Hertfordshire and HS2 - Some Indirect Benefit to our County

HS2 Colne Valey ViaductThe new HS2 railway line, when it is extended to Leeds and Manchester, is currently estimated to cost £56 billion. To put this into context it is roughly the cost of keeping the NHS going for about 6 months. However, while the NHS benefits everyone (at least potentially) the benefits of HS2 are restricted mainly to the travellers along the lines. The headline benefit is that it will reduce the journey time between London Euston and Birmingham by 49 minutes. Indirect benefits are that it will take traffic off the West Coast Main Line and potentially increase capacity for people commuting into London and provide more longer distance services from stations like Watford Junction. This will also enable Crossrail to be extended up the West Coast Main Line to Tring and possible onwards to Milton Keynes. HS2 Phase 1 services are due to start in 2026.

HS2 will otherwise not serve Hertfordshire and only 1.9 km of track will actually pass through the county. This will mainly be the Colne Valley Viaduct and a short length of track to the Chiltern Tunnel South Portal. The Chiltern Tunnel will be nearly 20 km long. The main construction work is expected to start in January 2019.

To enable work to take place there will be slip roads constructed onto the M25, a large contractors compound south of Chalfont Lane - which will be widened but closed to non-construction traffic until possibly as late as 2028. Tilehouse Lane will also be closed and reopened on a new alignment with a bridge over the railway when construction has finished.There will be minor works to Hornhill Way and the A412 Denham Way.

The non-railway indirect benefits come in the form of a allocation of £1.165 million to Hertfordshire from the 'HS2 Road Safety Fund' to be spent on appropriate projects before 2026. There is also a £40 million fund linked to community disruption and a £5 million Woodland Fund. An additional £3 million is set aside for Colne Valley Mitigation.

How much of this - apart from the last item - does get spent in Hertfordshire we cannot be sure. It will depend how close the scheme might be have to be to the line of the route - but I have a railway-related cycle/pedestrian scheme in mind which lies close to the West Coast Main Line and only 6 miles from the HS2 route.

It involves expenditure to complete sustainable access to Tring Station, which is likely to become a Crossrail station after the completion of HS2. I shall be asking the Herts County Council officers to see if a valid application for funding could be made.