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Lichfield campaigners vow to keep up fight against HS2

A Lichfield campaign group has vowed to continue its fight against the HS2 rail route – despite revised plans lessening the impact on the city.

Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, revealed yesterday (December 20) that a 685-metre viaduct carrying the line would not be built.

Instead a new route will go from Hints through Whittington Heath Golf Course before crossing the A38 just north-east of Streethay,  near The Manor House, then swinging back to join the West Coast Main Line between Elmhurst and Handsacre.

HS2 protesters in Lichfield

A spokesman for Lichfield Action Group (LAG) welcomed the news that Mr Hammond had abandoned the plan to build the viaduct, but reaffirmed the group’s intention to continue the fight to stop HS2.

He said:

“We are pleased that the Minister has listened to the people of Lichfield, who made it clear at the public meeting in Boley Park Community Hall and when Mr Hammond visited the city that the route was unacceptable. But Mr Hammond should take note of the fact that the vast majority of people have let us know that they don’t want HS2 anywhere.

“The new route takes HS2 about one kilometre away from Boley Park, but one kilometre closer to Whittington. So what’s good news for Lichfield is bad news for Streethay, Whittington, Curborough and Fradley, and there will be bad news to come for Armitage, Kings Bromley, the Ridwares, or wherever the extension of HS2 goes through Staffordshire to the north of Lichfield in the future.

“This is a £30billion white elephant, £30billion that would be better spent on improved infrastructure, on education, health, police – front-line services that are facing drastic cutbacks.”

The spokesman said that the people of Lichfield should be grateful for the efforts of MP Michael Fabricant in speaking out against the route, but added:

“HS2’s business and environmental case are still flawed- these amendments won’t change that. When we began our campaign we were naturally concerned on the local impact which stirred us into action but as we explored the proposals in more detail we became convinced that the HS2 proposals should be opposed in principle as they do not make economic or environmental sense.

“This has become a status project and the resources proposed would be better spent in improving the existing rail network and the planned High Speed Internet with associated facilities for video conferencing. In the present weather what use would HS2 be?”

Lichfield Action Group plan to hold a roadshow and rally in the new year as part of a campaign organised by a national federation of action groups and they urge all surrounding villages to support the event and show their opposition to the whole project.

To contact Lichfield Action Group email lahs2t@gmail.com.

A volunteer wrote this. Say thanks with a coffee.

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7 Comments

  1. rab

    27th December, 2010 at 12:08 pm

  2. p j wood

    7th January, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    How much extra fuel will an HS” high speed train use compared to present speeds of 125-140mph, surely that is fast enough?
    Phil.

  3. Chris

    9th January, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    They dont use fuel, they are powered by electricity and though the consumption is obviously much higher the benefits attract more passengers.The argument is best summed up like this – the WCML *NEEDS* more capacity, substantially more, and ideally less high speed, long distance trains mixing with slow local or freight services. The only realistic option is two more tracks.There isnt enough freight so they have to be passenger, and following the existing line for commuters would destroy too many houses and cause too much disruption to the existing line. Therefore your left with a new line for long distance services, albeit at huge cost – do you build it through the chilterns on a high speed alignment to attract not just existing travellers but new ones as well, and make economic extensions to Manc/Leeds and further or do you build a slower speed alignment, both at a similar cost. If the formers business case is supposedly so fragile, the latter one is a lost cause.

  4. phil wood

    10th January, 2011 at 9:18 am

    Chris, Electricity is fuel, and a lot more will be used.
    any speed advantages will be lost by the lack of stations en route, unless one lives near the stations.
    I would also dispute the “Need” for more capacity, most trains that I see, are half empty, with the exception of Lichfield-Birmingham local trains at peak hours, money would be better spent giving these more capacity, Phil.

  5. Chris

    10th January, 2011 at 2:27 pm

    Speed advantages will be *possible* by the lack of stations – it will speed up services from Birmingham _and beyond_ while the WCML’s fast lines will, during the peaks at least, operate more as a high speed commuter line rather than trying to accomadate the whole range of fast and semi-fast services it does now. If you have any doubt over the *need* for more capacity, dont take my word for it – read Network Rail’s WCML RUS (route utilisation study). The southern section will be effectively full around 2024, even with all planned upgrades and the longer trains – there are very few train paths available even now (ie where new services can be slotted into the timetable), and by the time HS2 opens its predicted people on Virgin services will be standing south of Crewe. Dealing with that has been on the mind of industry commentators, Railtrack, Network Rail etc for many years – and this seems the best long term option.

  6. phil wood

    10th January, 2011 at 5:07 pm

    Chris, I feel that if as I would need to travel 20 miles or so to a station, any speed advantage would be lost. I don’t believe much that network rail tell me.
    Anyway, I will not be conversing further as I have better things to do,
    Best of luck to you but I hope it never gets built. Phil

  7. Chris

    11th January, 2011 at 12:55 am

    I apologise if i’ve put you off Phil, but i dont think there’s anthing wrong with trying to debunk opinions which just dont hold water. For example, while HS2 may not directly benefit you i doubt Crossrail will either – but so long as it benefits enough people to make them viable and useful economically, it doesnt matter. That said, it will still benefit many people who continue to use the WCML. Neither do i see your reason to doubt Network Rail, they have believe for some time a HSL is the best way and produced their own ideas seperate to the governments. Plus the WCML RUS merely echoes the others carried out over the years – major tunnelling will likely be needed south of the river too.