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, Acting Convenor of the national campaigning body, Stop HS2 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?”