Before I had chance to see the close details of the route of the proposed High Speed Two railway, having only a layout superimposed over an ordnance map I penned the following to my readers on the Parlington History site.

Fresh from the announcement by our ludicrous Government about the way they intend to waste a further £30+ Billion (£30,000,000,000) of our hard earned money, albeit over the next many years; so we can safely assume the figure will be considerably larger, on the High Speed Railway to Leeds and Church Fenton in Yorkshire. I thought it worth while looking at the route in this “neck of the woods.” To my surprise it appears to follow the line of the M1 extension south of Junction 46 heading north and then turning to the east passing by Junction 47 then south of Lotherton Hall and across to Church Fenton.

Well to anyone who knows the area, junction 47 is the high point more or less, of the local terrain. Thus it must be intended to run in a tunnel, as the gradient would be considerable on the surface, and there is little scope for a cutting. I find it amusing because the Gascoignes’ were involved with George Hudson, the discredited railway king in the late 1830’s and 40’s where he proposed to extend the North Midland Railway north to Tadcaster, through the Parlington estate, from the line near Garforth, it never happened as we know!

Now that didn’t happen and no doubt shareholders in the venture were rightly disgruntled, but now in the age of our massive state machine, people with no brawn and no brains are set to probably do it again, whether this time it will get as far as work on the ground time will tell, but as the Viaduct in Tadcaster reminds us of the earlier folly, we may also wonder if the considerable volume of water which nearly finished off the mines in the latter part of the nineteenth century, may seriously impede the construction of a tunnel under Hook Moor!

Do let me have your thoughts, we may be able to start an action group. On a wry note with all this railway engineering, and whereas in the nineteenth century all would have been serviced from Leeds, indeed from Hunslet, the home for a new station on HS2. Today gorgeous George was admiring railway bogeys at Lucchini Group in Trafford Park, a bloody Italian Company! Oh how we have fallen.

If you are unsure of an action group, then do consider a small subscription to buy Gorgeous George and his piggy chums a copy of the works of Ludwig Von Mises or better still Friedrich von Hayek’s “Road to serfdom.” For sure that is where we are heading!

I’ve had mostly agreement from those who replied, in fact only one said that they supported HS2, so I feel that my views were worth airing. However being a member of the group undertaking Aberford VDS (Village Design Statement) I was interested to note that a fellow member raised the question of the HS2 route over the southern end of the parish. I took the opportunity to further expand on my concerns over the concept.

Firstly I am vehemently opposed to the Government spending £33Bn (£33,000,000,000) of our money, especially when by any measure the country only remains solvent as they keep printing money, which means we are all getting poorer year by year. Unless you are on index linked stuff like the MP’s pensions, could this be why they don’t give a sh*t.

Second, the benefit vs disadvantage in my view tips heavily towards disadvantage, saving theoretical journey times of 30 minutes or thereabouts,Leeds to London is a joke, albeit a sick one, especially when you factor in the improved means of communication which will be available by the time the line is built, 20 years hence.

Third, never in the history of modern government has a project come in on budget, thus we can easily expect it to go to £60Bn or more I’m sure.

Fourth, The bulk of rolling stock will be provided by the likes of Siemens, maybe the Canadian firm Bombardier may get a sniff, even the clips holding down the rails: “Pandol” market leaders since before Beeching, is now owned by the French!

Fifth, the route; I have only considered the last leg up past Garforth and on to Ulleskelf. Is it me or do they not realise that Hook Moor is one of the highest points around, knocking on 90metres above datum! Much of the line is at 40 metres. Thus the line has to take in a 2% grade as it runs up to Junction 47. Railway Engineers will tell you that an increase in grade reduces the load it can pull. There is no way the projected 200mph can be sensibly achieved through this sector. Here is a clip from Wikipedia, (I know not always accurate but I think representative)

“Gradients limit the load that a locomotive can haul, including the weight of the locomotive itself. On a 1% gradient (1 in 100) a locomotive can pull half (or less) of the load that it can pull on level track. (A heavily loaded train rolling at 20 km/hr on heavy rail may require ten times the pull on a 1% upgrade that it does on the level at that speed.) Early railways in the United Kingdom were laid out with very gentle gradients, such as 0.05% (1 in 2000), because the early locomotives (and their brakes) were so feeble.)”

Moreover, the line switches grade over Hook Moor to go down to Ulleskelf, and with these grades we are still talking of narrow cuttings in places of 7.00+metres deep. The tunnels are fairly short, more like bridges, and therefore the noise will be greater, especially as it comes out of the cutting over the top and down the other side.

A more direct route, and in my view preferable, would be to branch off slighty south of the current proposal, before the M62 in the Calder valley and take an elevated route above the wetlands (Allerton Bywater), north of Castleford, connecting with the existing main line south of Sherburn in Elmet. This has the benefit of being much lower populated and the gradients suit the final destination.

Then we have the issues of Ulleskelf and Church Fenton, hardly well connected to the road network, or does the train carry on to York at sub optimal speeds?

There are quite a lot of other things which could be thrown into the pot over this proposal, not least being that the line bisects the Junction 47 Business Park (Proposed), and looks as if it conflicts with the wind farm proposals at Hook Moor, and will ruin Barrowby Hall, and do nothing for Lotherton!

Last but not least where are the 100,000 jobs coming from, pure Neo Keynsian bullshit.

Do pass this around, I’m not being a NIMBY, just practical, if it is any good then the scheme should be floated and private funds raised to do the job. Don’t forget the dimwits in Government are endlessly telling us that the road network needs private finance, and this is where many times over the cost is collected in road taxes! Unlike the Victorian railways. On Question Time in Lancaster last night the whole audience thought the scheme a waste of scarce resources.

Sensible comments would be appreciated to bring some debate or even democracy to the topic?

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