Sheffielders' verdict on HS2 leg cancellation: "I am not surprised the whole scheme has been castrated"

With plans for the extension of HS2 into the north expected to be scrapped tomorrow, Sheffielders have given their verdict on what that means for the city.

Wednesday, 17th November 2021, 1:21 pm
An artist's impression of the HS2 line which is set to be officially axed today.

The eastern leg of the high speed rail project, HS2, which would have connected the East Midlands to Leeds, is expected to be officially scrapped by the government on November 18 with the publication of the long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan.

The project would have reduced journey times from Sheffield to London by more than half an hour, from 1h 59m to 1h 27m. Sheffielders spoke to The Sheffield Telegraph to give their views on the project’s cancellation.

Michael Lindley, from S11, said: “It was a vanity project from the start.

Willow Ferraby said that people should commute less to protect the environment.

"I didn’t think they had any real intention in it. It was to win votes in red areas. The TransPennine route is rubbish - it has never worked very well and a couple of billion on that would have been brilliant. But they are also capital centric. I am not surprised that the whole scheme has been castrated.”

The cost of completing HS2 was estimated at up to £98 billion, although the decision to scrap the Leeds leg could save roughly £40 billion. It remains to be seen if these savings will be reinvested in northern transport infrastructure. Reports have suggested that Leeds will get a tram system and there could be shorter high speed rail links between Sheffield and Leeds.

Barbara Wozencroft from Hangingwater, said: “I have never really seen the point in HS2 - I go to London from Sheffield and it takes about two hours. But it’s not good to get to Leeds or Manchester. If you can get to London quickly why can’t you get to Leeds or Manchester in half an hour?

“If they were serious about levelling up they would be giving us enough investment across the north not just always taking us to the south.”

Michael Lindley, from S11, believes that HS2 was a vanity project from the start.

Willow Ferraby, a Sheffield resident, said: "The problem isn’t to do with there not enough railways, maybe people should be happier where they are. I think that commuting is wrong, just find a job near where you live.

"The world is essentially f***ed because everyone wants to get everywhere too fast. People will talk about ridiculously small issues (like public transport being too slow) without ever seeing the bigger picture, the climate crisis.”

Scrapping the eastern leg of HS2, which would have connected Leeds to Birmingham has been estimated to save the government around £40 billion.