Colne Valley Viaduct – HS2 Ltd still failing on the community engagement

Today, HS2 Ltd got round to publishing their Colne Valley viaduct specimen design.  This is not the actual design, but a document detailing “design-approach behind the viaduct.”  Anyone wanting to know what it will actually look like will have to wait.

HS2 Ltd  caused outrage on twitter for thanking the “local community”  for their input: the MP for the area , local groups and residents pointed out that the designs are being shown for the first time today and that they have not been consulted.  These tweets by HS2 Ltd have now been deleted.

What’s more, the design document itself is hardly any better.

Take noise barriers: you might think that reducing noise for the local area is the most important function of noise barriers.  But the very first paragraph mentioning them is all about the views for the passengers:their effectiveness seems very much an afterthought.

“Having just exited a tunnel, the CVV offers an exciting opportunity to provide dramatic, open views to passengers on the rail, allowing the diverse changes in the landscape to be perceived. Across the route, these elevated vantage points are relatively rare and great care must be taken to not unnecessarily obstruct them with noise barriers. The location, height and design of the barriers must seek to combine functional performance with transparency; to reduce noise whilst maximising views.”

Similarly local concerns about the gantrys are ignored.  Referred to in most of the documents as OLE posts (a much prettier name for “Overhead Line Equipment”), the documents leaves it up to others to design them.

The only detailed picture of the gantries is the view from the train, with the caption helpfully pointing out that for the passengers travelling at 340kph “motion blur makes the vertical elements of the edge condition almost completely invisible, achieving an unobstructed view of the Colne Valley.”  Interestingly, there is no water in the view from the train, just a green blur. There is no acknowledgement for people outside the train, the gantries could be ugly and prominent, a problem which has afflicted other rail schemes in England. 

 All in all, its just another puff piece, which very much focusses on the passenger, who will be across the viaduct in moments, and ignores the local community who have to live with it.  Just what we’d expect from HS2 Ltd!

5 comments to “Colne Valley Viaduct – HS2 Ltd still failing on the community engagement”
  1. If the gantries were insulated and of sufficient size, people could be housed in them – it would solve both transport and housing problems!!!?!?!?
    Why not? Not so different from a lot of the other stuff being suggested . . . . .

  2. All people against hs2 should just keep asking one question-

    Can you explain why you are spending £55.7 billion on hs2 when the nhs,policing,education,and defence are crying out for increased funding?

  3. Transrapid maglev does not require gantries, runs more quietly than HSR, uses a much less obtrusive guidway and, given its ability to turn in a tighter radius at speed plus climb gradients of 10%, might not have to use Colne Valley at all. The UK Ultraspeed plans had their rout using current transport corridors.

  4. Shabby, shabby b*****s. Not only have they never engaged about this monstrous chunk of concrete that will ruin three lakes, stomp all over HOAC and smash its way through old woodland, they now see even the minimal mitigation as an unsightly intrusion on the view of their precious passengers. We know it’s a good view, you s***s – we’ve been fighting to save it from your overpriced white elephant for years. S*d off, and take your costly train set with you.

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