7:00am Wednesday 5th March 2014
By Alex Bysouth
AN Eddisbury MP was told any alternative schemes to HS2 would ‘significantly disrupt existing rail networks’ after questioning the proposed multi-billion pound high-speed rail project.
Stephen O’Brien MP put his questions to the secretary of state for transport, asking what alternative options his department had considered to free up rail capacity.
“For what reasons has it been decided that High Speed 2 will be the most cost-effective and economically beneficial way to free up capacity as opposed to double-decker carriages and other capacity increasing options?” he said.
Mr Goodwill, from the department of transport, said: “Since 2010 the department has considered a wide range of alternative options to a high-speed railway including the use of alternative modes, a conventional speed line and upgrades to the existing rail network.
“Our most recent assessment focused on enhancements to the existing rail network, since these are the closest in delivering capacity and journey time improvements comparable to those of HS2.
“The alternative schemes delivered lower benefits than HS2, failed to deliver sufficient additional capacity, could not offer a robust solution to the problem of poor performance and would significantly disrupt services on the existing rail network.”
Mr O’Brien also asked why a route was approved via Crewe and not Stoke-on-Trent.
Mr Goodwill added: “The options for serving Stoke-on-Trent directly were considered in and were discarded due to engineering complexities and a lack of demand for an intermediate station in this location.
“This led to the preferred route for Phase Two that was subject of a recent consultation. We are now considering responses ahead of announcing a decision by the end of the year.”
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