HS2 will transform North; it is not a vanity project – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: David Howram, 
Lady Heton Drive, Mirfield.

Boris Johnson remains silent on the future of the eastern leg of HS2 to Leeds.

THANK you for your “HS2 a blow to level up” editorial comment (The Yorkshire Post, October 5). I found the report factual and rightly supportive of the benefits this new railway would bring to communities here in the North.

On the next page was an opinion report of Alexander Stafford, the Conservative MP for the Rother Valley, titled “Abandon HS2 and focus on levelling up”.

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HS2 continues to divide public opinion as speculation grows about the future of the eastern leg to Leeds.

He goes on to say that since his election as Member for the said Rother Valley “he has resolutely opposed HS2”. I am of the opinion his comments in this regard are somewhat blinkered.

This new railway is not just about a “vanity project”, providing fast connectivity, as he claims. Is he not aware that HS2 would “open and free up” our existing network that could allow local expansion of the existing rail network and provide better local transport, which he does then rightly go on to call for?

The extra capacity HS2 could provide would surely be of benefit for all communities in the North.

HS2 continues to divide public opinion as speculation grows about the future of the eastern leg to Leeds.

The roads in West and South Yorkshire are heavily congested most of the time, and should accidents occur on the M1 and M62, both “smart motorways”, then local roads become gridlocked and this does happen on frequent occasions. The present road infrastructure in the North is at breaking point.

The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, has stated he is prepared to work with the Government to introduce a regional public transport flat fare rate of £1.55 in Manchester, which would start to level us up in the North with the people of London.

Perhaps it would benefit the constituents of Mr Stafford, together with the community of South Yorkshire, if he could work along the same lines with the Mayor of South Yorkshire.

This would help bring about a levelling up that the Government has pledged to action.

HS2, coupled with Northern Powerhouse Rail, can only be the way forward. Our present congested road and rail transport network is at breaking point. I believe it is short termism for the Transport Secretary Grant Shapps and the MP for Rother Valley to suggest otherwise.

From: Roger Owen, Wetherby.

AT last, a politician with some grounded views (Alex Stafford, The Yorkshire Post, October 5).

With the completion forecast some 12 years ahead, and this country’s almost abject record in delivering such scale projects on time and budget, HS2 – this vanity project to end all vanity projects – must be halted.

Yorkshire is generally well served with peak-time travel to London every 30 minutes or so.

Much is made of Northern Powerhouse Rail and rightly so because, when there is only so much finance to spread around, this is where it should surely go.

I’m not a rail anorak but a few weeks ago stumbled on a series of “in cab” videos by Don Coffey, a TransPennine train driver, that feature rail journeys around the North with a commentary.

As the train rumbles on its journey, the comments on subjects such as “...site of former major sidings”, “...this section due for upgrade to four tracks” and so on. Fascinating stuff, if a little dry.

The main point that struck me was just how much rail land could be brought back to 
four-track operation.

Perhaps this is what Henri Murison, politicians and the rest should be looking at.

From: David Reed, Mirfield.

WHAT Alexander Stafford writes about HS2 is myopic, parochial and unimaginative.

Journey times are not “negligibly shorter”. HS2 halves journey times. It is not for “rich businessmen”, but the whole population and will prove extremely popular.

What Mr Stafford ignores is that our Victorian railway system is critically short of capacity, a problem that can only worsen.

There is no room for additional freight to get lorries off the motorways or new 
much-needed new commuter services to reduce overcrowding.

HS2 will release a huge amount of capacity on the classic network. This exciting new 21st century railway will stimulate considerable growth in the Northern economy, just as high-speed railways in Europe, China and Japan have stimulated growth. The Rother Valley will benefit from this growth.

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