A High Speed Alternative to HS2 - an extension to HS1 - Linking London Stratford International to Leeds in 59 minutes

About Us

We are independent advocates of an HS2 alternative - "HS1a" -would cost less than HS2 (£16billion versus £80 billion), be faster London-Leeds journey time in 59 minutes compared to 88 minutes for HS2 and link up with HS1 and the Channel Tunnel.

Saving British Steel jobs

Our HS1a track would use high quality British made steel not cheap Chinese imported steel and help secure the future of 40,000 UK steel jobs and a strategic national industry. By committing money in 2016 to buy UK steel we will help keep UK steel working.

We could have all the benefits of HS2 with none of the drawbacks and less than half the cost.

No tunnels, no huge compensation bill, 500,000 of households unaffected (unlike HS2).

HS1a could connect with HS3 linking to Manchester and northwards to Scotland. Since a HS2 link to Scotland has been abandoned HS1a is the only viable project which aims to link the nations of the United Kingdom to Europe.

Projected outine route (subject to local referendum & compensation)

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Step One - Scrap HS2

The HS2 route is too long, too expensive, too slow, causes too much damage and is too expensive. A recent FT report estimates already by 2015, before a single spade has been put into the ground, HS2 Limited (A subsidiary of the Department of Transport) has spent £1 billion on un-audited waste - including a high value building in Canary Wharf and paying £750,000 salary to it's Chief Executive. 60% of Voters in 2015 opinion polls now oppose the proposed HS2 route and Cost and only 1% rate HS2 as a priority for spending.

Step Two - A new Route

Our route runs only 182 miles direct London-Leeds (compared to the 256 mile route for Leeds-London under HS2). The route heads north from Stratford International through Essex, Cambridgeshire, Lincolnshire and Yorkshire to the planned HS2 station at Leeds New Cross. It connects with the HS1 line at St Pancras in the same way the Olympic Javelin service operated in the 2012 Olympic Games. 

The Speed

The 182 mile track will run through low population density areas, so will run faster than the average HS2 London-Leeds journey speed of 170 miles per hour, so we estimate a minimum journey time of 59 minutes is achievable.

The Cost

Our scheme is projected at a Cost of £16 billion plus rolling stock, compared to the £42-80 billions of HS2. Moreover it might see a London-Leeds High Speed route operational by 2020 - six years ahead of HS2, subject to local referenda and planning approvals. Clearly a HS1 extension will cause need for extensive and generous compensation and mitigation but the total cost of this will be a small proportion of the perhaps £14.5 billion required by HS2

Phase 2

Phase 2 could link  Manchester (HS3)  Newcastle and Scotland by 2024.

Economic Benefits

HS1a - would cost each UK family only £570 compared to the estimated £1500 from HS2. Moreover many of the projected job creation opportunities in the  Leeds Economic region (perhaps 13,000 jobs) would not involve the heavy burden of taxation and national debt required by HS2 .It is felt that the £14 billion saved as against HS2 might be better used to cut income tax , corporation tax and fuel duty to further boost economic growth.

Other National Investment Projects savings might be invested

There are a score of National Infrastructure Projects being crowded out by HS2. These include: Cancer Research Funding, Universal Child Meningitis B vacinations, Heart Research, New Anti-biotic drug research, Renewable Energy Investment, Motorway Investment, National Rail Infrastructure, Regional and City Transit Systems, Rural and National Ultra High Speed Broadband Investment, Housebuilding, Brownfield decontamination, Regional and London Airport Expansion, University Science R&D, 


"HS1a " - is a proposal placed by Wakefield based Liberal Democrat businessman  Jonathan Pile in an email to all  Liberal Democrats MP's on  April 13th 2014 for consideration for the 2015 General Election Manifesto, also to the Social Liberal Forum.  All support is welcomed for this scheme from other parties (SNP, UKIP, Greens and industry groups. There is no connection to HS1 Ltd and all mentions to HS1 are made in open domain under public rights of freedom. This plan has been resubmitted to leadership candidates as party of 2015 leader debate. 

(C) Jonathan Pile 2014