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An ‘important message’

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The United Kingdom superimposed on China, from 'Under The Raedar' blog (Alasdair Rae)High speed rail was one of the topics discussed at March 2011’s Birmingham Transport Summit, with Ian Jordan delivering a presentation for HS2 Ltd. The blog of the Birmingham City Centre Neighbourhood Forum reported an “important message” from the summit.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE – HS2 is Crucial To Your Future
25 03 2011
Please spare the time to read this – your future prosperity is at stake!

Birmingham City must be well connected with the outside world to grow and prosper.

This was the theme and strong message of the Transport Summit 2011 meeting held at the Council House last Tuesday. It was unanimously echoed in speeches by key people in the Council and businesses serving the city.

Undecided about the merits of HS2 before the meeting, I left with no doubt that the future wealth of the City depends on advanced transport links to London, Continental Europe and the wider World.

Most important is easy connectivity with the developing key states of the wider world – China, India, Japan and others as they develop.

But also, Britain must shrink geographically in the eyes of key foreign governments and business investors. Getting to central Birmingham must be easier than getting to central London to encourage foreign (and UK) investors and industrialists. This is very possible!

How to achieve this?

Well, two things are essential:

  • Birmingham Airport expansion to serve much more of the world
  • the HS2 (High Speed Rail) link to London and beyond

Why HS2? Well, it will shrink Britain! A straight forward, no change no hassle journey from the capitals of neighbouring EU states is key. The planned 49 minutes extra timetable time by HS2 to reach Birmingham from the London stop, in practice disappears, due to the proximity of the Birmingham stop to business and commercial centres and the ease and speed of movement to them.

Local transport improvements in the pipeline will make Birmingham easy to live in and travel to work, and hence increase desirability of investment in new businesses.

This will make Birmingham the city of first choice in future over London.

Be aware of the opposition to HS2

The opponents of HS2 (mainly rich and influential people living along the proposed HS2 corridor) are already well organised and funded***.

There needs to be an equally vociferous movement for the proponents.

Typically, people against an idea are more energetic than those in favour.

The government is in favour of HS2!

So have your say

The Department for Transport is consulting the population.

Read the Government’s case for HS2 and have your say. Click on

Geoff Caine

*** In one village alone during a single evening a call for financial donations to oppose HS2 realised £100,000!

It may be that a call for ‘stop HS2’ financial donations raised £100,000 during a single evening. But it’d be really nice if Mr Caine actually identified the date, and the village concerned. After all, the rest of his blogpost seems to have some serious credibility problems. For example, there’s no evidence that opponents of HS2 are mainly rich and influential people. The largest population concentrations affected by HS2 are in Greater London (e.g. around Euston station), including people living in social housing.

With the HS2 scheme, urban centres like Sandwell and Wolverhampton would get slower connections to London, as trains are decelerated to serve Milton Keynes, and other places on the West Coast Main Line. Alasdair Rae’s blogpost showing the outline of Great Britain and Northern Ireland superimposed on various parts of the world, states that “The USA and China are both approximately 40 times larger than the UK”.

So Britain doesn’t really need to “shrink geographically in the eyes of key foreign governments and business investors”. Its population centres are closely spaced, and internal links are relatively well developed. In any event, I fail to see how Britain is ‘shrunk’ by increasing rail journey times from places such as the Black Country (population: 1 million plus) to London.

Years ago, Regional Eurostar trains were built to provide international services from British provincial cities. So it would be possible to have a “straight forward, no change no hassle journey from the capitals” of neighbouring EU states to Birmingham, without HS2, right now. The reason the Regional services never started, was the belated realisation that they would not be competitive.

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