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HS2 for North Wales

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Given politicians’ ignorance about transport in general, and railways in particular, it wasn’t too surprising to find that there is a ‘HS2 for North Wales‘ campaign, chaired by Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones. It claims that

By rail from London you can get to Paris faster than Wrexham. For a country that invented railways, that is truly ridiculous.

It is true that the London to Paris rail journey is shorter than the London to Wrexham one. But it’s not ridiculous. Wrexham is a small town, and as such, has to be served by non-express trains. If the London to Birmingham 49 minute HS2 service existed, it’s highly likely that Paris would still have the time advantage.

By Eurostar, London to Paris is 135 minutes, so for the rail journey to Wrexham to be shorter, the onward journey from alighting the HS2 train in Birmingham must take less than 86 minutes. But direct (no-change) services from Birmingham New Street to Wrexham take 95 minutes or slightly more, and that’s before adding in the inter-station transfer involved in the HS2 journey.

HS2 has nothing to offer North Wales. The best way to improve its rail links is to pursue an upgrade strategy, including electrification of the Crewe to Holyhead track.

Written by beleben

August 13, 2011 at 11:21 pm