New rail network ‘will lead to delays’

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THE new high speed rail network will mean less frequent services and delays to improvements on existing South Yorkshire lines, the Taxpayers’ Alliance campaign group claims.

The organisation has called for the £30 billion HS2 project to be scrapped in favour of spending money improving speed and capacity on the current network.

In a report, the alliance claims that for Sheffield and Chesterfield, ‘electrification, journey time reductions and increased capacity plans would not be taken forward in advance of HS2’.

It added: “There will be reduced frequency and increased journey times for existing city centre stations and loss of a local transport interchange.”

The organisation also claimed Doncaster would suffer, with ‘service frequency and journey times likely to deteriorate’.

Matthew Sinclair, director of the Alliance, said: “High speed rail isn’t the right way of getting the capacity we need. The project is set to cost taxpayers a fortune and it is increasingly clear it will be a huge white elephant.

“While politicians are holding out the promise of a faster journey for a fortunate few, huge numbers of people will face slower and less frequent services with more overcrowding.

“Everyone will still have to pay the hefty bill. The Government is passing over an affordable opportunity to increase capacity quickly in favour of a flashy new train set that won’t be delivered for the best part of two decades.”

But Tim Shoveller of East Midlands Trains which runs the Sheffield-to-London route, said: “I’m a big enthusiast of HS2. It will mean faster journeys and free space on existing lines so other services can run additional journeys.”

The new route includes a station in South Yorkshire, which is likely to be in Sheffield – although probably at a location outside the city centre.