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HS2 and Buckinghamshire

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Buckinghamshire is one of many English counties that would be despoiled and disadvantaged if the HS2 rail project went ahead. In version 2 of its Mitigation Blueprint, Buckinghamshire county council, a member of the 51m group, reiterated its opposition, but set out changes it wanted to minimise adverse impacts, in the event of HS2 construction going ahead.

With speed having recently been ‘relegated’ in the government’s rationale for building HS2, Buckinghamshire CC have included a HS2 station in the county in their list of asks. They have also requested that the scheme provide local economic opportunities (i.e., jobs).

At present, the HS2 scheme provides no benefits to the most of the areas through which it would pass. It seems reasonable for local authorities to oppose the project, while demanding worst-case mitigation. Unfortunately, the design shortcomings of the HS2 concept are so great, that stations to serve communities in Bucks and Northants would not be possible. Indeed, even without such stations, the 18-trains-per-hour service intensity proposed by HS2 Ltd looks doubtful.

Contrary to the impression given by HS2 lobbyists, most high speed lines are low-capacity, low-intensity systems. There is no example of any line operating the “18 trains per hour at 360 km/h” proposed by HS2 Ltd, anywhere in the world.

Most high speed lines are low capacity systems. Deutsche Bahn's Hannover - Wuerzburg line operates at a fraction of the frequency proposed for HS2

Most high speed lines are low capacity systems. Deutsche Bahn’s Hannover – Wuerzburg line operates at a fraction of the frequency proposed for HS2

It’s also difficult to see much upside for places like Bucks and Northants in terms of local, sustainable, or enjoyable, jobs. There are few rail industry suppliers in the English counties, and the navvies that would build HS2 would probably move to place to place as the line was being built (living in portacabin-type encampments). The job appeal of digging unnecessary holes or standing around in stiff orange trousers waiting for ready mix lorries, must be somewhat elusive.


Written by beleben

February 19, 2014 at 1:07 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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