From: Coun Mike Jordan, Garden Lane, Sherburn-in-Elmet, North Yorkshire.
AS a councillor at Selby District, I was invited to a discussion meeting recently on HS2 and its consultation launch that is occurring shortly. Lots of conversation took place with a number of key people in the room, and I came away extremely frustrated by the whole thing.
In normal circumstances I would utter mutterings with the political group I sit with, but my efforts to solve and participate in sorting the mess that is our country’s energy policy seems to have fallen on deaf ears, so there is little point in going down that route!
First off, HS2 is a company set up by the Government in 2009 (note the date please, it’s important). Its aim is to provide a new railway line going really fast so people can get to London/Leeds etc quicker (an MP earlier this year told me it would also move freight onto the old network and off the M1 – not going to happen now). It is also designed to cope with the increase in numbers using the train. I’m fine with that.
Also at the meeting were Network Rail, and they, it appears, are doing their own bit of work (desktop at present) because they reckon they can shave a decent chunk off time now on the East Coast Mainline. So, why the heck are we having HS2?
I came away from that meeting thinking, why not spend some money on what we already have, rather than ploughing up and disrupting a stack of folk? HS2 also say it makes journey times to Scotland shorter – so what? Five times more folk live in London than the whole of Scotland and I just can’t see them all rushing up there.
Coming back to the issue of capacity, we really need to get more rolling stock first. We are still servicing 50-year-old carriages and engines and most of them are leased out to the likes of Virgin and Hull Trains (the ownership being in the hands of several consortiums) and what happens if a lease runs out is that it gets refurbished and a different set of logos on the outside. Regular users will have been on the same one with maybe three or four different paint schemes! If everything is going the same way, just put more of them on the line.
As a Yorkshireman, I cannot abide spending money, I don’t need to. If I have something that works I just improve it or add to it. If these high tech engineers could possibly spend their time on looking at this rather than just say, "oh let’s build a new one somewhere else”, then I might support them, but we have a project which is just going to keep going up in cost before a rail is laid – £33bn and climbing.
From: Dr David Hill, World Innovation Foundation, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire.
HS2 will be the biggest "white elephant” ever if this inept government and their vested-interest advisers/consultants build it.
I always thought that investment should be about long-term paybacks in terms of jobs and wealth creation.
HS2 will do neither of these after it is completed, though it will have created a train for the rich and lined the pockets of bankers and investors with taxpayers’ cash.
Indeed how is this stupid project going to create hundreds of thousands of jobs that a £43-£70bn (and counting) investment should do after completion?
In reality this new line for the wealthy (as the normal person will not be able to afford to ride on it unless taxpayers’ subsidies are brought in) will do absolutely nothing for the long-term economic prospects of the UK.
You only have to look at Japan where they have had stagnant economic growth even though they have had bullet trains for years, travelling at far greater speeds than HS2. It appears to me that there are a lot of government-connected people going to get a great deal of money again out of the poor old taxpayer – including ministers and their so-called wise advisers.
When will governments realise that the British people are not daft?
If it were up to me, I would relish the demise of both Labour and the Conservatives so that a new political force can emerge that really is concerned about the lot of the majority.
Unfortunately that is a pipedream as these two near same political parties brainwash the general public every five years with the impossible dreams of people who simply have their own vested interests at heart and not the country or the people they are supposed to serve.
Nothing could be further from the truth and where money, power and personal gain are really the politician’s game.