Dear Editor, I must take issue with Richard Lakin’s comments on HS2. (Birmingham Post, December 22).
He is wrong to suggest that the groups challenging the high speed rail project have ever said there isn’t a capacity problem regarding peak time services on the West Coast Main Line (WCML).
Our position has always been there are credible alternatives to significantly increase capacity on the WCML – by improving pinch points on the existing track, combined with taking steps such as adding more carriages to the trains and changing the mix of first and standard seats.
The cost of around £3 billion would be substantially cheaper than the £17 billion for the London – Birmingham phase and can be delivered much sooner. HS2 will not bring about any capacity improvements until 2026 at the earliest.
Mr Lakin’s comments on the Action Alliance’s passenger survey ignores the fact that the Department for Transport has refused our Freedom of Information request to make public the peak loading figures for WCML.
It is extraordinary that if the case for HS2 is so overwhelming why the supporting data has to remain a secret when recent requests relating to other mainlines have been made public by the Department.
Martin Tett, chairman 51m – an Alliance of 18 Councils Challenging HS2