The biggest greenwash going
According to Alisdair McGregor, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for the Calder Valley, HS2 is ‘the biggest Green project going, because it’s about freeing up freight capacity’.
The facts are as follows:
- The busiest section of the West Coast Main Line is the section between London and Rugby.
- On that section, there are four tracks (Up Fast, Up Slow, Down Fast, and Down Slow).
- In normal service, intercity passenger trains use the Fast lines. Freight and most Commuter traffic uses the Slow lines.
- HS2 is envisaged as a passenger-only two-track railway, for use by long distance trains. As such, it does not provide increased railfreight capacity on its own track, or on the existing West Coast track.
- Currently, about half the available freight paths on the WCML are not used (i.e., wasted).
As can be seen from chief engineer Andrew McNaughton’s presentation (above), HS2’s modelling does not envisage a fall in the number of passenger services using the Slow lines. Therefore, so far as can be established, the number of additional freight paths arising from HS2 would be zero.