A decision is expected imminently on the future of HS2. Commenting on this, Railfuture director Ian Brown said:
“There is no dispute amongst proponents or detractors of HS2 that the issue is the need to increase the capacity of the rail network throughout Britain. Nobody disputes this. Railfuture predicts a need to double the capacity of the rail network in the coming years.
The debate about HS2 is about how best to achieve this - not whether to achieve this in terms of construction disruption and cost.
In terms of construction disruption, HS2 involves far less disruption to the existing rail network, just like Crossrail in London as it is on a new alignment. Much has been stated about stations such as Euston and Old Oak Common, yet even here the land and platform take has already taken place. With or without HS2, new station capacity in Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds is also required.
The West Coast Main Line is up to capacity as Network Rail, freight and passenger operators and increasingly passengers, know. The question is whether a new alignment is better than adding two tracks to the existing route. In terms of disruption the thought of adding such capacity to the existing route is daunting as is potentially, the cost.
There is much speculation about the cost of HS2. It really boils down to how best to achieve the capacity benefits. Interestingly nobody is suggesting construction of an 8 lane motorway to achieve these capacity benefits. It is all about how rail capacity can be provided.
Railfuture contends that the economic, environmental and capacity benefits of a new rail alignment such as HS2 are pivotal in putting the infrastructure in place we need for the future. The results of last election also demonstrated that the economic and transport needs of the Midlands, the North and Scotland cannot be ignored any further. The recent Northern fiasco illustrates this.
Railfuture therefore supports HS2 fully integrated into the rail network including Northern Powerhouse Rail in Manchester”.
Notes to editors:
Railfuture is the UK's leading independent organisation campaigning for better rail services for both passengers and freight.
Railfuture's website can be found at: www.railfuture.org.uk
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Bruce Williamson, media spokesman
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media at railfuture.org.uk