A RAILWAY consultant from York has helped devise a radical alternative to HS2 which he claims would be cheaper and greener, and connect up many more cities.
Former City of York Councillor Quentin Macdonald and railway civil engineer Colin Elliff , of Harrogate, say their proposals, dubbed High Speed UK (HSUK), are not just a visionary concept but a fully mapped design at a scale of 1:25,000, with sufficient detail to prove it is buildable.
The pair claimed that it achieved all the goals set by politicians for the UK high speed rail initiative but with far greater new capacity and at least 11 times better connectivity, as it links up 15 key cities.
"This is what delivers real economic growth, and a greener transport system meeting the requirements of the 2008 Climate Change Act.," they said.
"HS2 achieves none of this and in addition causes significant damage to our unspoilt rural areas such as the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which HSUK avoids."
Mr Macdonald, of Poppleton, a chartered electrical engineer with 52 years continuous experience in the railway industry, said the new high speed spine railway would run with four tracks from London to Leicester, with an option to extend them to just south of Sheffield.
He said that with its spurs, the system paralleled all the main line corridors including the trans-Pennine route and overall, the capacity of the network would be more than doubled.
The pair claimed HS2 had poor connectivity because it was a Y shaped network which simply connected a select group of cities to London and Birmingham rather than connecting 'everywhere to everywhere.'
"On the basis of the HSUK evidence, it is difficult to understand how any local or national politicians or business groups can possibly continue to support HS2."
They claimed the the Department for Transport’s advisors had steadfastly ignored the clear advantages of HSUK and persisted in briefing Ministers that HS2 was the ‘only game in town’ and that there was no alternative.
"History will not forgive any UK Secretary of State for Transport who promotes HS2 as his or her legacy when High Speed UK is available and is different, better and cheaper," they claimed.