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National newspaper casts doubt over HS2 scheme planned for Cheshire

The Telegraph says new research questions safety of multi-billion pound project

Artists impression of the HS2 train

A national newspaper is claiming the controversial HS2 rail scheme - which it is believed could bring huge economic benefits to Cheshire - could be under threat after revealing the details of previously secret research.

It is planned to introduce the multi-billion pound HS2 project to the South Cheshire town of Crewe in 2027, prompting a massive regeneration of Crewe itself and providing enormous economic benefits for the county as a whole.

But yesterday (Saturday, March 12), The Telegraph claimed it had seen the results of research commissioned by HS2 itself showing that major engineering changes will be needed to make the system safe, massively increasing the cost of the project.

The newspaper says in the research, completed last year, railway engineering expert Prof Peter Woodward found the high speeds proposed by HS2 would create “critical track velocity effects” and “significant issues” with track instability.

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He added that speeds as high as those planned by HS2 could cause “rapid deterioration of the track, ballast and sub-ballast, including possible derailment and ground failure”.

The Telegraph reported that HS2 welcomed the analysis but would not comment on its implications for the future of the scheme or its cost.

Chancellor George Osborne visited Freightliner at Basford in Cheshire in November to announce details of the Government’s commitment to bring high speed rail to Crewe.

The new high speed link would see journey times between Crewe and London cut by 45 minutes but it will come at a cost to those living in the path of the new line.

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Mr Osborne said at the time of his visit: “We will pay, of course, fair compensation to people, make sure they get the best possible deal but as a country we have always built for our future. We have always built the railway lines in the past that were needed, we’ve built the roads when they were required and more roads are being built now. I don’t think we should give up on the future as a country and this high speed rail link is going to link our country much more closely together.

“It’s going to bring massive benefits here to the north of England and it’s the kind of thing Britain needs to do.

“It’s going to secure its future including its future here for people living in this part of the country and this means jobs and prosperity for many decades to come.”

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