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31/03/2011
Building HS2 would mean worse journeys for Northants commuters


Northampton Chronicle article online today:

Many train passengers will face slower and less-frequent services if the Government's HS2 high-speed rail scheme goes ahead, including some in the East Midlands, a report has claimed.

Creating the HS2 will mean Euston station in London "becoming a building site for seven years", it said.

The study from the TaxPayers' Alliance added that until the second north-of-Birmingham phase of HS2 is built, there could, from 2026, actually be a 6.6% reduction in the number of seats available on the London to Scotland West Coast main line compared with 2012.

The TaxPayers' Alliance also said that by 2033 there could be a 15% seat reduction on East Coast main line services from London to York, Darlington and Newcastle.

The report listed the towns and cities which, according to the TaxPayers' Alliance, will have "worse rail services as a result of HS2". These include Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Manchester, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield.

These destinations would be "negatively hit by worse journey times, fewer seats and/or fewer trains per day", said the TaxPayers' Alliance.

It said: "The project is expected to cost over £30 billion (more than £1,000 per family) and has been justified on the basis that it will mean more seats on more trains, yet many towns along and around the route will, in fact, lose out".

TaxPayers' Alliance director Matthew Sinclair said: "High-speed rail isn't the right way of getting the capacity we need. The project is set to cost taxpayers a fortune and it is increasingly clear it will be a huge white elephant.

"While politicians are holding out the promise of a faster journey for a fortunate few, huge numbers of people will face slower and less-frequent services with more overcrowding. Everyone will still have to pay the hefty bill."

Transport Secretary Philip Hammond described the Taxpayers' Alliance (TPA) report as "spurious" adding that it was not right to say that HS2 would mean other projects would not go ahead. He went on: "We are investing £2 billion a year in (the cross-London) Crossrail (scheme) and when that is finished we will spend £2 billion a year on HS2. It's perfectly possible to invest in major strategic rail projects and still invest in other rail projects."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2011, All Rights Reserved.

 

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