HS2: Government are ‘barking up wrong tree’

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A retired railway worker has blasted the government’s planned HS2 rail line and said that politicians are ‘barking up the wrong tree.’

Brian Beer, a former railway testing engineer, told the Advertiser he thinks the scheme is a ‘complete waste of money’ after a report was released this week saying that the Midlands will benefit from the £42.6bn pound project.

Phase 2 would see a line from London to Leeds pass through an East Midlands Hub at Toton.

The report, published by accountants KPMG, says that regions outside London will be the biggest beneficiaries of the new service.

But Mr Beer disagrees. He said: “There are so many reasons that HS2 won’t benefit the area.

“For a start practically, people will still have to get to Toton to get on the train which will add on as much time on to their journey as the new line will save them.

“Financially there is the cost aspect of the whole project not to mention the fact that tickets will be priced so highly that a normal person won’t even afford to use it. I’ve heard forecast figures saying a return to London will be £300 or more.

“Then there is the environmental factors, a train travelling at 200mph uses three times as much energy as one travelling at 125mph, the plan completely contradicts this government’s green policies.”

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, said there will be a £15bn annual boost to the economy with the North and Midlands gaining at least double the benefit of the south.

But Mr Beer, a member of campaign group Stop HS2 said that cash being spent on the project will never be clawed back and would be better spent on improving the existing rail network.

Responding to the report, Erewash MP Jessica lee, said: “We need the new High Speed rail line because the key rail routes connecting London, the Midlands and the North will soon be overwhelmed.

“HS2 will be a real economic benefit for people of Erewash and the region as a whole - these new figures show that it has the potential to give the economy a boost of a least £1bn per year.

“For me, the case for HS2 is clear – it is an essential infrastructure project which the country needs.”