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Plans for a high-speed rail route through Lichfield have been scrapped.
HS2 protesters in Lichfield
Philip Hammond, the Secretary of State for Transport, confirmed the revised HS2 line would avoid the city and the nearby village of Whittington. Speaking in the House of Commons today (December 20) Mr Hammond said:
“An improved alignment has been identified which would move the line further away from Lichfield.”
The city’s MP Michael Fabricant believes the new route will be seen as a victory by many local residents.
He said: “They have abandoned the railway viaduct which would have flown over Britannia Park in Lichfield and blighted the lives of people living in hundreds of homes as well as being an eyesore across most of Lichfield. “The train will be forced to slow down as it approaches Lichfield district from the south as the track takes an inverted ‘S’ bend passing roughly midway between Lichfield and Whittington then swinging to the left to pass east of Streethay and heading out to the north west. “Many in Lichfield and Whittington will regard it as a major victory. I am aware that this new route will still cause huge difficulties for those in its path, but it greatly minimises the effect on residents of Lichfield district. Far fewer people will now be affected. “It is the culmination of countless meetings I have had with the Secretary of State for Transport and his engineers and with the Prime Minister.  If the line is eventually constructed, it is the route which will cause the least damage.”
Despite the decision lifting a cloud that has been hanging over many local residents, Mr Fabricant admits it may not be the end of the argument about HS2.
Michael Fabricant and Philip Hammond talk to HS2 protesters outside the Lichfield Guildhall
The Conservative MP explained:
“The question still arises as to whether HS2 is the best way to link the north and south of the UK and I know that the Lichfield Action Group will argue that HS2 is not the way to achieve this and that it should not be built. “I have an open mind on the matter.  The existing north-south rail links are reaching full capacity and some solution does now need to be found before our rail service clogs up altogether. “If there is an alternative which will deliver the same benefits than constructing a new line, I would welcome it.  But the Department of Transport assert that longer trains and increased signalling on existing track to increase the number of trains are only a short term fix. “The HS2 is not about shaving off a few minutes between Birmingham and London.  It is all about connecting the north and Scotland with the south east for the next generation.”
A five-month public consultation into the revised route will start in February.

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11 replies on “Revised HS2 route takes new line away from Lichfield”

  1. Great news for Lichfield and Whittington, and I hope all those involved in the fight against HS2 will not now fade away as their threat has been removed but think of those areas still affected

  2. The reallignment of the line into Lichfield does look better as the boley park viaduct has been moved.But cant help feeling sorry for the Packington Moor Farm Shop and for those who enjoy a game of golf at Whittington Heath Golf Club . I presume that as the viaduct will now be going over the clubhouse they may be due some compensation

  3. Mr Fabricant is wrong to suggest this is good news for Lichfield. It’s simply not as bad as it might have been.
    The line will be one kilometre from Lichfield and since HS2 Ltd haven’t yet done environmental assessments it’s misleading to say that the new route ‘minimises’ the effect.
    And he can’t deny that the visual effect will be a massive scar across the countryside, occasionally hidden in culverts.
    It’s also moved a kilometre closer to Whittington, much closer than that to Streetley and Fradley, Curborough and Elmhurst, so they won’t be celebrating a major victory.
    Trains will slow down aproaching Lichfield and the junction with the West Coast Main Line – until the next phase to take the line northwards, when presumably it will be straightened to allow trains to carry on at 225mph.
    Mr Fabricant is to be congratulated for his efforts in achieving a route change, but he should also have mentioned the hundreds of locals who signed petitions, attended meetings and wrote letters, and who believe not just that the route past Lichfield should have been amended, but that the whole project should be abandoned.
    Finally our MP says he is still uncertain about whether this is the best way to link north and south. He was elected to serve Lichfield, not just the city but the whole of his constituency. His closing comments seem to suggest that he is ready now to toe the party line.

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