HIGH SPEED 2 Report on Meeting held by CPRE Warwickshire Held at Stoneleigh Park, nr Kenilworth, Saturday 1 December 2012
HIGH SPEED 2
Report on Meeting held by CPRE Warwickshire
Held at Stoneleigh Park, nr Kenilworth, Saturday 1 December 2012, 11.00-15.00
Purpose of Meeting and information available
The meeting was called to hear the analysis of High Speed 2 by Railfuture, the national rail users’
campaign body, and its alternative proposals. CPRE Warwickshire in 2011 stated its support for
the Railfuture approach to high-speed rail.
Local groups opposed to HS2 and Parish Councils along the published route within Warwickshire
were invited. Stop HS2, the national opposition campaign, publicised the event to its supporters.
About 70 people attended the meeting from 11.00. An attendance list was circulated and is used to
send out this report, although not all who were there have been been recorded. This summary is
based on notes kindly made by Mick Jeffs and John Wharam of CPRE Warwickshire.
The speakers were
Sir Andrew Watson, Chairman, CPRE Warwickshire
Mark Sullivan, Technical Secretary and Consultant, CPRE Warwickshire
Ian McDonald, Chairman of Network Development Committee, Railfuture
Displayed on walls were
OS 1:25,000 map showing Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1) in Kent (between S of
Gravesend and Sellinge east of Ashford) – showing its alignment alongside M2, M20 and
the Ashford-Dover main line
OS 1:25,000 maps showing potential alignment for new high-speed line alongside M1 and
M6 between London Euston, Leicester and Birmingham
1: 40,000 map of Koln-Frankfurt Airport High Speed line alongside Autobahn A3
(southern half, Montabaur to Frankfurt)
1: 50,000 map of Louvain-Liege HSL in Belgium
1: 25,000 map of Berne-Olten HSL in Switzerland (western part)
Further detailed maps showing Railfuture’s proposed alignment were brought by Ian McDonald
and able to be inspected in the lunch-break. A slide show of photographs of high speed lines
alongside motorways was shown during part of the meeting.
During the morning a Central TV camera crew interviewed Joe Rukin of StopHS2 and John
Wharam of CPRE Warwickshire outside the hall, and filmed briefly inside to show the scene.
Sir Andrew Watson explained CPRE Warwickshire’s position and view of HS2. CPRE
Warwickshire is wholly opposed to the Government’s proposal. He referred to
the CPRE report of Dec 2010 ‘Getting Back on Track’ which analysed the principles of highspeed
the ‘5 Tests’ that CPRE at national level drew up, before HS2 was proposed, against which it
believed that any high-speed rail plan should be judged. (copy circulated with this Report)
He drew the meeting’s attention to the most recent analysis of HS2 by Chris Stokes, a former
senior railwayman, in ‘Modern Railways’ Dec 2012. This sets out the basic flaws in justification
for HS2 even before its environmental damage is weighed against it.
There was discussion about the CPRE national position on HS2. This is generally seen as
supporting HS2, in contrast to the opposition of most CPRE County Branches. Considerable
concern was expressed by many present at CPRE’s support for HS2, and at the fact that the
Government was using that to talk up its plan and defend it.
Andrew Watson stressed that the national CPRE body is a separate charity; and that its view is not
shared by many Branches or members of CPRE. He has stressed to the Chief Executive of CPRE
that the national CPRE stance has changed from applying the ‘Five Tests’ in 2010 to a position of
support for HS2, without consultation with the membership. Following the expression of view at
this meeting, he undertook to stress to CPRE National Office again the Warwickshire Branch’s
opposition to its support of HS2.
Mark Sullivan spoke on three matters.
Firstly, he circulated an article in ‘Warwickshire Life’ of March 2012 in which CPRE
Warwickshire discusses the procedural and constitutional procedure being used for HS2. What the
Government is doing is unprecedented. In the past new railways were promoted by British Rail or
a consortium (example: HS1), and the Government was the decider but not the promoter. Morover,
HS2 is being promoted like motorways were 50 years ago – a single route, with no consultation on
alternatives before a details plan was issued.
Secondly, he set out CPRE’s ‘Five Tests’ for the acceptability of any high-speed rail proposal.
These were first published by CPRE in February 2010, before the HS2 plan was issued. Thus they
were drafted without any knowledge of the actual proposal.
The ‘Five Tests’ have the objective of ensuring that new high-speed lines support sustainable
development, respect environmental limits and will assist and not conflict with the sound planning
of the areas it serves or crosses. They are that any HS rail proposal should:
1. Protect the environment, by for example using existing transport corridors
2. Tackle climate change and minimise energy needs
3. Shift existing trips rather than generate new ones
4. Improve local transport
5. Integrate with planning and regional regeneration
(The full CPRE Five Tests are circulated with this report.)
These tests are not met by HS2, for the following reasons.
1. The environment is not protected. Existing transport corridors are not used at all by HS2.
2. The energy consumption is high. 50% more energy will be required to run HS2’s proposed
400 km/h trains than the existing Eurostar London-Paris trains use
3. The shifting of journeys from air to rail as a result of a new line will be small as internal air
flights within England are a small proportion of all travel. Instead, HS2 would generate
wholly new travel, including Birmingham-London commuting; and lead to longer
4. HS2 as proposed would have no links with local transport and no effective interchange
with other rail services.
5. The line would not serve areas needing regeneration. In the West Midlands these are:
Nuneaton, North Coventry, and the Black Country.
Thirdly, he outlined an alternative solution for rail development.
There is no case for a new line in the short term. However there is a longer-term problem on the
WCML south of Rugby, and it is there that new capacity will be needed. There is no capacity
problem between Rugby and Manchester, except in the Stafford area where a shorter bypass line
has been proposed in the past. A ew line ran from London to the Rugby area could be relatively
easily extended to Leicester along the closed Great Central trackbed (which the M1 was itself
aligned to follow). That would have the additional benefit of enabling Sheffield, Nottingham and
Leicester to London trains to use a new line south of Leicester. The heavily used Bedford-London
line would then be able to handle more cross-London Thameslink services. The WCML south of
Rugby would be able to carry much more freight than it currently does.
These factors together lead to a solution of a new railway, close to or following the M1, between
North London, Rugby and Leicester. Drawings displayed at the meeting showed the practicality of
It would be technically and environmentally feasible to extend such a new line from the Rugby
area to Birmingham by placing it alongside the M6 between Ansty east of Coventry and Castle
Vale (NE Birmingham), to reach a station in Central Birmingham. This was shown on drawings.
However such a line would carry relatively few trains, because Coventry and Birmingham
International would not be served by it. Many trains would still run via Coventry. An alignment
alongside the M6 therefore needs to be compared with the Centro (West Midland Passenger
Transport Executive) proposal to convert the Coventry-Birmingham line to 4 tracks. Upgrading
Rugby-Coventry-Birmingham would ensure that Coventry is served and not bypassed, as it is by
Mark Sullivan finally referred to examples of high-speed lines which have been built alongside
major motorways. This has generally proved successful and met with public acceptance. He noted
the examples of High Speed 1 (London-Channel Tunnel) through Kent, and examples in France,
Switzerland, Belgium and Germany.
Ian McDonald set out the Railfuture response to the HS2 consultation, and the Railfuture
alternative. The Railfuture response to the Government in July 2011, and an 8-page summary of
Railfuture’s approach to HS2, are being circulated with this Note.
Railfuture (legally called the Railway Development Society) represents rail users across the UK,
and many local rail user groups and campaigns are affiliated to it. It has a high level of knowledge
of the rail system as it draws on so many local experts. It considered the HS2 plan and has found it
badly flawed and not the right solution to developing the railways’ capacity and effectivness.
Ian McDonald explained that Railfuture supported the development of new lines, and high-speed
rail in principle, but opposes the HS2 plan. HS2 is very poorly thought out and has a great many
defects. The very high design speed was not justified, the route through open and attractive
countryside was not acceptable, and other options have not been considered. In particular
following motorways, the most disruptive and noisy transport corridors, has been unreasonably
Key points in Ian McDonald’s presentaion were:
There has been no overall plan for development of the rail network, or a transport strategy,
on which HS2 is based. It has been produced essentially in a policy vacuum.
HS2 links badly with the national network, with poor interchange, and substantial distances
where this is supposed to be provided. Birmingham Interchange and Birmingham Curzon
Street are examples.
The residual services on the WCML would be lower-frequency and slower than now. The
result is likely to be a worse service to several important towns than they receive from the
present WCML intercity service. (Coventry, Rugby, Stoke-on-Trent were cited.)
HS2 attempts to replace three main lines – West Coast, Midland and East Coast – for long
distance travel. This is impractical and cannot be achieved.
It proposes up to 18 trains per hour each way, which is technically doubtful and unrealistic
if operation is to be efficient.
The whole plan has been distorted by the insistence on serving Heathrow airport by a
station at Old Oak Common in West London. Although only a small number of the forecast
users would be airport passengers this has set the basic principle for the whole plan and
caused an alignment through the Chilterns AONB and open countryside in Bucks and
Warwickshire to be chosen.
HS2 would have a slow and congested connection with HS1 which is expensive but would
The cost is now extremely high- £33 billion for the whole ‘Y’ plan and £19 billion just for
London to Birmingham. That would make HS2 be the most expensive HSL built anywhere
HS2 already includes 25 miles of tunnel on 108 miles of line between London and
Birmingham. And this could increase.
Railfuture does not believe that opposition to HS2 can succeed without an alternative
which provides some new rail capacity.
This new capacity should be integrated with the national network and be part of it, not be a
separate railway whose trains are specifically built for it and cannot use other lines.
Railfuture has developed an alternative which is described in more detail in its submissions
to the Department of Transport in 2011. More work on it has been undertaken in 2012
(some was displayed on the wall.)
The Railfuture alternative alongside M1 and (if necessary) M6 would have only 6 miles
(10 km) of tunnel. It will be slightly longer (3-4 miles) but is expected to be per mile
cheaper by a large margin.
By following the M1, trains from Midland and Northern cities could access St Pancras as
well as Euston, making connection with HS1 simple. An interchange at Brent Cross on the
Midland Main Line (where major development and a new Thameslink station are planned)
is a solution for providing access to Heathrow by one change.
The Department for Transport has failed to respond to the Railfuture proposal, despite the
level of analysis that was put into it. The official response statements issued in January
2012 do not address it.
The DfT and HS2 Ltd assessment of a version of an ‘M1 corridor alternative’, which is in
the official response documents, is fatally flawed by the insistence than any high-speed rail
plan must be routed via Old Oak Common to serve Heathrow. This unreasonably restricts
the scope for alternatives to be properly compared and prevents a high-speed line from
effectively following the M1.
The ‘route’ shown by HS2 Ltd as an M1 corridor alternative would leave the M1 corridor
at Watford Gap to follow the A45 to pass south of Coventry and be exactly the same as
HS2 itself through the Meriden Gap. It is not an M1/M6 corridor alignment.
The following subjects were highlighted in the discussion that followed.
The process that Lord Adonis set in train in 2009 and led to issue of one detailed route in March
2010 does not enable debate on alternative strategies for rail development, or alternative types of
high-speed rail. The specification of a very high speed (requiring almost straight alignment), a
larger loading gauge enabling bigger trains, and segregation from other services, prevents
alternatives to the HS2 concept and route being appraised fully. It also bars entrants with
alternatives to HS2 from a fair hearing before Ministers because the Secretary of State for
Transport is himself the proposer of HS2.
The ‘Right Lines Charter’ offered an alternative way forward when announced. This was
publicised in 2011 and drew considerable support. However it had not been converted into the
intended association of environmental groups and rail user organisations. Its principles remain
important, in CPRE Warwickshire’s view. However the Right Lines Charter Group has not met
since 2011, and there is no current body to carry the ‘Charter’ forward.
The Judicial Review about to take place in the High Court: concern was expressed that Railfuture
and CPRE are not involved and have not contributed. (Mark Sullivan advised that in 2011 he had
sent legal questions on HS2 to CPRE National Office for submission to its ‘Standing Counsel’, a
QC, to give advice on. Standing Counsel gives some free ‘pro bono’ legal advice to CPRE.
However these questions were not conveyed to him. MS regretted that, as it meant to CPRE has
not used the access that it has to legal advice.)
There was strongly expressed opinion that CPRE at national level should return to its original
policy of applying its ‘Five Tests’ critically to HS2. CPRE should ‘get its act together’ as it was
seen nationally as supporting HS2 even though its component parts do not. Stop HS2 stressed that
many local groups are disappointed by CPRE’s failure to oppose HS2. A number of those
attending asked that CPRE Warwickshire should tell CPRE National Office of the strength of
feeling on this. Andrew Watson confirmed that he would make every effort to do this.
The Railfuture Alternative
Following Ian McDonald’s presentation, a significant number of those present expressed support
for high speed rail as a principle, while all present expressed opposition to the published HS2
Ian McDonald and Mark Sullivan both put forward the principle that an alternative to HS2 needs
to be developed and advanced, which is more than obtaining more capacity from the WCML (the
51A Group alternative), and includes some new railway capacity.
There was support from the meeting for taking forward the Railfuture proposals and for an
assessment and costing of a solution using the M1 corridor.
Railfuture and CPRE Warwickshire agreed to pursue the development of the M1 corridor
alternative and report back to those who attended.
It was noted by Mark Sullivan and Ian McDonald that there is a published final cost for the Kent
section of High Speed 1 (the two-thirds of the line which opened first, in 2003) of £1.92 billion for
45 miles of high-speed line. This part of HS1 was built largely alongside existing motorways and
railways, and so is a potential comparator. In addition, the Network Rail study of a potential
national high-speed rail network, published in 2009, has figures for standard costs per km for
different types of terrain. Both are potential sources, and there may be others.
It was proposed, and supported by the meeting, that Railfuture and CPRE Warwickshire should
establish a general cost of the M1 corridor alternative, to show that a new high-speed line of that
type would be less costly than the published HS2 plan.
Ian McDonald agreed to ascertain whether it was practical for Railfuture to find professionals who
could evaluate the cost of the Railfuture alternative, in a fair amount of detail, and establish how
much such a study would cost to produce, and report back in due course. Offers of contributions
towards this work were made informally at the meeting.
The following detailed submissions to the Department for Transport 2011 consultation are being
circulated with the notes of the meeting. The Railfuture 8-page summary is an important guide; the
full 28-page response to the DfT contained more detail.
CPRE’s ‘Five Tests for High Speed Rail’ (February 2010)
Railfuture full response to the DfT Consultation, July 2011(28 pp)
Railfuture summary of its analysis and proposals as circulated in 2011 (8 pp)
Railfuture March 2012 press release on HS2 (2 pp)
CPRE Warwickshire Response to the DfT Consultation, July 2011 (10 pp)
CPRE Warwickshire article about HS2 in ‘Warwickshire Life’, March 2012 (in Word)
For CPRE Warwickshire
12 December 2012
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