Dear Editor, Of course we must have our high speed rail service. Birmingham is the UK’s centre for manufacturing, and we are told that fast daily London travel is essential for our future industrial expansion.
The additional 2,000 seats per hour to London will enable the many hundreds of executives and managers of our most important companies to visit their London bosses or customers on a daily basis.
However, some Midland companies who supply customers beyond London, in Europe or perhaps even further afield. Their lucky executives will then be able to reach their customers by first travelling to London, where they can change trains to reach a London airport or travel onwards to Europe.
We are told there is no economic demand for such journeys direct from the Midlands or the North, so that everyone should be pleased to travel to their destination via London, although of course, some obstinate Midlanders may still persist in driving directly to Heathrow Airport instead. HS2 will be a premier class London commuter line. It is not intended to assist with national air and road transport integration policies, nor to help with direct travel from the provinces to Europe.
Routing HS2 to London via Heathrow would provide the beginning of a revolutionary new countrywide integrated transport system, perhaps at an initially lower cost than the proposed London route.
But although this would provide a substantial increase in passenger numbers and income, this is apparently not acceptable because it would add several minutes to the London journey time, thereby downgrading the perceived international status of our new prestige service. When spending such a large amount of money it is important to get our priorities right. Are we sure that we are doing this?