COMMENT - HS2 on the right track?

IT is inevitable that, with a project such as the HS2 rail network, there will be winners and losers.

Residents along the proposed route are furious at the prospect of 200mph trains hurtling past their gardens, while business leaders demand urgent action on improving transport links and ushering through large infrastructure projects to stimulate the still-faltering economy.

However, before battle lines are drawn, it is worth taking a longer view. These are only proposals. We do not know what the finished railway will look like, who will be affected or, with costly legal battles on the horizon, if it will go ahead at all.

Assuming the project is approved, there are strong arguments on both sides. This area needs more railway lines and rolling stock as petrol costs tempt more people out of the car. Fast links between Wigan and major cities won’t do any harm either.

However, it is worth questioning the cost of uprating an existing inter-city route, when large swathes of Britain have almost no train services at all.