I welcome the Government’s announcement on HS2, which will bring much-needed infrastructure improvements to ensure that Britain continues to be competitive in a global economy. This line is especially important in the East Midlands given that we have much slower mainline trains than the East and West Coast lines.
Despite rumours to the contrary the proposed route from the station at Toton does not pass through Amber Valley but broadly follows the M1. The HS2 station at Toton (just off J25 of the M1) should be convenient for travelling by car, but key will be how easy it is to get there (and the proposed station at Meadowhall) by train. This was the subject of the question I asked the Secretary of State this week:
Nigel Mills MP: “I warmly welcome the announcement and especially the fact that the route will miss my constituency off to the east. Will the Secretary of State confirm that there will be good links not only to Nottingham and Derby, but to smaller local stations, such as the three in my constituency?”
Patrick McLoughlin MP (Secretary of State for Transport; Derbyshire Dales, Conservative): “I am grateful to my hon. Friend and constituency neighbour. As I have said, capacity is one of the key reasons for building the new route. It will be the first railway line to be built north of London in 120 years. We need extra capacity. By freeing up capacity, the line will enable there to be better services elsewhere.”
The documents published this week refer to a direct link to Alfreton – this may go through Langley Mill as well. There is also the question of whether the current Matlock to Nottingham service, which stops at Ambergate, would go via the HS2 Hub.
I will keep pressing on these points as the consultation moves forward.