Beware! the HS2 alternative threatens stations in the West Midlands

Stone station services could have been under threat with 51M alternative plan, according to Network Rail

Following on from the great news that HS2 will go ahead opponents to the project have made mischievous claims that existing stations would close when the line is built.

Sadly, this is the latest in a long line of misleading information about HS2.

The latest mischief/mistake concerns possible station closures on the West Coast Main Line.

Tweets, such as the following, have been doing the rounds from opponents including StopHS2.

‘HS2 to increase capacity but part of the proposal is to close Atherstone and Stone stations.’

In fact, it is not HS2 that threatens these stations. Ironically it is opponents’ 51M ‘alternative’ that would threaten Stone and Atherstone and put an end to Rugeley’s services to London. This is contained in Network Rail’s ‘Review of Strategic Alternatives to HS2′

So thank goodness the decision to build HS2 has been made.

Significantly, the report also says the 51M ‘alternative’ plan allows no increase in capacity between Coventry and Birmingham. So Coventry has no potential for growth on this crucial transport corridor. How does that help Coventry?

Nick Kingsley deals with this subject and proposals (endorsed by 51M) to build new rail in Staffordshire in greater detail in his blog here.

HS2 opponent Jerry Marshall has criticised Network Rail, claiming that their reading of 51M is a ‘deception’. But the fact is 51M has been assessed in great detail and does not do the job.

For more details and a response to Mr Marshall’s claims from Nick Kingsley click here.

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6 Responses to Beware! the HS2 alternative threatens stations in the West Midlands

  1. James Avery says:

    There is no greater delusion than to say that HS2 would benefit Coventry. Why would we need more services to Birmingham, we already have 7tph? However, HS2 threatens 3 of those.

    If the line is true about fares on HS2 being the same as ‘classic lines’, you’re in Birmingham, you want to go to London, why bother with Virgin or their equivalent? Without Birmingham, we’re left with the crumbs – maybe the 1 tph that starts at Wolverhampton will catch a few stragglers who want to go to Milton Keynes, and with extra stops at Rugby and Watford, it may survive.

    But please oh please tell me – under what circumstances will our 3 Virgin trains per hour to London with a stop on each survive?

    And don’t palm me off saying the M42 is a Coventry station – yes if you are on the west of the city, yes if you have car, otherwise no, it is a waste of time.

    Now of course, if Coventry was the only flaw, I’d stand aside and say bring on the high speed revolution. Except that Sheffield is going to have the same problem. And Stoke.

    I could go on, and already have done on the blog below, so I’ll leave it there.

    • gohs2 says:

      Surely failing to adequately address capacity issues at Coventry and elsewhere is damaging. Trains often arrive crowded at peak times and this will continue. What kind of service do you think Coventry will have as trains become increasingly overcrowded as they arrive from Birmingham/Wolverhampton?
      Will Coventry retain its current service in any case?
      We have already lost local stations/services in the West Midlands and will lose more as more lucrative longer distance services take priority (if we don’t address capacity). Good examples are Wedgwood/Barlaston in north Staffs, but there has also been a reduction in WCML services in stations in Warwickshire and elsewhere.
      We’ve already seen the likelihood that more stations/services will be lost in Network Rail’s report into the 51M alternative. Opponents’ response has been to call NWR deceitful, but little else.
      Coventry is close to HS2 and Coventry will have better local/regional links. So better services to MK (a huge growth area) for example.

    • Actually if you look at both what rail analysts like William Barter and even what Network Rail are saying in their plans for a post-HS2 build West Coast Mainline (http://www.networkrail.co.uk/hs2-wcml.aspx) you’ll find that Coventry will be better connected after HS2 than before.

      This is because the capacity freed up by HS2 will get rid of the horrible Very High Frequency (VHS) timetable that has meant that towns like Milton Keyenes, Northampton and Watford have seen their direct services slashed in favour of an obsession of getting more trains to Birmingham faster. This means that there will be more regional services stopping at these places. HS2 is meant to benefit all the towns along the WCML and not just Coventry so it is difficult to see why Coventry should benefit over everybody else.

      Just to be perfectly clear: this isn’t about Coventry. This is isn’t about more services between Birmingham and Coventry. This is about more services across the ENITRE WCML giving Coventry more trains to London and better connections to more places along the route.

      Stoke will also see benefits from HS2 through increased services as will Sheffield when HS2 phase 2 relieves the pressure on the Midland Mainline (which hopefully will be upgraded along the same vein as the Great Western is currently). People in Yorkshire complain bitterly of there not being enough commuter services in *their* area so HS2 phase 2 will be a breath of fresh air for them.

      More services to more places promotes growth outside of London.

      • “More services to more places promotes growth outside of London.”

        Utter tosh.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/8589307/Benefits-of-high-speed-rail-uncertain.html

        “The report suggested that London would be the main beneficiary of the scheme, rather than the North or the Midlands.”

        This has been borne out by the existing reports Studies show that high speed rail in other countries benefits only the major city.

      • gohs2 says:

        Network Rail is clear that the West Coast Main Line will be full by the early 2020s. They are clear that choices will have to be made and some existing services lost unless this ‘capacity crunch’ is addressed.

        Critics of HS2 express concern that benefits will go to London, but do not seem concerned about the cost of the London Underground or Crossrail, or disproportionate spending per head on transport compared in London compared to the regions.

  2. Pingback: Mr Redwood’s Diary – Why it’s wrong to base an argument on one journey | Go-HS2

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