M4O route is no alternative to HS2
Claims that the M40 offers a better alternative route than current HS2 proposals are hardly new, but the story was given coverage by the Daily Telegraph again last week and continues to surface on social media.
Many HS2 critics were keen to jump aboard this latest attack without, perhaps, giving adequate consideration to the implications.
HS2 Ltd’s response to the story was buried deep in the copy but made interesting reading:
“An M40 route would cost £3 billion more and affects more population centres, including Gerrard’s Cross, Beaconsfield, High Wycombe and Princes Risborough, which have a combined population in excess of 110,000 people,” a spokesman for HS2 said.
So the disruption would be moved elsewhere and affect a greater number of people, it seems.
Anyone reading the comments beneath this story can see that even the suggestion of a route elsewhere provokes instant opposition from those communities.
Much of the comments in the piece are justified by making a comparison between HS2 and HS1. However, they are very different railways as critics of HS2 often point out when it supports their argument to do so.
For example, HS2 critics have been keen to use recent economic criticism of HS1, but not so keen to link to the praise it has received in Kent or the fact 95% of spoil was recycled during its construction.
But it is fair to say they are different railways. HS2 will link millions of people across Britain and arrive in London, Birmingham, Nottingham, Derby, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield and Leeds.
And perhaps Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh too.
This latest M40 proposal, by Channel Tunnel engineer Mark Bostock, also allows for a station in Bicester.
HS2 and intermediate stops
This is another topic (intermediate stops) that divides HS2 critics. Many say it is wrong that HS2 does not stop between Birmingham and London.
However, when Stoke-on-Trent City Council and North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce expressed their desire for a stop they were criticised by HS2 opponents saying they would be ‘slowing down’ services to Manchester.
Sadly, and this is all too familiar, the demand for rail capacity fails to get a mention.