The challenge for people like me who live in the South East of the UK or perhaps I should say of England given we are now entering a high risk of a break up of the UK, is that our view about HS2 risks being very distant and very disconnected. However once every few months I visit one of the areas intended to benefit from HS2 (Liverpool) and then I can get some of the views from people nearly 300 miles away from my home and much closer to the end point of the proposed NW HS2 route. It is many years since I visited Yorkshire and to get to the Leeds area which is the NE location for the end of HS2 gives a rare opportunity for me to find out what people in this area think. What is clear is that the concept of a train improvement between London and Leeds would certainly be welcomed with one very clear and loud IF. The IF relates to the many other concerns and requirements that many people in this region have on their agenda. The real issue is how well can they travel to Leeds from parts of the same region and much more importantly how well can they get to places such as Manchester and Liverpool. These are in effect the HS3 themes. So my visit to Bingley came because of a course that a relative of mine wanted to participate in. A journey from Crosby to Bingley by car was fractionally under one and a half hours. The journey by train would have been fractionally over 3 hours. It is clear that reducing the time of a trip from Leeds or Liverpool to London by around 20 minutes would always be welcomed. However given that the Liverpool trip by train is currently around two and half hours, this would mean that the time would be fractionally over 2 hours for a journey that is just over 200 miles. On the other hand for a journey that was merely 70 miles long to take fractionally over 3 hours demonstrates that we need to focus on routes that are far less resourced as a priority. And just in case my views as a distant and disconnected person are irrelevant the views of the leader of Wakefield Council, Denise Jeffery were published in today’s Yorkshire Post. As this piece explains that the ambition of several councils in Yorkshire is to improve the connectivity within their region and between it and Manchester along with Merseyside. So it appears our experience and views are consistent with a wide range of other people who live in the area we visited today.
If the Government do have the guts to end the nonsense of HS2 and once they have adopted improvements for the North East and the North West, perhaps Nusrat Ghani who is the Government Minister who has promoted HS2 extensively, could take a bit of care to improve transport matters in her own constituency where I work!