HS2 debate: Train services slower today than 1920s

How an HS2 train might look A report claims HS2 would boost Lincolnshire's economy by £115 million a year

Rail campaigners say train services from some stations in Lincolnshire were faster in the 1920s than today.

The comparison has prompted some to call for urgent investment in the county's railways.

Ninety years ago, passengers could travel direct from Boston to London in around two and a half hours.

Nowadays, travellers have to change at Grantham and the journey takes approximately three hours.

The direct service became a victim of the Beeching cuts in the 1960s.

Author and rail enthusiast Alan Stennett said: "It was one of the fastest pieces of rail track in the country with the trains running in a straight line across the Fens and they could get up to a fair old speed."

It is claimed the UK economy would receive a £15bn annual boost from HS2 and Lincolnshire's economy would benefit to the tune of £115m per year - according to a recent report by KPMG.

But some politicians are not convinced by the proposed benefits of high speed rail.

Victorian infrastructure

Conservative councillor Richard Davies is the Executive Member for Highways and Transportation at Lincolnshire County Council.

Mr Davies said: "Just spending a fraction of the £50bn earmarked for HS2 on our roads, or upgrading our existing Victorian rail infrastructure would get much better returns."

The company responsible for developing Britain's new high speed rail network has hit back at claims there will be little benefit to areas which are not on the route from London to the north.

In an interview for the Sunday Politics in Yorkshire and Lincolnshire - Ian Jordan, HS2 Project Manager for Leeds, Manchester and Heathrow said: "As HS2 is built, it will release capacity on the East Coast mainline.

"That will mean more direct services between Lincoln and London and between Hull and London, plus better regional services."

A hybrid bill paving the way for the first stage of the HS2 route from London to Birmingham has been published in Parliament.

Tim Iredale Article written by Tim Iredale Tim Iredale Political editor, Yorkshire & Lincolnshire

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  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    When the west coast line was upgraded in the late 1990s at a cost of billions we were told more trains and faster . Today Preston , for example, gets the same hourly train to London as it ever did, smaller, far less comfortable and far more expensive. Eurostar was promised to run to Manchester but never did. HS2 duplicates perfectly fast lines, we need more carriages not this waste of money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    They keep saying it is needed to increase capasity but the trains going into Euston are not as full as other routes.It is just going to be a land grab by the government as huge numbers of people will lose their homes , unless they do actually demolish it they end up with a train at the end of the garden and little money to move away .I do not believe we have a democracy in this country any more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    The failings with HS2 are enormous for the whole country. Running from Euston is a complete nonsense. HS2 should connect with the HS1 route, and both London Airports. HS2 should have been planned as a complete package rather than the peicemeal bolt-ons to the existing routes. The route should be Heathrow, a central london calling point and upon completely new route finishing in Edinburgh.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    Ever since the HS2 proposals were unveiled, I have felt that the money could be far better spent by judicious reopening of lines closed in the 50s and 60s, electrified and enlarged to continental dimensions. The old Great Central route is a perfect example and there are others. Instead the Government seem to want to close off opportunities to do this. Selling off the Woodhead tunnel is one. Folly!

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    HS2 is going to steal the highest fare payers from the West Coast Mainline such as businessmen, bankers, politicians (those either well paid or those that claim expenses on travel). This means that WCML train companies will see profits fall and the only way they will get that back is to hike up the prices for those who just travel a few stops to work. HS2 is a plaything for the rich.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    @4 - they could invest in new rolling stock and extend every commuter service by 4 cars, for example, but what happens when those 4 carriages are full as well? You can only extend train length to a certain limit before you need to start redesigning track-work, signalling, infrastructure, as well as the already-mentioned platform length.

    Upgrading existing infrastructure would merely be stop-gap.

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    @3 alternatively why not increase capacity massively (esp during the rush hour when it's needed) by spending a fraction of the money increasing platform length and using longer trains

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    Our busy railways have growing passenger numbers and a good business case for expansion. £37b is allocated to upgrading existing lines over 2014-2019. HS2 is £28b +£14b contingency over 15yrs. Building a new line on a new route is cheaper than adding 2 tracks to the WCML, ECML & Midland Mainline and closing them for 14yrs whilst it was done.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    HS2=fast trains & CAPACITY. It relieves the WCML, ECML (through Lincolnshire) & Midland mainline of nonstop trains to let them carry more commuters & freight. And before we spend £28b (+£14b contingency) on HS2 over 15yrs we have £37 billion allocated to upgrading EXISTING lines too - so that's more money in less time on existing lines than on HS2.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    Improving any service across Lincolnshire would be of benefit to the local communities and should be what we are all trying to achieve.



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