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Lichfield MP ‘glad’ alternative HS2 route has been rejected

A suggested high-speed rail route through Whittington have been rejected, according to Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant

The chief engineer for the HS2 route has told MPs that an alternative route suggested by a resident has been dismissed as it fails on noise grounds and other criteria.

Michael Fabricant

Michael Fabricant

And Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant believes common sense has prevailed.

He explained:

“This route proposal has caused considerable alarm both to residents in Whittington and in Hopwas. It was unacceptable. If it had been adopted, it would have taken the railway to within a few metres of Whittington and I am glad that it has been rejected.

“I shall be meeting Prime Minister David Cameron this week to discuss my concerns regarding the engineering and route of HS2 and to discuss whether HS2 is needed at all.  In particular, I shall ask why HS2 have still not considered the use of tilting trains which can operate at 400kph yet still travel round tight bends avoiding sensitive areas.

“Part of the problem is that HS2 have planned the route with straight lines and shallow bends for conventional high speed trains which cannot help but go close or through populated areas.  The UK has over twice the population density of our neighbour France which uses non tilting trains.  High speed tilting trains are currently being developed in Japan, a nation which also a high population compared to the size of country.

“The only excuse I have heard from HS2 so far is that ‘the tilting makes passengers sick’ which is the what I heard years ago about not using Pendolinos.  I occasionally suffer from seasickness, but haven’t ever felt the need to throw up on a Virgin Pendolino. Yet.”

A decision on the original HS2 route which would cut through Boley Park and Streethay in Lichfield is set to be reached in the coming weeks.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

Founder of LichfieldLive and editor of the site.


  1. Pingback: Lichfield MP hits out at ‘untrue’ rumours over HS2 route meeting - The Lichfield Blog

  2. Chris

    8th December, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Doesnt he realise there might be a reason tilting high-speed trains dont exist. The ‘camber’, to use a road term, of curves on a HSL is much greater than on mixed-use 125mph lines – to increase the degree of tilt even further, at much higher speeds would be extremely uncomfortable as well as limiting in other areas of train design.

  3. Andrew Gibbs

    9th December, 2010 at 4:11 pm

    Tilting high speed trains do exist, try using google. They are more complicated and hence more expensive in general, therefore in ‘wide open spaces’ such as France and China they don’t get used. In a more crowded place such as Japan or UK they make more sense – assuming that the costs of extra blight from overly straight alignments are put into the equation rather than being completely ignored as is currently the case with the HS2 proposal.

    One could also free up the routing by simply going with a 300 kph maximum, which would also be environmentally beneficial and cost less money.

  4. Edward

    10th December, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    Chris is 100% correct. The ’tilt’ required on evolving very high speed lines would be too severe. The downward ‘pressed very hard into your seat’ G force involved would result in a ‘fair-ground’ ride experience and ill passengers. Great fun for a few minutes at a theme park, but not wanted when sipping coffee and laptop switched on (you would struggle to lift your arm and coffee at every tilt). Fine for lower speeds, but still extremely expensive and hard to engineer to passengers ride comfort and satisfaction.

  5. p j wood

    7th January, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    This planned route is NOT wanted ANYTIME ANYWHERE, It is an ill conceived plan when times are hard enough anyway.
    People losing jobs all over, who will do the work that they did?
    If it is ever built and I hope it never is, how long would a train going at 250mph take to stop? further than the driver would be able to see I’ll bet.
    Then wait for all the graffiti start to appear on all the concrete monstrosities.

  6. Chris

    9th January, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    P J, im not surprised that you dont see the value in this railway – going by that rant, i cant believe you’ve ever even travelled by train – do you seriously think a train weighing hundreds of tonnes and travelling at 50mph can stop within a drivers sightline, let alone 250mph? Since the early days of the railways they’ve relied on signals as speeds rose – these instructions are sent to the cab on high speed lines, there are no road or foot crossings and bridges/fencing are to a much higher standard, which is why the safety record of HSL’s is second to none. With regard to hard times, it wont be constructed till after the recession, following Crossrail using much of the expertise for a similar yearly cost. The idea that Grafitti is an argument against HS2 is just laughable – we’d better not build anything anywhere then!

  7. Phil

    9th January, 2011 at 1:18 pm

    Chris, I worked for British Rail for a time, it was without any doubt, the worst organised company that I have ever worked for!
    Should the signals or the messaging system to the driver fail, how would he know there was aproblem ahead?
    also as I have been in engineering for most of my life, I am more aware of the little things that can fail with disastrous consequences.
    I and when it happens, I will not be aboard. Phil.

  8. Chris

    9th January, 2011 at 2:31 pm

    Phil, British Rail hasnt existed for over a decade, and as HS1 has proved the construction and operation of a High Speed Line can be done safely, on time, and on budget. With regards to signalling, have you never heard of the phrase ‘Fail Safe’? Its a fundamental aspect of mechanical and electronic railway signalling, and all safety-critical systems. Its why there are so many delays caused by signal failures on the network – as new equipment beds in, and old equipment becomes less reliable, they ‘fail safe’. Cab signalling as found on High Speed lines is even safer, as the trains are technically always in contact with the signalling – if a failure occurs or communication is lost then onboard equipment immediately stops the train. These days the greatest danger when travelling by train is an outside influence – vandalism, vehicles on the track etc – HSL’s are designed to prevent or limit as far as practical these external dangers,making them MUCH safer.

  9. phil wood

    9th January, 2011 at 8:42 pm

    Chris, One of the first things to go when a company is strapped for cash is maintenance, you have no doubt heard of the term “Risk Management”, Most train crashes are caused by someones negligence, cutting back inspections and so on.
    Doubt if we would ever agree. Phil.

  10. Chris

    9th January, 2011 at 10:48 pm

    Agree on what? Im not going to argue with what you’ve said as historically that is true, however (much to many people’s annoyance) the safety culture on the railway has arguably gone too far and needs to be rolled back. You only have to look at the stats to see that the UK’s railways have never been safer for staff or passengers. Besides, i really dont see the relevance to HS2 – the UK railway network is one of, if not THE safest in the world while the entire world’s dedicated HSL network has suffered but a handful of deaths in their whole history.

  11. phil wood

    10th January, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Chris, I know that at present, we have one of the safest rail systems in the world, but I could never agree that the safety culture has “Gone too far”, This is just a cost argument again.
    How would you feel, if like some of my friends, the new track would be just 50 metres from your house? Just try selling it!

  12. Chris

    10th January, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Im not arguing that the railways are too safe, but the culture of trying to eliminate all and any risk regardless of the real life consequences got way out of hand by all accounts – people were so afraid of any risk that the same approach was being taken regardless of whether a line had 20 trains an hour or 1 train a week. After Hatfield they put drastic speed restrictions on every piece of track they didnt have full records about, pushing vast numbers of people into their cars at a far higher risk to their lives. Even basic maintenance and renewals work has needed blockades, pushing passengers onto the roads, while the occasional bump into a buffer was making trains crawl into every platform at walking pace and making many a carriage shorter in length. These are just some of the reasons costs have escalated out of control in comparison to other national networks – people lost sight of the bigger picture, though there are signs this is now being addressed. While i feel for your situation, every railway line and every road has affected people in the same way over the past two centuries and we’ve all benefitted from their sacrifice and suffering without a second thought – if its any consolation, HS1 has turned out to be far less worse than many people along the route feared.