Conservative Transport Group

A Special Interest Group of the Conservative Party


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High Speed 2

Press Release 9 Nov 2011

The Conservative Transport Group congratulates the House of Commons Transport Committee on their excellent insight into the issues facing the Government in developing its high-speed rail strategy.

  • We share the Committee’s concern that the Government have not yet demonstrated how HS2 fits into a national framework for intermodal, and interconnecting, transport, and in particular how HS2 complements our wider national aviation policy.
  • The Committee take the very sensible view that HS2 should proceed on the basis that all the proposed alternatives to HS2 could leave us with worse capacity and congestion problems in the future if the present strong growth in rail travel continues.
  • We are very pleased that the Committee recommends the Government to set out more clearly the costs and benefits of routing HS2 through Heathrow, and making it the principal interchange for West London. This analysis should encompass the status of not only the three possible complementary schemes (linking Heathrow to Reading, Gatwick and Staines - Airtrack Lite), but also an analysis of any further schemes that could add value to Heathrow as a HS2 interchange. Heathrow airport is a major destination. Old Oak Common is not.
  • The construction of a link from HS2 at Lichfield to the Birmingham – Derby line would enable HS2 trains in phase 1 to cut 30 minutes off the journey times from London to Derby and Sheffield and also permit trains from the North East to access HS1. We consider that the inclusion of this link would improve the financial returns in building HS2 and are pleased the Transport Committee supports this.
  • The Transport Committee has noted the lack of information on the number and locations of stations on the full route (to Manchester and Leeds). We are concerned that HS2 Ltd will opt for the easy option of building parkway stations that will not generate the expected traffic levels and in doing so will omit many important city centre stations such as Nottingham, Stoke-on-Trent and Sheffield from HS2 services.
  • The lack of explicit details on the likely pattern of services on the classic lines when HS2 opens has failed to inspire confidence in HS2 in many areas that could benefit from increased capacity in the classic lines from HS2, and generated much unnecessary opposition to HS2.

Ends

Notes for editors. The Conservative Transport Group are members of the Conservative Party with an interest and knowledge on transport who act as a conduit for discussion in transport matters between Ministers and party members.