Redcar MP backs rival high speed train scheme that promises more for the North

Darlington and Stockton Times: Ian Swales Ian Swales

AN MP has broken ranks by urging ministers to explore a rival high-speed rail scheme which promises bigger benefits to the North-East.

Ian Swales, the Redcar MP, threw his weight behind a little-known project called High Speed UK – arguing it would save billions and link far more cities across the North.

The Liberal Democrat said the £42.6bn HS2 scheme is flawed because it is “basically all about London”, offering few benefits to the rest of the country.

In contrast, High Speed UK (HSUK) insists its proposals are “25 per cent cheaper” and would: * Improve journeys on 498 key routes – instead of just 44 routes, if HS2 is built.

  •  Avoid a reduced serve on any routes – while HS2 will make journeys worse on no fewer than 135.
  •  Connect all nine ‘primary cities’ of the North, Midlands and Scotland with direct, high-speed trains - running hourly or more frequently.
  • Cut intercity journey times across that network by an average of 40 per cent – far more than five per cent, under HS2.
  • In Darlington’s case, link the town to ten ‘primary cities’ – up from eight, under HS2 – including across the Pennines.
  • Link Middlesbrough to London and Manchester, through high-speed trains running on classic lines. The town is not on the HS2 map at all.

Mr Swales said: “The problem with HS2 is that it is basically all about London, with little benefit for the North-East.

“This scheme would run up the East Coast all the way to Scotland, but – crucially – it would also improve connections across the Pennines, from both north and south.

“For example, there would be big savings in the journey time from Newcastle to Liverpool and to all the big cities along that vital economic corridor, as well as links to Scotland.”

Mr Swales stressed he was “not against HS2”, but added: “Another option has emerged from people who know the rail industry.

“I think it deserves serious consideration by the Government - and it’s not too late, because there is no spade in the ground yet, is there?”

HSUK would see a single high-speed line built up the East Coast to Glasgow – through Darlington and Newcastle - with spurs off to all England’s major cities.

A cross-Pennine spur would allow 225mph trains to run between the North-East and Liverpool, on a route widely criticised for its poor service.

In contrast, HS2 will only connect the region to Birmingham and London – and the trains will slow to conventional speed north of York.

However, HSUK – which is planning a major Westminster launch – is likely to be criticised for failing to provide a direct London-Manchester link, or Birmingham-Manchester.

In the Commons, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said only the existing HS2 scheme would deliver the biggest benefit – an increase in capacity.

He added: “I think HS2 is the right scheme to go ahead with. We will get a train service that is adequate for this country not just for ten or 20 years, but for the next 150 years.”

But Quentin Macdonald, one of the brains behind HSUK, said it was the result of seven years’ work, by rail experts with many decades of experience.

He told The Northern Echo: “HS2 is bloody awful – it does nothing for the North. You would expect high-speed rail to link up the North, but you can’t even get from Newcastle to Liverpool.”

Comments (7)

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4:53am Sat 5 Apr 14

bambara says...

This scheme would benefit the whole country instead of just London. It's got no chance then, the Tories have no interest in benefitting anyone outside of the tory heartlands.
Expect to see them try to rush through decisions and contracts for HS2 before the next election can put a stop to it.
Cuts to benefits, no money to pay the independant pay review bodies recommended pay rise to the poor, but £50 billion available for a vanity project aimed at siphoning money off to tory backers?
This scheme would benefit the whole country instead of just London. It's got no chance then, the Tories have no interest in benefitting anyone outside of the tory heartlands. Expect to see them try to rush through decisions and contracts for HS2 before the next election can put a stop to it. Cuts to benefits, no money to pay the independant pay review bodies recommended pay rise to the poor, but £50 billion available for a vanity project aimed at siphoning money off to tory backers? bambara
  • Score: 6

7:11am Sat 5 Apr 14

Auldgadgey says...

HS2! we're still waiting for HS1. That was promised to bring jobs and prosperity to the north, where did it stop......where all the money stops London.
To the Bullingdon boys the north is where one bags grouse and the occasional peasant.
HS2! we're still waiting for HS1. That was promised to bring jobs and prosperity to the north, where did it stop......where all the money stops London. To the Bullingdon boys the north is where one bags grouse and the occasional peasant. Auldgadgey
  • Score: -1

11:14am Sat 5 Apr 14

David Lacey says...

Putting aside the ridiculous comments above from left wingers, this proposal is what many people have been calling for for years. It will bring genuine benefits to the north and Scotland unlike HS2. Of course support is suppressed because HS2 is designed to turn Birmingham into an outer London suburb. It will NEVER come here and I fear that the second phase to Leeds will also fall be the wayside.
.
The same people who support HS2 will be against fracking - another economic benefit for the north.
Putting aside the ridiculous comments above from left wingers, this proposal is what many people have been calling for for years. It will bring genuine benefits to the north and Scotland unlike HS2. Of course support is suppressed because HS2 is designed to turn Birmingham into an outer London suburb. It will NEVER come here and I fear that the second phase to Leeds will also fall be the wayside. . The same people who support HS2 will be against fracking - another economic benefit for the north. David Lacey
  • Score: 0

4:29pm Sat 5 Apr 14

cushybutterfield says...

Its pathetic if they only want to take this new proposed High Speed Rail Link to finish roundabout the LEEDS AREA and ignore all the NORTH EAST. Who invented the Railways ?. GEORDIE, George Stephenson, so like most other things the North East is being IGNORED AND LEFT OUT similar to most ****BRITISH***** Representative in the European Parliament in Brussels. When ANY important decision is made with regard to Britain's interest in the EU they are TOLD TO ***LEAVE THE ROOM AND **RETURN ONLY WHEN ***SPOKEN TO. Any high speed Link should be from LONDON TO EDINBURGH,... end of matter and ANY one buying any RAIL Ticket, should ONLY in the future ASK for either ****FIRST TARIFF, ***SECOND TARIFF the Edwardian/Victorian WORD '''''''CLASS****is a dinosaur stone-age, expression and should be consigned to the railway dustbin. The word ****CLASS should therefore be completely erased from ALL RAIL an/or RAILWAY TICKETS.
Its pathetic if they only want to take this new proposed High Speed Rail Link to finish roundabout the LEEDS AREA and ignore all the NORTH EAST. Who invented the Railways ?. GEORDIE, George Stephenson, so like most other things the North East is being IGNORED AND LEFT OUT similar to most ****BRITISH***** Representative in the European Parliament in Brussels. When ANY important decision is made with regard to Britain's interest in the EU they are TOLD TO ***LEAVE THE ROOM AND **RETURN ONLY WHEN ***SPOKEN TO. Any high speed Link should be from LONDON TO EDINBURGH,... end of matter and ANY one buying any RAIL Ticket, should ONLY in the future ASK for either ****FIRST TARIFF, ***SECOND TARIFF the Edwardian/Victorian WORD '''''''CLASS****is a dinosaur stone-age, expression and should be consigned to the railway dustbin. The word ****CLASS should therefore be completely erased from ALL RAIL an/or RAILWAY TICKETS. cushybutterfield
  • Score: -1

7:48am Sun 6 Apr 14

bambara says...

Cushy can you provide any evidence backing up your assertation that British representatives are asked to leave the room when decisions are being made with regards to British interests?
I can find no mention of this anywhere, and if true I'm sure the people of this country would be interested to know the full details. Of course if it is not true, and is just an urban myth, or related to very specific and exceptional people and instances, then we equally should understand the qualifying factors.

In regards to Europe, I would say that what we need is a law in the UK which asserts the primacy of the nation state.
We are first and foremost a nation state, and not a state of a federal europe. We should have a law which makes it plain that in any instance where the laws of the EU stand in direct conflict with the laws of the nation state, then it is the laws of the nation state which will be deemed to hold sway. (The nation state being an independant and sovereign entity.)
Should the EU believe in any instance that such national laws are totally incompatible with continued membership of the EU, they will of course be fully at liberty to terminate the membership of the nation, but not at liberty to overule such laws. Do you think they would eject us, or choose to keep the UK and the UK net contribution in the EU?
Cushy can you provide any evidence backing up your assertation that British representatives are asked to leave the room when decisions are being made with regards to British interests? I can find no mention of this anywhere, and if true I'm sure the people of this country would be interested to know the full details. Of course if it is not true, and is just an urban myth, or related to very specific and exceptional people and instances, then we equally should understand the qualifying factors. In regards to Europe, I would say that what we need is a law in the UK which asserts the primacy of the nation state. We are first and foremost a nation state, and not a state of a federal europe. We should have a law which makes it plain that in any instance where the laws of the EU stand in direct conflict with the laws of the nation state, then it is the laws of the nation state which will be deemed to hold sway. (The nation state being an independant and sovereign entity.) Should the EU believe in any instance that such national laws are totally incompatible with continued membership of the EU, they will of course be fully at liberty to terminate the membership of the nation, but not at liberty to overule such laws. Do you think they would eject us, or choose to keep the UK and the UK net contribution in the EU? bambara
  • Score: 1

10:24am Sun 6 Apr 14

David Lacey says...

You make an excellent case for leaving the EU and voting UKIP.
You make an excellent case for leaving the EU and voting UKIP. David Lacey
  • Score: -1

8:15pm Sun 6 Apr 14

NorthStart says...

Another full scheme alternative to HS2 is Plan B on the NorthStart website:

http://hsnorthstart.
wordpress....
Another full scheme alternative to HS2 is Plan B on the NorthStart website: http://hsnorthstart. wordpress.... NorthStart
  • Score: -1

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