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HS2 row rumbles on

HS2 row rumbles on

Radical changes are needed to plans to build a second high speed rail link in the UK before they receive the backing of Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

That is according to Mr Johnson's top transport official, who has become the latest public figure to question the wisdom of the plan.

Sir Peter Hendy, the Transport for London chief, said that four key changes are needed before his boss publicly supports the scheme.

He voiced his disapproval for plans to build a £500 million link between HS2 and St Pancras continental services, while he has also called for the construction of a new rail station near Willesden.

What's more, Mr Hendy urged the government to put a section of the train line into a tunnel in order to reduce noise pollution.

He said, too, that in return for Mr Johnson's support, the government should approve the £15 billion Crossrail 2 line as a condition of extending HS2 to Manchester and Leeds.

"It's a bodge, which is an unsatisfactory bodge. We would propose deferring this as the current proposal is not fit for purpose. Our view is don't do this because it is not worth it. Save the money now," he told the Evening Standard.

Mr Hendy also underlined the need to build a rail link between Victoria and Euston as a means of easing pressure on alternative routes.

He added: "People in government might say that London has already had Crossrail 1, but without this extra capacity you will arrive high-speed in London to find Euston [tube] station shut in the morning peak because too many people are trying to get on it."

The government, for its part, seems determined to see through its original plan, much to the frustration of campaigners and environmentalists.

But with the country's rail network facing such pressure, now may be the perfect time to begin travelling by coach.

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