Simon Calder: A rethink on the HS2 route would be wise
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Saturday 07 January 2012
Australian railway engineers celebrated the new century by building 900 miles of new track across the Northern Territory in two years flat. In crowded, complicated Britain there is nothing high-speed about building a 21st-century high-speed line.
But by the mid-2020s Britain should have a piece of transport infrastructure of which to be proud. The land that gave railways to the world will regain some long-lost credibility, people will win time, and the hard-pressed West Coast Main Line will gain some respite.
All good? Sadly, not. The reason the Victorian railway builders were so successful was that they ran lines not just between big cities but via large towns. The chosen route steers away from existing population centres. Milton Keynes and Oxford are astride the main road and rail corridors between London and Birmingham. When HS2 ploughs through the Chilterns, they may be sidelined. Just ask the people of Maidstone, left high, dry and slow by HS1 to the Channel Tunnel. While looking again at the route will add more delay, it could prove time well spent.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 2 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 3 Van driver who comforted Clark Carlisle and called 999 after suicide attempt dies age 24
- 4 James Blunt was special guest on the highest-rating Top Gear episode ever
- 5 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
Are plastic planes the future of flight? Heathrow expansion reopens debate over aviation's effects on the environment
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The most powerful passports in the world
Settle to Carlisle railway celebrates 150 years: A line carved out of stone
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...
£22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...