I agree with Nick on rail upgrade

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I AGREE with Nick. The Midland Main Line railway should be electrified and upgraded (Sheffield Star, May 30)

But Nick has been wholly misled to persist in supporting a new high speed rail line – the suggested HS2 line from London via Birmingham.

Once scrutinised in detail, the business case, the economic case and the environmental arguments put forward for HS2 have been shown to be flawed by independent observers.

The upgrade and electrification of the Midlands Main Line (MML) was the provision that the Yorkshire Transport Authorities were pushing for before HS2 was dropped on them.

If the upgrade of the Midland Main Line goes ahead, it reduces any need for HS2 even further.

If it doesn’t go ahead it will be because all the money will have to be diverted into HS2 construction and running costs.

The MML upgrade will do enough to enable faster trains, more trains and longer trains. And they will go direct to more local destinations than HS2.

MML will cost a fraction of the £34 billion the government claims for HS2.

It is not planned to open until at least 2030 and South Yorkshire taxpayers will have been paying many millions for HS2 for years with no benefit before then.

Best of all, the MML upgrade is essentially ‘spade ready.’ MML upgrade investment will give a boost to the local economy now to help get us out of this recession.

It is revealing that Nick talks of campaigning for South Yorkshire only to be on the route for HS2.

It is still not explicit that the high speed railway will have a station in the Sheffield area at all. If there is to be a nominal “Sheffield” station, judging by previous HS2 decisions it is likely that the new station will not be in the city centre.

At the same time, rural areas will be sabotaged by the massive new cuttings, bridges and viaducts.

Local authority planning officers in Sheffield have been meeting in secret with HS2 staff to work out the high speed route options. Nick should be demanding that his constituents are told of the planner’s conclusions now.

Dr Paul Thornton, 390 Cromwell Lane, Burton Green, Kenilworth, Warwickshire