When it was built Curzon Street Station in Birmingham was one end of a cutting edge railway line. If the government’s plan to build a high speed railway line from London to Birmingham really does come to fruition then it could, once again, be back in the hi-tech rail business. But this looks likely to be quite a battle between railways and conservation.
Lord Adonis told the House of Lords that the views of communities along the route would be particularly sought.
“Subject to this consultation, the London terminus for the high-speed line would be Euston, the Birmingham city centre station would be at Curzon Street, and there would be interchange stations with Crossrail west of Paddington and near Birmingham airport.”
The preferred route will run out through north-west London, skirting to the south-west of Aylesbury, then to the west of Buckingham and the east of Brackley and Banbury, before passing between Leamington Spa and Coventry and running into the eastern side of Birmingham.
A future extension is being considered to northern England, which would run in a Y shape with one branch to Sheffield and Leeds and the other to Liverpool and Manchester. Lord Adonis said the project would create 10,000 jobs and yield £2 in benefits for every £1 spent. He said the first 120 miles between London and the West Midlands would cost between £15.8bn and £17.4bn.
However the National Trust in the Thames and Solent region remains dubious, again from the BBC website.
Patrick Begg, director for the National Trust’s Thames and Solent region, said the proposed route could cause “serious and significant impacts on the landscape” of the Chilterns.
He added: “We’re taking a keen interest in how these impacts have been considered and assessed, particularly exploring the government’s proposals for mitigating against these impacts through design and tunnelling.
“Like many people, we’re yet to be convinced that the overall business case for HS2 – the high-speed line – stacks up environmentally, financially and socially.”
Clearly this is going to be a hard fought battle around nature conservation, even though the benefits for building conservation could be great.