Greengauge 21, which campaigns for High Speed Two, has published a report urging a better link between HS2 and HS1 to address domestic demand.
Says Jim Steer, Director of Greengauge 21, ‘We have identified a substantial demand for domestic high-speed rail services over the proposed link connecting HS1 and HS2. The market from the North and Midlands addressed by HS2 to places in the HS1 catchment area – East London, Essex and Kent – is important and nearly half the size of the market to/from central London.’
The proposed link is only one track and is considered inadequate to meet potential needs. Says Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham, ‘Proposing a new high speed network that only connects to the channel tunnel rail link by a single track, which is actually already in use, seems absurd, particularly as Stratford International station remains woefully underused, despite millions of pounds have been spent on developing it.
‘The case has already been made that the growth of areas in East London and the Docklands, with their ever burgeoning population, should be better connected with other exciting urban centres across the national high-speed rail network.
‘As Greengauge21’s timely report clearly demonstrates, a higher capacity link between HS2 and HS1 provides us with the unique opportunity to drive growth through connecting our regional economies through new rail services. The evidence is clear and Government must act.’
Domestic high-speed services would provide access, most likely at Ebbsfleet, to international services to France, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany from all locations served by HS2.
Says Jim Steer, ‘Providing a link between HS1 and HS2 would provide a real alternative to much of the longer distance car travel around London on the M25. The report estimates that rail could increase its market share by up to 23% for journeys between catchments served by HS1 and HS2.’