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The row over the route for HS1 - 10 years on

It's been ten years since the high speed line between Folkestone and London St Pancras was completed.

But it was talked about for 30 years before it was built. And one of the biggest sticking points was the route it should take.

There were several different options proposed over the years - through Sussex as well as Kent.

Abigail Bracken's been looking back at the rows over the route. Her report includes interviews Charing Parish Council's Cllr Tylden Reed and the former Conservative MP for Maidstone and the Weald, Ann Widdecombe.


CPRE report on the High Speed 2 rail line predicts half-a-million will be affected by the route

The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) is warning that life in towns and villages up to 25 miles from the rail route will be disrupted by the movement of construction vehicles while the line is being built.

The organisation is publishing its analysis of the impact of the project, in the form of a series of maps, based on information it has obtained from HS2.

According to advance details released to The Mail on Sunday, towns along a 40 mile wide corridor - such as Thame in Oxfordshire, Princes Risborough and Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire, and Leamington Spa in Warwickshire - will be affected by the millions of extra lorry journeys.

We have considered all construction access routes as part of the development of the draft Environmental Statement on which we consulted earlier this year.

– HS2 spokesperson

10 years after Eurostar speed record

Driver Alan Pears who set the speed limit with unveiled plaque Credit: ITV Meridian

Kent school children joined Eurostar to celebrate its 10 year anniversary of setting the high speed rail record.

A special plaque has been unveiled today by the driver, Alan Pears, who set the record in Kent.

On July 30, 2003, a Eurostar train sped through Kent countryside to set the record at 208mph on High Speed 1.

The record was taken near Medway Viaduct and to celebrate the record an event is taking place today.

Eurostar celebrates 10 years since getting speed record with school children Credit: ITV Meridian

High Speed 2 at "serious risk" according to report

The controversial £33bn plan for the High Speed Two (HS2) rail line through Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire many never happen, according to an official Government report. It is one of 23 major Government projects at serious risk of failure, according to Whitehall documents.

The report is from a Government watchdog set up to monitor the progress of major projects and gives them red, amber and green warnings depending on how well they are progressing, being managed and finances.

There are 23 schemes which have amber/red warning flags raised against them in the report, meaning successful delivery of the project is in doubt and urgent action needs to be taken to tackle problems in various areas.

They include HS2, Thameslink - a massive upgrade of rail series from Sussex and Kent to London and improvements to Southern and Gatwick Express trains.

The Government insist it is committed to HS2 and Thameslink because they will create thousands of jobs. They say the report is about keeping them on track but getting the best value for money.


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HS2 could bring 'poorer train service' for many

The chairman of 51m - an alliance of 18 local authorities opposed to HS2 - has warned that the project will not universally benefit train services:

Many towns and cities will be shocked to discover that they will actually receive a poorer train service if HS2 is built.

Stations such as Toton Sidings and Meadowhall are far from city centres.

West Coast Main Line and Midland Main Line services to many existing stations are certain to be reduced.

– Martin Tett, Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council

He added that the line would "blight the lives, property and businesses of tens of thousands of people".

Fast track route's third birthday

High Speed 1 was the UK’s first domestic high speed service. It was launched in December 2009 with just over seven million passenger journeys in its first year. They rose by another million in the second year, and has repeated that rise again this year.

  • Hitachi Class 395 is the fastest domestic service reaching speeds of 140mph
  • The high speed ‘Javelin’ shuttle service transported nearly two and a half million people to the Olympic Games
  • The high speed service accounts for 16.5% of all non-Metro journeys and 5.5% of total Southeastern journeys.

This year for the first time, we’re running a special Boxing Day service to help transport people between Ashford and London hoping to go to the post Christmas sales. This is part of our continued focus to provide the best possible service for our passengers.

– Nicola Shaw, Chief Executive HS1 Ltd

HS2 Summit

130 community groups will attend a summit in Aylesbury later on the government's plans to build a high speed railway line through the Thames Valley.

15 local authorities from across the South have launched a legal challenge to plans to build the £32 million pound line from London to Birmingham.

The government believes that HS2 is necessary to improve the UK's infrastructure and the economic prospects of the North of England.

The Lord Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire will chair the summit which will focus on the environmental impact of the project.

Alison Munro the CEO of HS2 Ltd is expected to attend.