Reader’s letter: Inability to build fast trains will prove costly
In his letter Right Decision (News Views, November 9) Adrian F. Sunman states the HS2 railway would have added extra capacity to the rail network but that it would have been the wrong capacity in the wrong place.
Given that the route planned ran close to the M1, it is difficult to understand how he concluded that it would only benefit people wanting to travel between London and the big urban areas in the north-west.
The need for additional capacity is illustrated by two journeys between Collingham and Heathrow Airport, both using the M1. The first took three hours, the second, on a Sunday morning with less lorries operating, just two-and-a-quarter hours.
This is just the impact that HS2 would have delivered — seven days a week — providing better journeys for motorists and a significant boost for the UK economy.
Mr Sunman is also wrong when he states that HS2 would not have done anything to ease congestion on the EMR Leicester to Lincoln line.
For a start, it would have opened up additional paths over the flat crossing at Newark to enable the much- needed two trains an hour service between Lincoln and Nottingham.
The cancellation of HS2 will take away that opportunity and the benefits proposed for Newark are minimal.
In the list of schemes, initially spun as funded by monies planned for HS2 but now apparently only options, Newark was mentioned just once with a proposal to extend London -Nottingham trains to Leeds via Newark, a scheme that is almost certainly unworkable.
I am a founder member of the Stakeholder Board formed in November 2009 following discussion between Newark Business Club and East Midlands Trains. The main objective of the board is to make the case for an improved service between Lincoln to Nottingham and it has campaigned consistently for that.
We have found that the government simply does not want that to happen and our main success was the doubling of the service frequency between Newark and Nottingham, faster trains and an improved morning peak-hour service into Nottingham that were introduced in May 2015.
As we now know, such commitments are meaningless to this government as some of those improvements were withdrawn in 2021, even though there is strong evidence of demand for them.
It is unclear why the government considers it acceptable to provide less funding for transport in the East Midlands than they do in other regions. The probable reason is that our politicians do not work as effectively together as those in places like Anglia, the Cotswolds, the North and the South-West.
The formation of an All-Party Parliamentary Group to make the case for more investment in the transport network of the East Midlands is a welcome development.
The real scandal of HS2 is that it costs ten times more to build a high-speed railway in the UK than it does in countries like France, Italy and Spain.
It is unclear whether our politicians do not know this or just do not care. What is clear is that their failure to learn the lessons from countries who do know how to build cost effective high-speed railways, will cost the UK economy dearly in the long-term. — B. POYNTER, Collingham.