Don’t leave us out of fast rail plans, says MP

nrhn 171111'An artist's impression of how the Birmingham station of the HS2 high speed train line may look.
nrhn 171111'An artist's impression of how the Birmingham station of the HS2 high speed train line may look.

A CALL for answers has been issued over a £34 billion high-speed rail route plan which looks set to run through the heart of Amber Valley.

A new report by the Government’s Transport Select Committee criticised plans to build a superfast rail route from London to Leeds via Birmingham for being too expensive and infeasible.

An unofficial map of phase two of the proposed HS2 rail route between Birmingham and Leeds shows that 250mph trains could skim through the east side of the borough by the 2030s.

But it is not known whether it will stop in the area.

Amber Valley MP Nigel Mills has issued a call to the Department for Transport for more answers, saying the line will be of no benefit to the area unless there is a station nearby.

He said: “We think the preferred route from London to Birmingham has just about been decided, but after that we don’t know anything really. I have said to the ministerial team, ‘what is the plan for this in the East Midlands’?

“Just think of the disaster if this line went steaming through and didn’t stop in our area.”

The unofficial map was produced by Chilterns-based action group HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA) in June using information on documents released by both the government and HS2, the company in charge of devising the high speed network plan. HS2AA is campaigning against the plans.

One such HS2 document entitled ‘High Level Assessment of the Wider Network Options’ states the Birmingham to Leeds line would ‘broadly follow’ the M42, A42 and the M1 motorways, linking up with a station between Derby and Nottingham, or near to the East Midlands Airport.

Hilary Wharf, of HS2AA, says this would almost certainly mean high speed trains will pass through Amber Valley as they will need to take a straight route from the foot of Derbyshire to the northern territories. The first phase of the line has already seen opposition from people living near to the proposal.

Mr Mills said there is concern the line could run through residential areas in Amber Valley. Mid-Derbyshire MP Pauline declined to comment.

A spokesperson for the Department for Transport said it is not known whether Amber Valley could get a railway station. He said: “We are currently consulting on the route from London to Birmingham and the overall strategy for the rest of the network. Any further route proposals would be subject to full public consultation.”