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Use HS2 billions to help Shropshire and Mid Wales commuters - expert

By John Corser | Transport | Published:

Billion of pounds earmarked for HS2 would be better spent improving the lives of commuters in Shropshire and Mid Wales, an expert said today.

An artist's impression of an HS2 train

Professor Paul Forrest said resources had been pumped into the project while existing services were hit by “frequent delays, cancellations and overcrowding”.

He said money saved by scrapping HS2 could instead be used to electrify the line between Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton.

Professor Forrest called for new routes to be established and local stations reopened.

And he said HS2 did nothing to improve rail connections to Wales, which he described as “pre-Victorian”.

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Professor Forrest, of the Shrewsbury-based West Midlands Economic Forum, says the productivity of the West Midlands is a third less than an equivalent region like Lyon in France, purely because trains services are poor and motorways jammed.

In a damning assessment, he said: “It would seem reasonable to ask where is HS2 going and what is it for?

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“It is not clear if HS2 will generate actual new jobs for the national economy or simply involve geographical relocation of existing jobs.”

Questions have been raised about HS2 after it was revealed costs will exceed £100 billion – and that the section of line between Birmingham and the north could be halted or downgraded using existing tracks.

The National Audit Office said ministers had underestimated the complexity and scale of the project.

Professor Forrest said too much attention had been placed on HS2, to the detriment of long-suffering commuters who continued to struggle on a daily basis.

John Corser

By John Corser
Business Reporter - @JohnCorser_Star

Express & Star Business Editor at head office, Wolverhampton. Welcomes all news of companies and business organisations.

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