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Lichfield campaigners told West Coast Main Line upgrade would not work

Philip Hammond (centre) looking at a map of the route with local MPs

Philip Hammond (centre) looking at a map of the route with local MPs

The West Coast Main Line could not provide an alternative to the planned HS2 route – because of the amount of properties that would be swallowed up on the approach into London.

Transport Minister Philip Hammond was quick to pour cold water on the suggestion by Lichfield protesters that such an upgrade would be a cheaper and more viable alternative to the planned high-speed rail link between the capital, the Midlands and the north.

One of the reasons, he explained, is that such an upgrade would cause “massive disruption” along the route.

Speaking during a fact-finding visit to Lichfield, Mr Hammond said:

“It isn’t practical to upgrade the West Coast Main Line by any significant amount without causing massive disruption and taking vast numbers of residential properties on the corridor as you go into London.

“We want to build a high-speed railway to get the benefits of connectivity between London and our principal gateways to the world. If we use the existing allignments we will be using the existing line speeds.”

Click below to hear more from Philip Hammond on why the West Coast Main Line would not be a suitable alternative to HS2:

See more of our coverage of the HS2 debate here.

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Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.


  1. pip

    6th October, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Haha yes because building HS2 obviously wouldn’t cause as much disruption! What a pathetic response – does Hammond think we’re all thick as pig ****?!

  2. Chris

    6th October, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    It wouldnt cause anywhere NEAR the same disruption. Just look at google earth and see how many properties have been built alongside the WCML – THOUSANDS would need to be demolished as opposed to HS2 which has been deliberately routed to keep demolitions down to a handful.

  3. Adam

    7th October, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    WIGIG: When It’s Gone It’s Gone. Something made that phrase spring to mind.