Published by Impact Magazine March 06, 2014.
Campaigners against the controversial government plans to build a new high speed rail link between London and the West Midlands have warned that services used by UoN students could become worse if it goes ahead.
“Students in Nottingham will suffer from service cuts with London-bound travellers facing longer journey times” according to HS2 Action Alliance Local Campaigns Director Peter Chegwyn.
HS2 Action Alliance claims Nottingham local rail services will be cut to save money to contribute to the new line. This means there would only be one direct train to London per hour, with five stops on the way.
The HS2 would connect London and Birmingham with a second phase joining up Manchester and Leeds. The difference to the current route is the speed at which the trains would run: up to 250mph, considerably faster than any other line in Europe.
“The plan should be to develop new strategies to improve the lines we already have”.
Journey times would therefore be dramatically decreased with London to Nottingham going from 1 hour 44 minutes to 1 hour 08 minutes with HS2 in place. The Department for Transport is also arguing current issues of overcrowding could be solved, and new customers could be appropriated from road and air travel.
However, the HS2 Action Alliance reasons that Nottingham students would be better served by the £50 billion budget being spent on improving local transport, health and education services. It is calling on local council members and MPs to oppose the plans.
“It will mean significantly shorter journeys and less overcrowding “.
First year Pharmacy student Laura McCoubrey believes “the plan should be to develop new strategies to improve the lines we already have, meaning some disruption to services in the short term, but likely saving billions of pounds in the process, conserving miles of countryside and also providing jobs across the country”.
Physics and Philosophy student Tom Herzberg, however, approves of the plan, as “it will mean significantly shorter journeys, less overcrowding and would offer new potential services to Europe”.
Depending on the result of the 2015 election, construction on the initial London-Birmingham link could begin as early as 2017 with a view to open it in 2026. The onward leg to Leeds (which would stop at Nottingham) would not be expected to start until 2019 and open by 2032.
Nottingham’s local economy could increase by 4% by 2037 as a result of HS2.
The government has used job creation and economic growth arguments to support the proposal. A report commissioned by HS2 Ltd claimed Nottingham’s local economy could increase by 4% by 2037 as a result, with KPMG concluding business connectivity would additionally increase by 23.3%.
Despite this, many are opposed to the plan, citing environmental concerns and claiming London will benefit more than the Midlands.
Yasemin Craggs Mersinoglu
Image credit: Dave Hitchborne, via Wikimedia Commons