OX17 2DT) at 6.30 where there will be a meeting of the South Northamptonshire Action Group, which she chairs at 7.30. This will mark the halfway point in her walk. For more details contact Lizzy Williams on 07842 164880.
- On Wednesday 8th, The Kenilworth Action Group will hold a public meeting at 7pm, Kenilworth School, Leyes Lane CV8 2DA. For more details contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880.
- Lizzys itinerary (subject to change) and her progress along the route of HS2 can be found at www.walkhs2.co.uk. For the next few days it is planned to be;
- 8th Sept- 10am Cubbington, 12pm ‘The Stag’ Offchurch, 3-4pm Grand Union Canal, 5-5.30pm Southam, 7pm Ladbroke. There will be a meeting of the Ladbroke Action Group (not a public meeting, but people will be available for comment) at 7.30.
- 9th Sept- Start Ladbroke, end Edgecote.
- 10th Sept- 10am Edgecote (battle site), 12pm ‘The Three Conies’, Stoke Mandeville, 6.30 ‘The Inn, Greatworth’
- 11th Sept- Lizzy will jump ahead for the day to join the Amersham to Great Missenden walk.
- Lizzy Williams will walk the entire route of HS2 from Lichfield to London in September, before coming back to walk the spur into Birmingham to coincide with Conservative Party Conference in October.