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High-speed rail link: questions answered

LAST week, the Solihull News visited the high-speed rail roadshow at Birmingham International Station.

LAST week, the Solihull News visited the high-speed rail roadshow at Birmingham International Station.

Armed with your questions we spoke to Miranda Carter, HS2’s director of consultation.

How noisy are the HS2 trains going to be?

Ms Carter said this could vary greatly from one section of the line to another.

Transport consultants Arup were recently commissioned to do a study on the likely noise-levels. For residents living near the line in Chelmsley Wood, they estimate the sound will be around 65db.

But the carriages are likely to be more noticeable in rural areas like Balsall Common.

“I think a lot of people have real concerns about the noise levels,” said Ms Carter.

“Wherever possible we are looking at ways to mitigate the situation along the line.

“For some sections of the tracks, trains will run through tunnels and cuttings.”

What about the damage to the local countryside/Meriden Gap?

“I think this area has lovely rolling countryside and we must make a big effort to reduce the visual impact.

“As things move forward we will ask local people on what solutions they think would suit their area. We can do planting, but we don’t tend to get great lines of trees in England, so that may appear unnatural.

“But there are other landscaping options we can explore, like using earth to create banks along the line.”

How many jobs will this scheme create in the local area?

A lot of different figures have been banded around over the past year or so.

The latest statistics say there will be around 9,500 construction jobs (2,000 in the local area).

There will be 1,500 permanent jobs created at stations and along the line, but only 200 will be local. Ms Carter said there was also likely to be ‘a significant number’ created by the boost to the economy.

This could generate another 30,000, of which around 8,300 would be in this region.

Why can’t the Government upgrade the existing network instead?

“We have looked at the option - there’s simply not enough seats on current trains.

“We did consider increasing carriages and so forth, but it would be very costly in itself and still not deliver what we need. If we are going to move forward with rail travel from the 2020s and onwards, we need the capacity HS2 will provide.”



Cathrina Hulse
Multimedia Journalist
Annette Belcher
Multimedia Journalist
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