Northamptonshire County Council reiterates support for HS2

View from near Kingash of Wendover Dean viaduct
View from near Kingash of Wendover Dean viaduct

The HS2 high-speed rail proposals would benefit Northamptonshire because of the extra capacity it will open up on the Northampton to Euston line, it has been claimed.

Northamptonshire County Council has faced criticism for its support of the controversial scheme, which will cut through the south of the county near Brackley.

But the authority says the scheme would improve the existing service on the West Coast Main Line, and could open up the possibility of hourly services to several destinations in the north.

The council has repeated its support for HS2 in its response to a Government consultation on the project.

In a report, which will be discussed at a meeting of the authority’s cabinet next week, director of environment, development and transport, Tony Ciaburro, said: “HS2 is an important issue to this council, and despite the impact of the route on parts of the county, we support the proposals on the basis of the supposed benefits that we will receive from released capacity on the West Coast Main Line and the Midland Main Line.

“The key priority for Northamptonshire County Council, in terms of the use of released capacity on the West Coast Main Line, is ensuring there is good connectivity between Northampton, Long Buckby, and other WCML stations used by Northamptonshire residents, to key destinations on the West Coast Main Line.”

The response goes on to say that the council’s adopted rail strategy could be implemented if capacity on the West Coast Main Line is freed up.

The strategy aspires to the creation of an hourly service to Chester, Liverpool, Manchester, Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle and Glasgow.

The council will also “strongly press” for the restoration of a direct service between Northampton and Trent Valley stations.

In contrast to Northampton, the county council says HS2 would cause a “significant disbenefit” to the north of the county if a new East Midlands station is built at Toton.

The report says all journey times to Derby and Nottingham from Kettering, Wellingborough and Corby would increase. It adds: “Providing competitive journey times and journey choice will be crucial to securing the economic vitality of North Northamptonshire and is vital in encouraging people to use public transport.”