Lots of people have misconceptions about HS2 and where it goes – a recently published article about HS2 says “So here’s the really clever bit about HS2. We build the new railway we need to Milton Keynes – but then keep building it north to Manchester even though we don’t need to.”
Except of course, HS2 is not going to have a station in Milton Keynes, or even go anywhere near it.
What’s more, when HS2 Ltd considered where they might want to have stations, they deliberately decided against intermediate stops in places like Milton Keynes. The 2010 Command Paper explains the decision in this way:
6.55 HS2 Ltd was asked to consider the case for providing an intermediate station between London and the West Midlands – for instance, to provide access to high speed rail services for major towns such as Milton Keynes or Oxford.
6.56 HS2 Ltd examined the potential benefits and disbenefits of such a station and considered a number of options for its location in the light of potential demand. It concluded that an intermediate station between London and the West Midlands would be detrimental to the overall business case.
It then goes on to claim that disbenefits would arise because commuters would use the trains, before concluding that
The Government agrees with HS2 Ltd’s recommendation that no intermediate station between London and the West Midlands should be included in the further development of options for the High Speed Two line.
Of course, its not just the lack of station that is a disbenefit to Milton Keynes.
For instance there will be a massive decade long rebuilding project at Euston – and after five years and four re-writes of the plan, HS2Ltd still don’t know what they will do. It will probably take a decade or more, and cost billions.
After HS2 is built there will be fewer fast long-distance trains stopping in Milton Keynes, especially to the north. With fast trains from London to Manchester using the HS2 tracks, long distance trains from London to Manchester will make many intermediate stops meaning travel from Milton Keynes to Manchester will be slower.
All in all, HS2 is a bad deal for Milton Keynes.
PS The article we referred to is here.