The HS2 consultation closes in two weeks time. Replies will need to be in by then.
If you are concerned about any part of HS2, this is your only chance to take part in a formal consultation on the principles of High speed Rail in the UK. Many people are concerned about various aspects of HS2, but if you stay quiet now, you will not have a chance to take part in a HS2 consultation like this later.
Whatever the flaws in the HS2 consultation, and whatever the bias in the questions, this is the only consultation like this that the Department for Transport will hold.
Taking part in the consultation now is especially important if you think your town or area will lose out when the second phase and the Y route is announced. Then, all the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd are likely to be interested in are minor tweaks, just like the minor tweaks they have made on the route between London and Birmingham.
So, if you are at all interested, please take part in the consultation. HS2 Ltd confirmed this morning that you can still order consultation forms on 0300 321 1010, download one from here, or fill in the online form.
Remember when answering the questions, make your opposition to HS2 clear. Make sure you say you think HS2 is a bad idea. We’ve suggested many things to think about, but you will have concerns about the different aspects yourself. Please make them clear to the Department for Transport and HS2 Ltd.
So. Let me get this right.
Its okay to ruin people’s lives if the rest of the country benefits?
I’m sick to death of people suggesting that defending your home or nimbyism is negative and its fine to ruin other people’s lives as long as it benefits the majority.
Please explain to me where the line should be drawn? If turning the British isles in to a huge nuclear waste dump was for the benefit of the world (say that its the only place to do so for geographical reasons) would the same people be using the word nimby to describe the up-in-arms reaction that would ensue?
Its time to reclaim our own country from the fascists and defend what is ours. Otherwise who knows where you stand when the government bulldozers turn up at YOUR house.
“After ministers refused to give a guarantee that a £5 billion programme for 2,000 armoured vehicles will go ahead there are fears that the Army will no longer be able to wage armoured warfare”. Today’s Daily Telegraph.Why doesn’t that worry the PRO campaigners?
It does put into perspective what an extra £2 billion a year for 20 years would buy, if only we could get that message across to the public.
For Nick to say there are thousands of people standing on trains all the way from London to Birmingham and Manchester is complete nonsense. Granted at peak times, you sometimes may have to stand for a few stops but not all the way! I used to commute to and from London and trains coming from Birmingham were never even half full when they got to my station, in fact most people were getting on at stations nearer to London.
As far the thousands stuck in traffic jams, I have never been stuck in jam on the M40 going north, also the M6 toll road has not stopped the M6 from getting jammed. We cannot spend billions on something that will have a huge detrimental impact to large areas of the country, will not fix the peak time travel overcrowding and will have an ongoing cost for many years.
Flexible and homeworking should be looked at along with changes to fare structures. HS2 is NOT the answer.
I wonder if the PRO HS2 family on here, who already are deeply in debt, that debt growing even though they are making severe cutbacks affecting their family, would make the commitment to buy a house that would take 15 years to build, work would not start for 5 years, and expect it to be built on time and to the original budget.
Dave, does not the same apply to many other major projects- a large dam, a new sewerage system for a major city, a bypass road or motorway extension. Major bridges will not “pay” for themselves overnight, whether or not tolls are charged. The Severn bridges, the Humber bridge, Sydney Harbour and the Golden Gate, the Forth road bridge and the Orwell bridge; all needed Government support as part of Regional or National infrastructure,whether wholly funded by taxation or in partnership with private financiers.
This is why Hs2 or some viable variation or alternative, needs to be planned as a long term Government project to meet an increasingly urgent need.
Your comparison doesn’t seem to be valid.
HS2 although it doesn’t at this moment in time affect me directly. I can’t help but feel for those people who it does directly affect. A member of staff has recently lost the sale of her house with HS2 and its proximity being used as the excuse to pull out. I still can’t work out who actually wants this railway and the benefits it will provide to everyday normal folk. Is it all really worth while saving a few minutes on an already shortish journey. I suppose I could understand if it was like the new railway going all the way from Malaga to Barcelona saving hours on a train journey but not a few minutes. LOL what we going to do when we get to the other end with our extra few minutes hang around and catch the same tube as we normally catch or take a bit of time to have a cup of tea.You wait and see if I am not right once it is completed our normal services on the other lines to London will be reduced and we will all be forced to use HS2 only trouble is non of us will be able to afford it and we will all hit the road again. call me cynical. No one has said anything yet that convinces me we need it at all!
the thousands of people crammed into overcrowded coaches and having to stand now on trains from london to birmingham and manchester not to mention those caught in traffic jams on the various motorways will benefit from hs2. the major cities where most of the population lives believe it will benefit thousands of their residents also ………………
and why does everyone against hs2 persist with this “only a few minutes savings” london to birmingham with two stops en route would take 49 minutes as opposed to 1 hr 22 to 1 hr 25 mins currently. non-stop trains would be even quicker. so a 33 minute saving on a 82 minute journey clearly cannot be described as just a few minutes. and please dont believe those who quote the existing 72 minute duration train as this only runs once a day and in one direction only due to capacity constraints. the 49 minutes of hs2 would be every train apart from faster potential non-stop trains. in any case the main reason for hs2 is capacity not speed.
also there is no evidence that existing services will be reduced.
1. I regularly travel between London and the North West by car on M40/M42/M6 and do not experience ‘thousands of people stuck in traffic jams’. If I were to use HS2 the journey would be far more inconvinient by having to travel into London on a VERY CONJESTED tube and commuter line
2. It has been widely seen in the press that certain existing services will be reduced as a result of HS2
3. I have a colleague who travels to / from Birmingham / London and guess what they don’t have to stand…
So you dont use the M25 or the M5/M5 jun in rush hour.
Just a point re the WI. It is true that the National Federation could put a resolution concerning opposition to HS2 to all WIs in the country as part of their annual Resolutions to put to Govt. However, these are initiated by the member WIs themselves, then five or so are selected, then they are put to National Conference from which one is selected. All this happens over the course of a year (if memory serves) so you’d have to wait until next year for this to happen – and even then there is no guarantee that it would be adopted.
Many local WIs have had anti HS2 speakers at meetings, so the movement is aware, if not overtly active.
Charity shops have their own political agendas and will have to receive approval, or not, from head office.
Are you aware that the more you remind more people to complete the consultation, the more you’re giving HS2 supporters the same reminder and they will be making very sure they respond?
Thanks for the heads up!
I write to you personally out of grave concern about the lack of progress and public awareness of our campaign.
If we continue to promote our campaign with slogans like NO HS2 HERE and STOPHS2 we appear selfish NIMBYS and the public will be against us.
If we demonstrate that money spent on a new railway would be of better use to the nation if it were spent on Health, Education, etc. the public will be supportive and help.
It is time to review our achievement to date.
Last year 24,000 signatures. This year, 21,000 not even enough to populate a small town let alone influence Government Policy.
Our fund of £15,000 after 16 months of campaigning is derisory.
Clearly we are not making a national impact.
You know that many of your friends and the general public outside the immediate HS corridor know little if anything about HS2.
But Jerry Marshall says “That yougov poll shows over 50 % against hs2. testament to our off route comms!”
Where then, are the petition signatures to back this up?
As late as June 17th “David Lidington warned that many of the MP colleagues he had spoken to “have told me that they have received very little, if any, correspondence regarding HS2.”
But we are told “Stop HS2 and other organisations opposed to HS2 have been in touch with all MPs. Our email to them in February led to Stop HS2 being discussed in the House of Commons”
Womens Institute will not pick up issues they consider to be political, says Jerry, but W I General Secretary Jana Osborne in reply to my letter states : ……It would be a campaign for a regional federation to undertake if its members so wished….
Jerry says “There has been contact with Unions from both AGAHST and Stop.”
So why I wonder would Len McCluskey, General Secretary UNITE, the country’s biggest union, in a personal letter to me say “I will, however, consider the suggestions you make regarding soliciting the opinions of Unite members and I am, therefore, copying your correspondence to our Political Department for that purpose”
“Many AGs (Against Groups) have stands at shows” Jerry tells me, yet Penny Gaines, so called Chair and Social Media Director of STOP HS2 the campaigning arm web site appears to have little or no idea what is happening throughout the region, has only three locally organised events listed in July, and was unaware that Wendover had already booked a stand at the Bucks County Show when suggested as a good venue for Petition signatures.
“We are working on commuters” was Jerry Marshall’s reply to my suggestion that teams of volunteers be dispatched to the four main line London Stations at the evening rush hour to hand out leaflets and petition forms, returning the following evening to collect the signatures.
” Please work within the structure, co-ordinate with others, and encourage other volunteers.” he asks.
What structure? Although there appears to be substantial numbers of eager volunteers no one seems to be marshalling them, coordinating or leading them. Most certainly there is no overall communication with each other let alone the general public. NOTE I have just received notice of the meeting tomorrow !!!
“Monthly meeting and email list is clearing house” he states
Why then is one group with 100s of signatures considering delivering them to Downing St in the hope it might get media attention because they do not know where to send them.
In the light of these facts it should be clear to all if we are to get the backing of the public nationally there has to be a change in direction under the umbrella of a single organisation.
Every member of each group should pay a membership or affiliation fee of at least £1, that money going to the organisation to fund a budget for the national campaign.
The WI has said it can be done, and all WI members in the region should be coordinated to organise it.
I suspect the UNIONS only respond positively to requests from past and present members. There must be many trade unionists along the corridor that can be marshaled to approach their union for support. Stands outside trade UNION CONFERENCES will need coordinating, and be a very powerful aid in getting our message across to the general public. Any group or groups been approached yet?
Banners, advertising and placards throughout all the groups should be strictly controlled to show a united front. Some of the placards come across as being very NIMBY and I refer in particular to the Chiltern Society, and whilst admirably and effectively proving their point about despoiling our countryside their current presentation detracts from the objective which must be to get the nation to stop the waste of their money on a single new railway line
Many I have spoken to admit STOP HS2 does not register with the public nationally. It has no meaning outside the HS2 corridor. This is an issue that must be addressed and clarified.
Another untapped source of signatures is the CHARITY SHOPS. Charities grants are being cut back means the shops are visited more than ever. An ideal place where the public can see a placard and sign the Petition. With the right approach from the top I believe they could and would participate..
Enclosed are pictures taken on THE UNDERGROUND as an example of how the public can and are being informed and I think it a very effective idea that should be further investigated.
SUMMER FETES, FAIRS, COUNTY SHOWS are ideal opportunities for browsing visitors to see the placards and sign the petition, but what are planned? Where are they? Do they need help and support?
Only the Consultation period ends in July, I cannot stress too strongly the only thing the government takes notice of is public opinion. If we want to stop this expenditure of money we don’t have on something we don’t need, we can do it, as one organisation under one banner with one voice. We have all summer to continue to collect Petition signatures and the larger the volume the greater the influence.
This is not the end, just the end of the beginning,
I absolutely agree with you that the only thing the government take notice of is public opinion.
The most important thing for everyone to do at the moment is to make sure they have answered the consultation to say that HS2 is a bad thing, and got as many other people to respond HS2 is a bad thing. Each response against HS2 is another sign of the true public opinion of HS2
We absolutely agree that the end of the consultation is not the end of the campaign, and are developing ideas as to what we will do next. However, they depend on active volunteers. Individuals can organise stalls at fetes, they can write to their union, they can take petition forms into shops. This is a grassroots campaign which means people opposed to HS2 need to get on and do things if they want HS2 stopped.
Constant complaining that the leadership haven’t won the campaign yet won’t help, being an active campaigner will help get HS2 stopped.
But most importantly, right now, everyone needs to answer the consultation and say HS2 is a bad thing.
Copy reply sent to an email
Thank you for replying I really appreciate your comments, which sadly highlight my concerns.
All credit to you for spending 11 hours there. Why were there no other volunteers that could be called upon and work a shift system with you? Were no other local groups aware of your Action Day? You say
Easy to think of all the things we should do – not so easy to find the people to do them. Any ideas?
Did you seek help? Where was it advertised? It wasn’t on the STOPHS2 event calendar, the prime source of our information.
I did say in my letter that an approach to the charity shops has to come from the top.
Our CEO must liaise with the CEOs of all the big charities. But where is and who is our leader? STOPHS2 or the ALLIANCE.
Approaches to the WI and the bigger Unions can only come from its members, in an organised united way; WI by their meetings and trade unionists by acting together in a coordinated manner guided by and organised into one force, and just like the suggestions about the consultation response, offered written advice as to how to approach their union. Then on an appointed day everyone post letters seeking their union’s support.
It might not be a bad idea to organise an individual but mass letter approach to the national newspapers on the same day…
I was so pleased to see that someone had taken the initiative and trouble to print out 90 sticky backed A4 sheets and put them up on the underground and London railway stations. I think it conveyed the right approach to the public, clearly and concisely explaining the situation.
What a powerful message it would send out if a couple of dozen volunteers were organised to do the same thing.
I enclose the pictures he sent me; I think they are a brilliant example of how an orchestrated volunteer effort can be effective.
Finally, out of interest what have you done with the entire Petition signatures you have collected to date? Do you still have them or are they sent away on a regular basis for collation? Or do you eventually also intend to deliver them to Downing ST.
Experience shows that with the best will in the world if you leave volunteers to do their own thing they become disorganised disillusioned and their efforts dissipated.
I attach some of the pictures of the tube station posters
Hope this helps
You have sent several complaints about the way the campaign is being run by email to nearly 100 people who are involved in the campaign, and possibly more that i don’t know about, as well as on the website here. You’ve had at least three replies, all from people who are spending many hours a day on work related to Stop HS2. Time spent reading and answering your complaints is time taken away from actually working from the campaign.
If you want suggestions on how to do something useful, go to the Stop HS2 HQ in Kenilworth and help. Otherwise, stop complaining and let the rest of us get on with it.
It is regrettable that the comments I had meant to be observations about the lack of cohesion in the campaign have been taken by a few volunteers as complaints.
I want to get the whole country on side, not just the HS2 corridor which unfortunately still appears NIMBY. This is why I keep pushing for the cost of HS2 to be promoted to a national campaign, with comparisons how the money might be spent elsewhere.
Money is tight for a lot of people at the moment and the all-party parliamentary group for dementia’s recommendation last week to cut all hospital beds by 10% to pay for care of those with dementia must hit a chord with the general public.
New ideas and initiatives are necessary to broaden and fund the campaign before it dies away through lack of incentives. Losing this campaign is not an option for me, That is why I shall continue to fight to keep it going, especially as our Prime Minister is determined to build HS2 and hence to pile further debts on our nation in general and the next generation in particular.
I think it would be excellent if someone developed a plan to get at least 100,000 signatures on the petition–how do you feel about taking that on (I personally am phoning as many businesses as I can to discuss HS2 with them)
@john williams: “I want to get the whole country on side, not just the HS2 corridor which unfortunately still appears NIMBY. This is why I keep pushing for the cost of HS2 to be promoted to a national campaign, with comparisons how the money might be spent elsewhere. Money is tight for a lot of people at the moment and the all-party parliamentary group for dementia’s recommendation last week to cut all hospital beds by 10% to pay for care of those with dementia must hit a chord with the general public.”
But herein lies the root of your problem @john williams
People can readily understand the current financial squeeze on public services but the vast bulk of expenditure on HS2 is not current is it – it’s ten (count ’em) years down the line – this might explain why your idea will not resonate with the public spending?
John…..Penny is right, stop moaning and go and make yourself useful. I suggested you targeted George Osbourne, as the route up here is very likely to pass through his constituency. The reality is that as it stands now, it will be the Treasury that put the brakes on this project……everything else is irrelevant to the stopHS2 campaign as it is only attracting local interest which these sort of projects always do.
I agree that the government only takes notice of public opinion that is why we should have the biggest pile of signatures ever seen on a petition.
I believe the consultation form to be a waste of money and time and only produced to assuage the public by the government to placate us.
Does anyone believe they are going to be read and annotated and sorted into yes or no?
Think of the many ambivalent answers, how they can know if a person is definitely for or against. The only way to get a NO message across is with a petition and a slow march to London to deliver it.
John Williams is right, there is no cohesion and there should be. We should have one united group to lead, oversee, organise and advertise the fact that this project of a high speed train will affect everyone in the country at a time when we are all expected to accept cuts and financially tighten our belts.
This campaign needs to be a NATIONAL campaign, at least John Williams is coming up with new ideas, why don’t we listen to him and join in?
The point about charity shops is a good one, but would be of no benefit if local volunteers approach local shops like Penny suggests. The idea of approaching the HEAD OFFICES of CHARITIES is that the message about the waste of money on HS2 at this time would be NATIONWIDE.
Most people along the HS2 route have already signed the petition or should have. We now need the people of this country to be given the choice. HS2 or money spent on more deserving cases as John Williams has so eloquently already put forward.
“A Corridor Of Concern”
John Williams is still troubled that “the Message” still has not attracted a wider following.
This is what I wrote to a local newspaper back in December.
“There is a “corridor of concern” all along the projected route of the HS2. People are quite rightly concerned at the likely implications for themselves, their homes and their livelihoods.
But this corridor is a narrow one. Whereas our local newspapers feature letters and reports pf protests and resolutions against the plans, papers outside this immediate area give it scarcely any mention.
Perhaps those outside are in favour; there still seems to be wide support in Parliament for some radical approach to overcoming congestion on the rail network, despite recent massive investment on the West Coast line and improvement work now being undertaken by Chiltern with much more investment planned.
Others may be indifferent, or perhaps just grateful that they are not in the line of fire.
However, this corridor is also one of confusion or even contradiction ! We are told that “there is no business case” and then at the same time warned to expect a train every five minutes in each direction, and with each carrying a thousand passengers!”
( Actually, I feel sorry for those passengers. We know, because we have been told so many times, here and elsewhere that they are few in number and rich, “fat cats” indeed to be able to afford the enormous fares which are so confidently predicted.
These same rich business men- it’s always “men” it seems, will, if what we have been told is true, (and surely it must be so if we have read it here,) in order to maintain this exclusive and expensive service, have to travel up and down the line all day! Otherwise, nobody is going to provide a train every five minutes, and, because they are so”few”,they must keep moving; they cannot afford time to go to work…and so, because they are so few, soon they won’t be rich any more, no longer “fat”, unable to afford their “Whiskers”- and all because they are so few.)
To return to the letter,
“We are told that it will destroy the unspoilt “virgin countryside” while we cheerfully motor along our ever busier motorways and town bypasses, which “cut a hundred metre wide swathe through the countryside”.
Just like the M40, the A34 around Oxford, the Brackley, Silverstone and Towcester bypass, A43 and the Amersham bypass “in the heart of the Chilterns”, High Speed 2 is just that: a fast bypass to go round the congVP5Zestion, but which eventually, like those roads, connects with the main network.”
More recently, I have been interested in Mr. Williams’ suggestion of asking commuters at Main London stations to sign the petition against building HS2.
Can he be certain that a traveller through Euston, facing the prospect of a crowded commuter train, probabably expecting to stand for half an hour or more, would wish to say “no” to a plan to provide more track capacity?
John Webber says—
Can he be certain that a traveller through Euston, facing the prospect of a crowded commuter train, probabably expecting to stand for half an hour or more, would wish to say “no” to a plan to provide more track capacity?
You must add to this question—‘at the earliest from 2026’
@John: You must add to this question—’at the earliest from 2026′
Which would almost certainly prompt a general response along the lines of; “then get it built quicker, start now, stop messing around, ignore the luddites and nimbys in the Chilterns and get on with it!”
So in fact, improved understanding of the facts surrounding this contentious debate is higly likely to lead to increased public pressure to build HS2?
Thats not on the table so purely hypothetical
Anyway all this discussion of route/mitigation/compensation etc is jumping the gun–the business case is seriously flawed and the economic case is uncertain according to independent analysis
Yes I agree with you John.
“virgin countryside”. There isnt such a thing along this proposed route!
It would be interested to know how much crappy (no good for wildlife in the slightest) arable land is actually converted into a green corridor as a result of HS2 going ahead?
Wildlife and environmental aims FOCUS ON the creation and maintenance of corridors of habitat.
Even if you dont fill the train the capacity is 60,000 an hour .They will all be arriving and departing all at the same time along with other trains .if there is a crowed area in the rush hour then like on the roads there will be a knock on effect, and where will the small amount of time saved go then.?
Elaine…….can I suggest you look at the TSC video. There is a separate but linked proposal for Crossrail 2, which is a new tube line which amongst other things, connects to Euston. There is also a RUS which may bear fruit in the shape of current commuter lines into Euston terminating at a Crossrail station right in the centre of London.
Elaine, you really need to read the HS2 material a bit more closely rather than make it up. You at least owe yourself that.
The numbers of trains and the number of people described for HS2 represent the FUTURE MAXIMUM CAPACITY that the high speed rail could deliver.
Trains will normally carry up to 500 people based on a standard 200m train.
BUT trains CAN be doubled to 400m in order to carry UPTO 1000 if required.
The maximum number of trains stated in the HS2 documents are ALWAYS described as being “UPTO” and “DURING PEAK TIMES”.
I.e. the service will vary during the day with higher number of trains during peak.
All trains will not be going to the same place, to the same stations and arriving at the same time.
Thankyou, Elaine. 60 000 passengers an hour !?
That would be a between a quarter to half a million travellers a day…five, six days a week.
That being so, I think you have just proved a clear “business case” without doubt! Huge success.
If not the case, then the “threat” of “a train every five minutes” becomes highly unlikely!
There exists, as I have been trying to suggest, “a corridor of confusion and contradiction” through both the area affected and also through much of the “evidence” coming from StopHS2.
Huge demand = business justfication. Lesser demand- lesser service requirement; so fewer trains and less disturbance.
You really can’t have it both ways.
Elaine regarding your “where will the small amount of time saved go then.?”
It isn’t a small time saving on journeys it is massive.
Old Oak Common (London) to Birmingham International in just 32 mins!!
Central London (Euston) to central Birmingham in just 49 mins!!
You also make the silly presumption that train timetabling and travel times currently used on the existing rail network today will be the same in 2025!
Do you not understand that demand for train travel is a massive growing sector. The current system can barely cope.
It is likely that train times between Birmingham and London, and all across the network, will become slower.
This is why we need high speed rail.
The thing is though, you need to look at the journey time in total. How long does it take you to get to the station at Birmingham International? How long to get from Euston to whatever part of London you want to be in?
The point you have raised is salient. It also demonstrates why more thoughtful critics of HS2 are not viscerally opposed to High Speed Rail per se, in fact they are strongly supportive, even remaining favourable to the proposed line of route for HS2. These critics offer constructive dialogue and talk about the need for High Speed Rail as part of a comprehensive transport strategy – if you look at the contributions of some of the more rational and reasoned witnesses giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee it won’t be hard to find some good examples of this constructive approach.
You argue quite correctly that there is little or no point saving time on a High Speed Rail journey if you waste even more getting to and from any High Speed Station you may transit through. However, this viewpoint does not negate the principles underpinning High Speed Rail or HS2 in particular – what it does is highlight the value and relevance of local transport hubs in improving the travel experience for consumers.
To give a real world example; Manchester features prominently in the overall HS2 strategy. If HS2 proceeds, to the point where phase 2 comes into operation, this would see a new terminus required in Manchester City Centre. All the evidence points to the location of this new terminus right next door to the existing Piccadilly Station site at Manchester Mayfield. You might be also be aware that Greater Manchester’s transport network is going through a transformative period with new Metrolink lines either coming on stream or in the planning pipeline. A holistic transport strategy would argue for the development of Manchester Mayfield as a HS2 terminus and its integration into the burgrowing Merolink network. This outcome would facilitate swift and efficienct movement of large numbers of travellers between the Greater Manchester hinterland and a state of the art 21st century HSR hub station at Manchester Mayfield.
The advent of HS2 does not preclude such localised transport evolution – in fact it encourages their development.
You’ve just identified one of the problems – far from being a “comprehensive transport strategy”, HS2 is a “fragment of a transport strategy”. They may have come up with ideas for improving the links to local transport in Manchester but they haven’t even made public whether HS2 will have a parkway station, or a city centre station, or both.
But at the London end, they haven’t got a plan for the link to Heathrow, which is like a blinding necessity. And they didn’t even design in the link to HS1.
Joanne, surely Old Oak Common is supposed to help the collection and dispersal of passengers at “the London end” of HS2.
Old Oak Common isn’t a destination in itself for most people, but an access point for Crossrail and to the Great Western main line.
Whatever the final subsequent decision on a direct HS line into Heathrow, Crossrail will provide a fast, high frequency services linking the East and West sides of the capital.
For some people,it may well prove preferable to avoid either Euston or Paddington in the future.The Airport and the Thames Valley will be linked directly with Essex and Kent.
* In recent years Paris has been developing the RER fast limited stop cross city lines, which link outer districts with both the Metro with its many stops and the Mainline termini so as to provide convenient choices and connections across the City.
With Crossrail London will begin to enjoy a speeding up of connections and a relief for the often grossly overcrowded Underground.
As regards the London terminus fo HS2, St. Pancras would have been better, perhaps, but some years ago, the planners encouraged the Somerstown Goods station site to be redeveloped for the relocated British Library, while the original plan to build a large new HS terminal for both European and regional UK services in the triangle lying between St. Pancras and Kings Cross, to create a united interchange, was turned down.
So now, while Eurostar has pride of place under the magnificent Barlow trainshed, the Midland services have been shunted back and confined to a few platforms, and the domestic “Javelin” HS trains are shoehorned in beyond the “international” security zone and difficult to locate through the all pervading shopping centre.
In its latter years, British Rail, doubtless under constant pressure from the Treasury, succeeded in flogging off any piece of land deemed “surplus” to current needs. Through its existance, Railtrack seemed to regard itself primarily as the holder of a land bank to sell for profit, regardless of future developments. Marylebone station was saved and modernised, but at the cost of having to reorder its facilities when the need for expansion occured in recent years, because so much former railway land had been sold and built on.
Our planning laws operate in short term while we expect our transport infrastructure to plan strategically and as a result development of major schemes is prevented or made doubly expensive. Presumably the redevelopment and virtual doubling in size of Madrid’s Atocha station -and its new tunnel HS connection to services from the North (incidentally built with help from EU Regional Development funds) was only possible because railway land was still available immediatly outside the existing station.
Imagine New Street , not just rebuilt above ground, but opened up, not squeezed between inadequate tunnels at either end,but rebuilt with additional approach lines- or for that matter, Birmingham Snow Hill, long abandoned as a car park and then reborn but confined wthin the redevelopment that helped pay for its rebirth, and only as a shadow of its former self and with limited capacity…There would be room for the longer trains that some urge as an alternative to HS2, or a chance to connect directly,HS and “classic”under one roof.
Or perhaps, Imagine the old Great Central route.not just bits of it,but the whole thing ,as far as Rugby at least and connecting with the WCML,including the Metropolitan/ Chiltern stump,( which still runs through the Misbourne Valley and which with the A 413,does form a significant “traffic corridor”,despite the denials of some locals) Include the abandoned link to the Chiltern Mainline High Wycombe route and you would have had the potential for a modernised route which could have made the very need for HS2 doubtful.
But, having thrown away so much,(“Short term wins again) HS2 may be inevitable. .