Only right to question the huge expense of high-speed rail

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From: John Seymour, Northfield Court, Church Fenton, Tadcaster.

I SHOULD like to correct your recent statement (Yorkshire Post, February 4) that “protest groups are using taxpayers’ money” to oppose HS2.

We in Church Fenton, like the many other groups up and down the proposed route protesting at the gross waste of taxpayers’ money, raise money by voluntary contribution, quiz nights in the local pub, curry nights in the local restaurant, coffee mornings in the village hall, afternoon teas, plus many hours of voluntary hard work by members of the group, all in an effort to prevent demolition of villagers’ houses.

Examples of how this money is used are:

1) Printing of leaflets making people aware of what is going on in the village and how they will be affected.

2) Obtaining of paper HS2 consultation documents and delivery of same to every house in the village. Not everybody has a computer, and if they did, HS2 Ltd haven’t seen fit to distribute documents themselves.

3) Contribute to national movement, “Stop HS2” and legal costs of recent case against HS2 Ltd – legal challenges are very expensive, whereas HS2 Ltd, a wholly-owned government subsidiary, has a virtually bottomless pit of taxpayers’ money to spend on lawyers.

4) Hiring of coach for a day to visit Parliament to lobby MPs.

It is only right that the plan for, and the huge expense of HS2, be examined properly, no matter how long it takes, as it is our money that is supposedly going to be spent.

This Government can no longer be called democratic, or anything near it. They are a disgrace to the word “democracy” – of which this country is supposedly so proud.

From: D Wood, Thorntree Lane, Goole.

YOUR Editorial comment (Yorkshire Post, February 4) shows why the white elephant that is HS2 should be scrapped. The fact that it is costing millions to draw up plans, which these days are drawn using a computer in a fraction of the time it used to take drawing them by hand, should make these drawings far cheaper to produce than the millions now being wasted.

The fact that China has built a high-speed railway over a distance of 813 miles, which is considerably further than the distance from Land’s End to John O’Groats, is a sure indicator that this kind of line is not needed over such short distances as London to Birmingham or even London to Leeds and Sheffield. The fact that these are short distances makes the minimal time savings insignificant. The short distances involved also make the use of intermediate stations a handicap as stopping at these will bring down the average speed of the journey.

From: Richard Ainley, Ridge Hill, Rastrick.

IN his letter of opposition to HS2 (Yorkshire Post, February 5), Barry Foster asks: “Who really needs to get to London 20 minutes sooner?”

The answer is next to nobody needs to but a number of people may want to and many of them will be travelling to and from London for business meetings, with their fares paid by their employers. So not only will the thousands of people who can think of dozens of better ways 
of spending £50bn of our money have to foot the bill for HS2, 
they will have to pay for a lot of the tickets as well. Why? Because these business travellers’ fares will, at the end of the day, come out of either our taxes or our purchases depending on 
whether these “business travellers” work in the public or private sectors.

What can we do about it? About all we can do is keep pointing out the nonsenses that are inherent in the whole HS2 project. And don’t let any of us waste our time complaining to the politicians. They’re all for it!

From: John Smith, Gisbourne Road, Bradley, Huddersfield.

THERE is already in existence many parts of a line that would with just a fraction of the 
money being proffered for HS2 make a fundamental improvement to three major transport systems: the airports, the motorways and the capacity of the rail system to carry and disperse passengers and freight on the rail network.

What I propose is a multi-line track extending from Portsmouth and Southampton running in a large arc or semi-circle all the way round London to serve not only Felixstowe and Harwich but also to serve the new ports of London Gateway/Tilbury.

The proposed line would provide a link between most of the airports in the South and I make a proposal for a new major airport for London at the existing WWII USAF former airfield at Wethersfield.

There is even another Second World War airfield at Barnham which could be linked and provide even more capacity.

The existing semi-circle 
mostly runs through easy open country and it would be joined 
up with proposed new sections through similar easy open country.

Being a semi-circle route, it crosses nearly all of the existing motorway radial routes and it would be possible to provide not only long stay vehicle parking just off the motorway but also freight depots, which were the long term intention of Dr Beeching.