Scores of communities and their residents impacted for upwards of 15 more years are not alone in thinking HS2 is about the worst news possible. Many of our Rail Users Group have similar misgivings.

The many criticisms levelled against HS2 include that it goes to Euston rather than St Pancras, it will take an eternity to complete and is already expected to cost three times it’s original price. This price tag is money that other improvement schemes could use. There is only so much a money tree can produce.

Justification from one London Mayoral hopeful on television included that it will reduce the need to fly. Andy Streeter, the current West Midlands mayor, alluded to similar “benefits”. There are no flights from Birmingham to London! The train is already quick enough. What these particular politicians imagine we will all be doing in the mid 2030s is pure speculation. How many of us 20 years ago envisaged mobile phones with more computing power than the first US Moon landing? Today the UK attached a 5G aerial to a space station so they can watch streamed television!

There is, however, a real negative side effect: if, and it is likely, HS2 will be the draw for years to come on available money, the immensely useful Croxley Link will still be regarded as a bridge too expensive. The vanity project of making Birmingham 30 minutes closer for a few outweighs the huge advantages across north west London of joining Underground services with mainline ones.

Put another way, the journey time to Birmingham will be similar to having missed an Abbey Line train and having to wait for the next one. You will arrive in St Albans just as the London train leaving Euston at the same time reaches Birmingham, is that right?

The new MP Dean Russell has suggested to me that the Croxley Link is a project that could succeed if London changes its mayor this year, but what if we still have the same one?

Labour-controlled London, Lib Dem-controlled Watford, a Conservative MP and government; a recipe for a decade of buck passing or a new era in co-operation?

Leslie Freitag

Watford Rail Users Group