The public consultation for the UK’s high speed 2 line starts today. Whilst there is plenty of anti-HS2 sentiment in the areas directly affected by the scheme, a poll of 2037 people found that only 9% of respondents are against the plan, and 47% are for the plan and 44% didn’t seem to care very much. I travel on HS1 everyday and can see that the “scar” that such a line is supposed to make is nothing when compared to the M20 that runs along side it. One thing I hope comes out of this public hearing is that the final plans include a lot more in the way of landscaping, more tunnels, and attempts to lower the line from view so you only see something when it flies past. Soften the edges with plenty of hedges and trees and you’ll never know it was there.
Regardless, I believe this line will be built, the concern for the residents should be to get as many softening concessions as possible as it travels through the countryside – how much opposition would there be to a widening of the M40 I wonder. The last government got Heathrow’s new runway torn up by the current government based on the building new railway lines across the country, this is a plan that they will not want defeated.
As another mad idea it would be good to upgrade the Great Western line from Reading to Swansea to take 140mph trains, straighten it out and run the Hitachi class 395 from London to Cardiff. This mad idea comes out of using the line pretty much every day for the past 2 months.