HomeHigh Speed RailHS2 Rail Project: The Greening of Great Britain

HS2 Rail Project: The Greening of Great Britain

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High Speed Two, linking Birmingham and London with Leeds and Manchester, will act as a rail motorway hosting trains direct from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Liverpool, Preston and Lancaster.

Purpose built high speed trains will run directly from the WCML and ECML onto HS2. Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, announced the added bonus together with direct links to the Channel Tunnel and Heathrow Airport in a special statement to parliament.

New high speed trains will be 400 metres long with 1,100 seats, travelling at speeds of up to 250mph. Double-decker trains, compatible with HS2 and HS1 loading gauge, will further boost capacity and comfort.

Although HS2 runs through 13 miles of the Chiltern’s Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty all but two miles of the line will be hidden below surface level. Environmentalists have welcomed the project.

Says Shaun Spiers of the Campaign to Protect Rural England, ‘We are pleased the Government has shown its commitment to Britain’s railways while being sensitive to the impact that HS2 will have on communities and the countryside.’

Mr Spiers welcomed the promise of further tunnelling under the Chilterns. The news marks a personal triumph for Justine Greening who faced well organised opposition from the Tory heartlands and her own party.

HS2 also acknowledges the strengths and accomplishments of the new rail industry and represents a big boost for staff up and down the network.

Says Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of ATOC, ‘HS2 is a vote of confidence in the railways and recognition of the vital role the industry has to play in supporting jobs and driving sustainable economic growth.’

Phase One will see construction of a new 140 mile line between London and Birmingham by 2026.

In the second phase lines will be built to Leeds and Manchester by 2033.



  1. What absolute rubbish!! Mr Spiers alledgedly very good friends with Lord Adonis – CPRE losing members on this. Greens, FOE, Woodland Trust, Chiltern Society Wildlife Trust http://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/en/campaigning/woodwatch/case-studies/high-speed-two/Pages/view-on-hs2.aspx#.T0DclPHVzXo, Greenpeace, and many others oppose http://www.greenparty.org.uk/news/26-02-2011-high-speed-rail-decision.html. CPRE are not environmentalists! If you care about the rail industry look at these plans in detail and understand how damaging HS2 to you as well as the environment. Doesn’t even save any CO2. And and a price tag of £34.7 billion for phase one excluding rolling stock!

  2. The so called extended tunnel is not doing any good as it is only buying Cheryl Gillan off and the new cutting through South heath will be even more damaging to the enevironment as it will still be destroying an ancient woodland which cannot be replaced and the noise from the trains will be just as bad. This train is totally unnessecary and not enough research has been done on the alternatives like WSML which has plenty of capacity still so that money can be spent on upgrading other parts of the network which urgently need doing. HS2 may be trying to improve things but little has been said about the damage that will be done by the engineering companies based around the route whilst the line is being built, eg camps for the construction crews, roads for the equipment that will be needed, the bright lights, the high fences etc etc, all VERY bad for an AONB and the wildlife in the Chilterns .Please Justyn Greening think again just like you did when fighting the 3 rd runway at heathrow.

  3. While it is hardly surprising that a source claiming to speak for the rail industry publishes this article, it should also be responsible enough to take a balanced view of the hS2 proposal and this following may serve to present this.

    Regardless of the government’s pronunciations on the next steps for HS2, including a small amount of additional tunnelling, the overwhelming case against HS2 is still rock solid.
    HS2 a national issue about how the government spends £32billion (that is thirty two thousand million pounds) of taxpayers money, how it treats the environment, and what regard it has for the lives of the people. These issues are common to all those directly and indirectly affected by HS2.

    Thus the following key issues are still therefore highly relevant:

    Public Consultation
    Justine Greening, when announcing the proposed go ahead, skimmed over the results of the Public Consulation result. The reason she did this was that over 90% of respondents were against all the proposals in the consultant paper. Within the Consultation papers was an interesting figure which showed that speed was only a priority for 18% of travellers, well behind punctuality and reliability.

    Business case-
    This is still seriously flawed as relies on unachievable high load factors (higher than those currently being achieved on so called ‘overloaded’ trains), which have been proved to be over optimistic by alternative independent studies.

    This latest independent research verified by research company CRT Viewpoint reveals that contrary to DfT statements, peak trains on the West Coast Mainline are only 56% full!. This research was commissioned because DfT refused a Freedom of Information request for the data (not hard to see why!).

    As a result, both current and projected loads are shown to be without foundation.
    There will be an 8 year rebuild programme at Euston which will severely curtail peak operation with loss of operating revenue, and involving the demolition of a community of over 200 social housing units. This is not considered in the business case.

    The capacity issues can be resolved for a quarter of the cost by implementing RP2 (the DfT’s own proposal), lengthening trains by 2 carriages, and reducing under used first class. This could commence immediately, and create jobs immediately. This plan would return £6 for every £1 of taxpayers money, compared with HS2 which independent experts have shown will only return between 60p and 90p.

    North south divide and Job creation
    DfT own figures show that of any jobs created by HS2 (40,000 claimed) then 73% will be in the London area. DfT have not stated if these jobs are actually new, temporary, or full time. If there is in fact a north south divide, then surely the government should be addressing this before 2035 when HS2 is planned to reach the northern cities of Leeds and Manchester. At best these jobs will not begin to be created until the building commences.

    There is a claim being touted by pro HS2 lobbies that HS2 will create 1 million jobs. This is based on research information which shows these jobs as a best scenario of options, which only goes up to 2020- ie 5 years before phase 1 of HS2 could be completed, and includes a forecast for cities far from hS2 such as Bristol.

    The carbon neutral statement to support HS2 collapses when projected load factors are not achieved. Also there is a huge carbon emission effect of the building programme. HS2 trains require three times the electricity generation of stand trains. To provide ‘clean power’ for these trains suggests that nuclear is the only possibility (as is current with Eurostar.)
    The build and operation destroys homes, businesses farms, social amenity sites all along the three tracks, starting with 200 social housing homes in Camden, and proceeds to desecrate areas of outstanding natural beauty, sites of special scientific interest etc.

    Claims are made that HS2 is an infrastructure project, but HS2 as planned has no link to HS1, (unless you want to walk from Euston to St Pancras), has no direct link to Heathrow, and no link to current Birmingham stations for rail connecting services.

    HS2 called for 18 trains per hour in each direction to operate on the London Birmingham sector at speeds of 250 mph.. HS2 does not identify any technology solutions to meet this demand. HS2 have now embarked on a £0.5 million programme of research into the possible derailment risk from trains travelling this speed.
    HS2 Ltd have also retained the services of an American engineering consultancy group, who’s main claim to fame is that they were involved in the ill fated Chinese High speed rail project (remember the accident?)

    Some other groups opposing HS2
    In addition to the 70 groups under the Federation of Action Groups against high speed two (AGAHST) the following are a selection of those who have looked at the proposal and found it lacking.
    21 county and borough councils (The 51M group)
    Institute of economic affairs
    Conservative Transport Group
    Green Party
    Taxpayers alliance
    Adam Smith Institute
    Countryside Alliance
    National Trust

    These groups will increase once the DfT announces the route for the Y sections of HS2, particularly as the announcement of the go ahead has been made before those on the route had a chance to experience the consultation as to whether it should be built or not!

  4. WHO is Andrew Milne? -obviously NOT done his homework. Apart from the vain, rich, empty-headed, spoilt, out-of-touch MP’s who are FOR HS2, ALL the PUBLIC opinion polls, (THE VOICE of the PUBLIC!!) that I’ve seen are TOTALLY against HS2, as are all the environmental groups. This is SIGNIFICANT & should NOT be ignored! Apart from yet another scheme to permanently damage our rapidly-depleting countryside & environment, in the name of “progress”!!! – it is clearly seen by the majority of the population as yet another huge sum of OUR money, 34 BILLION!!- going straight down the drain!! Those who have the power to STOP this unaffordable scheme should WAKE UP & do so NOW, – before it is too late. Those who arrogantly press on should hang their heads in shame!!

    • How I LOVE Arthur Mason’s use of CAPITAL letters. Maybe some “Grrrrr” quotes and ‘shakes fist’ would convey his feelings on the matter even more? 😉

      • GRAMMAR-school education, old boy! Capitals convey the message quite adequately WITH neither the need for “GRRRRS” nor violence!! – Glad you liked it!

  5. HS2 is like Concorde. A highly expensive prestige project for the pampered elite paid for by the long suffering ordinary taxpayer, bound to lose vast amounts of money and eventually flogged off at a knock-down price to the Germans, French, Chinese or whatever.

  6. Andy seems to have swallowed every half truth ever published about HS2. The picture shown is crossing the Colne Valley Park, where it will destroy a sailing centre, one of the top carp fishing lakes in the UK and at least 2 sites of Special Scientific Interest. Currently the necessary safety systems to control 18 trains an hour at 250mph have not been developed. It does not even link Heathrow to the North. What a waste of £32bn or £500 for every man, woman & child in the country.

  7. What would really help businesses is if the money HS2 will cost was spent on improving local infrastructure. What’s the use of shaving a few minutes off a journey for the lucky few when improving local transport infrastructure for travel within the West Midlands conurbation is so slow and subject to unpredictable delay.


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