Stephenson’s rocket will fire up HS2 at last – The Yorkshire Post says

Could Stephehson's Rocket inspire HS2Could Stephehson's Rocket inspire HS2
Could Stephehson's Rocket inspire HS2 | Board of Trustees of the Science Museum Group
THE RAILWAYS will always be synonymous with the pioneer George Stephenson – it is, after all, nearly 200 years since he built the iconic Stephenson’s Rocket, the world-leading high-speed train of its time.

How ironic, therefore, that it is a politician of the same name – Andrew Stephenson MP – who has been tasked with getting HS2 back on track after the £100bn project was given the Cabinet’s blessing.

Read More
Government's HS2 Minister says project 'needs to regain public trust'

And while the newly-appointed HS2 Minister is an unknown quantity, he, too, will deserve a place in railway history alongside his famous namesake if he can “regain the public’s trust” – his first objective.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad
Andrew Stephenson MP is the HS2 Minister.Andrew Stephenson MP is the HS2 Minister.
Andrew Stephenson MP is the HS2 Minister.

An admission that Europe’s largest infrastructure project has been mishandled, it is also telling that he used his first speech to call for “the entire energy” of the Government to get fully behind the 250mph line.

The inference is that this has not been the case as HS2 becomes a defining test of the Johnson government’s ability to better manage construction and costs.

Sending out a clear message that there now needs to be “a realistic, pragmatic and hard-nosed management of the costs”, it is also reassuring that Mr Stephenson has pledge to improve engagement with communities along the route and ensure that HS2 dovetails with Northern Powerhouse Rail to maximise the economic benefits that improved connectivity should provide.

Cartoonist Graeme Bandeira's depiction of the British Bullet.Cartoonist Graeme Bandeira's depiction of the British Bullet.
Cartoonist Graeme Bandeira's depiction of the British Bullet. | Johnston Press

Time will tell if Mr Stephenson is as good as his word – the regret is that it took the Government too long to face up to the shortcomings that had become so glaring to taxpayers and opponents.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

But he will help his cause, still further, if he takes this opportunity to rebrand HS2 – the name is almost as toxic as Brexit – as the British Bullet and ensure that it becomes the 21st century exemplar of the cutting-edge engineering excellence that George Stephenson, and others, developed two centuries ago.