Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

The New Power Generation?

Posted in Great Britain, High Speed, Infrastructure, Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 15 July 2011

A letter was published in the Evening Standard a couple of days ago that raised my ire so significantly that I just had to put in on here verbatim:

On March 31, Transport Minister Theresa Villiers spoke at the Westminster Hall debate on high speed rail. She assured her audience there was no alternative to High Speed 2 and “rubbished” suggested improvements to the West Coast Main Line on the grounds that these would cause serious disruption at Euston. Only now do we learn that under HS2’s own plans, evening services from Euston would face cuts of up to 40 per cent over an eight year period. Who is taking whom for a ride?
Marilyn Fletcher 

It strikes me as very odd that Marilyn Fletcher is of the opinion (at least, that is what it seems) that the refurbishment of Euston planned for High Speed 2 should engender no disruption at all to ordinary services. Does she believe that a new high speed railway terminus could simply be produced by replicator like in Star Trek? While the anti-HS2 campaign tries to present itself as thinking purely in terms of the business case for High Speed 2 not being proven (with Wolmar, unquestionably the most prominent and vocal anti-HS2 person within the railway fraternity, maintaining this point of view eloquently), the more one reads of those that do oppose it, the more one reaches the conclusion that they don’t want it simply for the disruption that building it will cause, and the estimated fall in proerty value that having high speed trains thundering through their gardens smashing windows with their unbearable noise will bring about. This contagion also seems to be spreading from those green and pleasant lands in the Chilterns where the bulk of the route will go, to the north western burghs of London through which the line will run (partly in tunnel) to reach Euston. It seems to me that this contagion, the complaining about all the “terrible disruption” that comes about from the construction of major infrastructure works, is spreading. Whenever people are interviewed about the ongoing work on Crossrail, particularly at Tottenham Court Road, the responses are uniformally “the disruption is terrible, I don’t see why it has to be like this, it should stop, blah blah blah”. Similarly, when Thames Water announced plans to construct the “Thames Tunnel”, a new 14 mile long sewer pipe intended to reduce sewage outflow into the River Thames, the outcry was heard from Hammersmith to Beckton about how long the works will be and all the damage to property values. Is this the case in other parts of the country? One can understand that the citizens of Edinburgh are fed up with how long it is taking to build their tram system, but that is because the entire project has been one cock up after another. But if a project is on time, starting when it says it will and finishing when it says it will, delivering upgrades to the infrastructure that allows us to live the way we do, then should we complain? Will there be complaints from the people of Manchester if and when the proposed Second City Crossing begins construction about how disruptive it is? Or is the “NIMBY Power Generation” a wholly South-East based phenomenon?

“London’s super sewer causes a stink”
“Metrolink second city crossing ‘vital’ for Manchester”

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