Michael Fabricant has written to Philip Hammond, Secretary of State for Transport to question whether HS2 is necessary to relieve projected congestion on railway lines connecting Scotland and the North with the South of England.
In an email to the Secretary of State, Michael says:
"I attach an anti-HS2 document that I have received stating in detail how extra capacity can be found on north-south rail routes. While I am personally doubtful that rail passenger demand will increase by as much as 140% over the foreseeable future, the HS2 Action Alliance claim that capacity can be increased by over 135% utilising existing track.
"To me, the over-riding factor in supporting HS2 has been the powerful future capacity argument.
"It would be very helpful if experts in your Department could refute the calculations if they are, in fact, incorrect."
Michael says: "A research paper prepared by the HS2 Action Alliance entitled ‘More Capacity on West Coast Main Line: an alternative to HS2’ proposes a series of solutions including lengthening trains to 12 cars, improving signalling, relieving pinch points on the route, and increasing the number of – and lengthening – platforms at some stations. They calculate that by making these changes, passenger capacity can be increased by around 135% using existing track. If this is the case, HS2 will not be necessary to relieve a future north-south rail gridlock.
"However, I know that in the past, the HS2 Action Alliance have got some of their sums wrong and that is why I am asking the Department of Transport to check them out rigorously. But if they are right, and alternative solutions to HS2 can be found to relieve future rail grid-lock, this will be a powerful argument against the damage to our countryside and the natural environment caused by the construction of HS2."