HS2 “better than alternatives”

A report released by Network Rail says that the proposed High Speed 2 line between London and Birmingham will be a better investment than improvements to the West Caost Main Line suggested by the plan’s opponents.

Opposition to HS2 has been strong along the route, with Hillingdon among the councils opposed to the new line on the basis that investing in it will not bring the best benefits to the economy.

The route proposed emerges through a tunnel portal near Kensal Rise, then passes through Old Oak, where a proposed interchange with Crossrail has been the subject of plans by Sir Terry Farrell to produce a new commercial hub, regenerating the former rail depot land and producing up to 70,000 jobs.

It then runs through Ealing, Ruislip and on to the Chilterns.

The route now approved (on January 10) includes some extra tunnelling in West London. See this more recent story for details.

The Network Rail report, covered by the BBC, looked at two alternative schemes proposed by HS2 opponents which suggested improvements to the existing West Coast Main Line would be a better value investment.

The BBC says the report found that neither would provide enough capacity to meet the predicted passenger demand and both would result in long delays during work on the infrastructure. It concluded they would “deliver considerably fewer benefits than a new line”.

A Network Rail spokesman told the BBC: “The capacity case for a new high-speed line is clear. In just over a decade the WCML, Britain’s busiest and most economically vital rail artery, will be full with no more space to accommodate the predicted growth in demand.

“Alternative schemes to HS2 have been put forward which would deliver some short-term capacity benefits, but they would come at a heavy price in terms of disruption to passengers and the wider economy.”

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