Jill Hope

Northamptonshire County Councillor for Sixfields - a Lib Dem campaigner working all year round, not just at election time Learn more

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Are you a rail commuter from West Hunsbury?

by Jill Hope on 2 March, 2011

THE COALITION Government has started its consultation on the HS2 line from London to Birmingham.

West Coast Main Line - nearing capacity

This will be the first link in bringing high speed trains to Manchester, Leeds and eventually Scotland.

Opponents argue that the £17bn scheme will be a waste of money and that updating the existing West Coast Main Line (WCML) would be a better investment. However, the (WCML) which runs from Euston to this part of the county has already been upgraded.

I don’t believe enough can be done to improve the WCML to avoid HS2. Moreover the WCML will soon be at maximum capacity. It has already been necessary to restrict cheap day returns to off-peak times to and from Euston and Northampton to avoid overcrowding. HS2 will release capacity on the WCML and enhance travel from Northampton

In general my views on HS2 correspond to those of the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England), of which I am a member. In particular:

  • I am not opposed to the principle of high speed rail – we are late in developing it in the UK.
  • Investment in the existing networks must not be sacrificed for HS2. I hope the quality of service on the WCML in particular can be enhanced.
  • Landscaping and tunnelling should be used to avoid visual and environmental damage and reduce noise.
  • Compensation for blighted or damaged property should be prompt and adequate.

See also:
Government starts high-speed rail consultation – BBC News 28 February 2011
How the CPRE see the issues – How green is High Speed Two?

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