Noddy Holder: HS2 line will be a costly mistake

Noddy Holder became the latest voice against the controversial HS2

The singer, from Walsall, has a home in Cheshire where the road will be cut.

As the work progresses he has added his voice to those who say the line will end like a white elephant.

But Noddy, 75, says existing rail lines are sufficient and people simply won’t use the HS2.

The line is currently under construction between London and Curzon Street in Birmingham. Preparatory work is also underway in Staffordshire for the second section of HS2 West Midlands in Manchester.

Noddy said: “In terms of economic benefits, I am not sure how much prosperity HS2 will bring to the West Midlands. During its construction, it will provide a lot of jobs. As for its permanent impact, I am not convinced.

“I am a big defender of the Midlands. It doesn’t matter which government is in charge in London, but they seem to think nothing is happening north of Watford. They are trying to bring the rest of the country south.

The former Slade frontman said conductors should instead consider putting more trains on the existing west coast mainline.

He also suggested that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on working life may change the need for long-distance travel daily in the future.

Work is underway on the first phase of HS2 between London and Birmingham. The second phase of HS2 will move north through Staffordshire and Cheshire towards Manchester. Walsall-born Noddy, who has a home in Cheshire, said: “Personally, I don’t see how this is going to help in the long run.”

He said passengers can already get from Chester to London in good time. The average journey time is two hours and six minutes, with around four trains a day between the two cities.

Noddy said, “It’s not a long journey for people into the grand scheme of things. It would be better if they put more trains on this route instead of halving them during the day, then they won’t be as full and it will be more comfortable for the passengers.

“Instead, we are building a whole new rail network. Since the start of the pandemic, people have become a bit more accustomed to working from home. You don’t have to travel a lot. People don’t have to travel every day.

Services on the West Coast Mainline are operated by Avanti West Coast, which replaced the former operator Virgin Trains in 2019 after 22 years. Campaigners along the HS2 road, including in Woore and Staffordshire, have complained about construction disruptions and having had to uproot homes for HS2.

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