The proposed High Speed rail network, commonly known as HS2, is back in the news this week with the new chairman of HS2 Ltd, David Higgins, publishing his review of the project, his thoughts on the progress made so far, its ongoing development and his plans for the future.
The network which will be built in three stages with phase one connecting London and Birmingham; phase two will see a Y-shaped route going from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, and announced today a rail link between Manchester & Leeds.
The whole project is still at the discussion stage and nothing has been set in stone with regards to route and costs involved but the main thrust of the argument for those who back the project believe its creation will help those northern cities compete with London and thus take some of the pressure off the capital with regards to infrastructure and housing.
The project has its critics with cost vs. time saved on journey being a major concern. With times being shaved by 20 mins or so for a journey from London to Birmingham, questions are being asked if this is worth it with projected costs going above and beyond the £50bn mark. There’s also the major impact on the environment and those people who live in the proposed paths.
It proves to be a contentious subject touching a number of aspects including the economy, politics, infrastructure, the environment and the north-south divide proving that this discussion will continue for a number of years yet.
Copyright Speakers Corner 2017