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December 18, 2010


christina Speight

When on earth was this? No Snow! Leaves on trees! Shirt sleeves!

Inefficient to put this out now


The bit I found amusing was when Bercow shouted "Order!" at the crowd. What a complete prat he is.
Less amusing is the fact that Mr Bercow charges £20,000 when he goes on a work related trip. HS2 will be very good for people who can't do that.
We're not getting a High Speed link down here in the South West. I wish we were. Infrastructure improvements are the fastest way of increasing GDP. John Bercow doesn't really have to bother with things like that though.

Lindsay Jenkins

Surely what you want in the SW is electrification of the lines?

Country Mouse

Surely, as Speaker, Mr Bercow is not allowed to express political opinions. Some time ago I used to live in the constituency of a deputy speaker and he never took up any point on my behalf. He expressed sympathy and passed my letter on to the relevant department.
Someone must stop this Speaker before he completely wrecks our Parliament.


Save the Chilterns and save £17 billion.

Bill Hall

What a shower. If only Bercow would venture up North and explain to the people of Manchester and Leeds why he is so implacably opposed to HS2 it would help make Conservatives in the North of England believe that they belong to the same party as Bercow et al. If the North-South divide is ever to be resolved, then relatively cheap, high speed rail travel will be critical. It is still far cheaper for two people to travel by car between Manchester and London than by train. Why must all the big rail infrastructure projects (Crossrail, Tube upgrade etc) concentrated in the South? Yes, London and the South East are incredibly important to the UK economy. But the North of England, with 25 per cent of the English population, should be able to provide a positive contribution to the much talked about re-balancing of the economy. But it will not happen without some chunky investment in the North's antiquated rail infrastructure.


Surely Mr Bercow is entitles to stand up for the views of his constituents, otherwise they are effectively unrepresented. As for this toy train venture, it is no good for the users as they have you over a barrel - poor service and no competition. Quicker they agree to a 3rd runway at Heathrow the better - at least the airlines do compete to an extent.

It doesn't add up...

Surely we know that HS2 will wind up costing much more than the projected £17bn if it goes ahead, and the fares will be so high that only those on expenses will afford to travel on it, and it will never be a viable economic project. It will thus do nothing to improve practical communication links with the North. It is a vanity project.

I recently travelled on the motorways between Surrey and Lancashire, and due to accidents went both ways round Birmingham. The M6 in particular is in a shocking state: that should get priority over HS2.

Andrew Smith

The proposed high speed lines have nothing to do with travel for the people nor economic growth, but everything to do with the vanity and convenience of the political class. They are convinced they know best how to spend our money and they search around for an excuse to do so.

Ultimo Tiger

I hope they drive it right through Buckingham, just for them voting in Bercow.

We Northerns will wave from the train windows as we pass.


Can't quite understand the reason to put out this video of a demonstration back in September?

Was there all this fuss about building the M40? This is far more damaging to the local environment than HS2 will be.

While in Kent observing HS1, from a quarter of a mile away one could barely hear the Eurostar trains whizzing by above the continuous roar of the M20 just beyond the line. Trains on HS2 will be faster, but presumably the noise mitigation measures will take this into account.

Caroline Strafford

When speaking to a resident of Amersham (on the proposed high speed route as well) I said - how could we possibly afford £17 billion. The answer I was told to my surprise was - Europe is giving us the money. Is this really true?

C H Ingoldby

I'm not very impressed by all the people claiming that a railway line will somehow wreck the environment and cause disruption. Railway lines crisscross the nation and they are not intrusive or disruptive. The idea that this will 'destroy' the Chilterns is just stupid.

I think a lot of people just love the chance to complain and make a fuss. The only genuine concern about this railway line is about the financial cost.

Malcolm Dunn

I wish Phillip Hammond all the best and hope that he chooses not to compromise with Bercow or those demonstrators at all.

clive elliot

I live half a mile from the London/Brighton railway line,a four-track monster, and also under one of the departure routs from Gatwick.

The railway disturbs us more than the planes.

Steve Tierney

Rail seems, to me, to be a ridiculous method of travel. Who can afford it? The cost to go anywhere is ridiculous. It's uncomfortable, inconvenient and only takes you loosely near where you want to go - after which you must get a bus or a cab or a bike. If you've got a load of luggage, young children or an animal its a nightmare. If a high speed rail line is the solution to our travel problems then I'm Santa Claus (and i'm not, but the way, or I'd just go by sleigh.)

Robin Clash

Why this is published now, I do not now, but....

There are several flaws with HS2:

1. The claimed gain of 30mins less from London to Birmingham, is incorrect. NB Claiming the train will travel at 250MPH, is false. TGV has an average speed of ~187mph, due to the law of diminishing returns. i.e. extra speed at the cost much more power used.
2. It might actually be the case that the existing train line to Brum is quicker than HS2. NB London to Euston takes you from central London to Central Brum'. HS2 takes you to either the NEC/Birmingham International Airport, (see note below), or to a new station north of Brum. Add on the time it takes for a second train or cab to Brum centre and the gain will be negligible.
3. Claiming HS2 is the start of a high speed service to the north and Scotland is specious. e.g. Brum to Manchester is doable, as is Brum to Leeds. However,I cannot see a high speed service to Scotland as either it goes via Leeds, and the east coast mainline, or you tunnel through the pennines, not going to happen.
4. Travelling from London to Brum takes, ~1 hour versus 40mins, (maybe) with HS2, not a meaningful advantage.
5. Travelling from London to Manchester, (~population 1.5M), takes, ~2:00 hour versus 1:20, (maybe) with HS2, not a meaningful advantage.
6. Travelling from London to Leeds, (~population 600,000), takes, ~2:00 hour versus 1:20, (maybe) with HS2, not a meaningful advantage.
7. Travelling from London to Liverpool, (population >1M), takes, ~2:00 hour versus 2:00, because HS2 doesn't go there, so no advantage.
8. Travelling from London to Sheffield, (population 1M), takes, ~1:45 hour versus 1:45, because HS2 doesn't go there, so no advantage.
9. Travelling from London to Glasgow/Edinburgh, (population 3.5M), takes, 2.5 hours, (including airport check in), versus 3-3.5hours with HS2 and will cost much more than flying.
10. Business travellers like travelling to: USA, Far East, South Africa, parts of Europe.
11. Business travellers don't like travelling to: Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds an Liverpool.
12. Travelling within ENGLAND, will be reduced as high speed broadband and video conferencing makes internal travel stupid.
13. HS2 costs a fortune and will most probably cost much much more than the claimed budget.
14. Cameron has little idea about the world outside of his inner sanctum!

Penny Gaines

During the actual meeting with Philip Hammond and John Bercow inside, a question was asked about videoconferencing.

Philip Hammond's answer was that he thought that demand for domestic travel would not be affected by videoconferencing, only demand for international travel.

Midddle Class resident

What a one sided and biasied video. 'Mr Hammond dashed inside' when clearly he is walking at normal pace.There is nothing more irritating tan self appointed middle class NIMBY protesters.

Robin Clash

@ Penny Gaines,

Aren't politicians so last century? If the gov' wanted to reduce CO2 emissions then surely pushing mobile communications versus getting on a boat, train or plane would be a good idea?

Robin Clash

Dear Midddle Class resident,

I also abhor NIMBYism, which is why I am more interested in hearing a debate on the financial fundamentals of the scheme. Oh and by the way, the CO2 emissions argument is nonsense, until we build some nuclear power stations and quickly. Huhne and his "quixotic" wind turbines frighten me to death. Cameron knows no more.

This leaves us with:

1. Getting to Birmingham airport 20 mins quicker
2. Bringing the north and south closer

For a 30£Billion bill and rising.

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