HS2 Ltd has published a series of new maps detailing an ‘optimised route’ along with a separate document entitled ‘Optimisation of Route 3’. Both the maps and document were produced by ARUP, a company which has recently told employees that whenever possible, they should avoid travelling to meetings. The HS2 business case assumes that 146,000 people will use HS2 per day, whilst the current West Coast Mainline only carries 45,000.

 The maps show realignment options in for the proposed railway line, as does the report. However, whilst the report is more than willing to mention the places which new routes would move HS2 away from, ARUP have not been so keen to point out some of the places it gets closer to.

 Stop HS2 Convenor Joe Rukin said;

“The new proposals do not make the business case any more realistic, they do not explain how when online options are reducing the need for travel that 101,000 extra people per day will get on a train, and they do not magic up an environmental case either. If the Government think that we are now going to start arguing amongst ourselves about which route is best, they are very much mistaken. We have studied the proposal in its entirety and whatever tinkering they do with the route, HS2 still has no business case, no environmental case, and there is no money to pay for it.”

 The decision to publish the new proposals along with the original plans have drawn criticism from campaigners for increasing uncertainty and spreading property blight, as no decision will be made until the public consultation in the new year. This means there are now three options for HS2 in some areas. This is especially hard to take as in August HS2 Ltd asked action group members to sign confidentiality agreements when attending meetings regarding routing. At the time (28th August), HS2 Ltd CEO Alison Munro told the Coventry Telegraph;

“We are currently looking at options for mitigating the impact of the route that we recommended, and it is important that any discussions about possible refinements to the route don’t cause further uncertainty which could impact on the property market.”

Rukin continued;

“There is now going to be more uncertainty for more people because the original plans were a rushed job and these ones have been even more of a rushed job. The maps are strewn with errors. There is no sign of which houses will have to be demolished and there is a distinct lack of road bridges and viaducts, which were in the original plans. One viaduct which seems to be over the A46 is labelled as crossing the River Sowe, whilst there is another flood plain viaduct which does not seem to even be a metre tall. There is also a green line on the bottom of the plans which shows the current lie of the land, but there must have been an earthquake since March as these don’t match on the new and old maps in places. The new proposals may even be worse for the environment as they have dropped the railway lower down into flood plains and lowering the lines means it’ll take up more land as the original technical appendix stated there would be a 75 metre footprint where it is flat. It doesn’t seem that the maps represent this width, which is wider than a football pitch.

Notes to Editors:

STOP HS2 is the national group campaigning on behalf of anti-HS2 action groups up and down the proposed route. See http://www.stophs2.org.

  1. The new proposed maps can be found at;
    1. Middleton-Curdworth-Water Orton-Coleshill-Kingshurst-Chelmsley Wood-NEC-Hampton in Arden http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/highspeedrail/hs2ltd/route/03175.pdf
    2. Hampton in Arden-Balsall Common-Berkswell-Burton Green-Kenilworth-NAC-Stoneleigh-Stareton-Cubbington http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/highspeedrail/hs2ltd/route/03174.pdf
    3. Cubbington-Offchurch-Weston under Wetherley-Ufton-Bascote Heath-Southam-Ladbroke http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/highspeedrail/hs2ltd/route/03173.pdf
    4. Wormleighton-Upper Boddington-Lower Boddington-Aston le Walls-Chipping Warden-Culworth-Thorpe Manderville-Sulgrave-Greatworth http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/highspeedrail/hs2ltd/route/03172.pdf
    5. Thorpe Manderville-Sulgrave-Marston St Lawrence-Greatworth-Radstone-Brackley-Westbury-Mixbury-Finmere-Newton Purcell-Barton Hartshorn-Chetwode http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/highspeedrail/hs2ltd/route/03171.pdf
    6. Newton Purcell-Barton Hartshorn-Chetwode-Preston Bisset-Goddington-Twyford-Charndon-Edgcott-Quainton-Waddesdon http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/highspeedrail/hs2ltd/route/03170.pdf 
  2. The document ‘Optimisation of Route 3’ can be found at http://www.hs2.org.uk/assets/x/76890  
  3. For more details contact Joe Rukin on 07811 371880 or Penny Gaines on 01296 655613.
  4. Lizzy Williams will not be walking today, and will instead be attending other HS2 related events. For details of Lizzys walk call 07842 164880 or visit www.walkhs2.co.uk


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