The High Speed Rail (HS2) project is designed to significantly reduce journey times between London and the north of England but it is putting the future of a miniature steam railway at risk.
HS2 has been a major talking point for ministers since the idea was put forward and while it will help take the burden off the busy mainline train routes it could actually run through homes, businesses and attractions. One of these affected is Echills Wood Railway, a miniature steam railway in Warwickshire, the Birmingham Mail reports.
The Midlands attraction stands in the middle of the HS2 plans and puts honorary member Pete Waterman in a tricky situation. The former Pop Idol judge and lover of all things railways opened two of the tiny stations at the Kingsbury Water Park attraction but also sit on the government’s high speed task force aimed at getting taxpayers value for money on the HS2 project.
Should the HS2 plans go ahead then Echills Wood Railway will be forced to relocate its Sandy Curve section as high speed trains plough through en route to the East Midlands. Staff have already considered how to work around the new railway and have looked at where it could potentially be relocated to.
Jeff Stevens, general manager of the site, told the newspaper: “We will have to lift track, move things around and find different ways of working. We will be making a compensation claim which will run into thousands. One ton of track alone costs £12,000.
There is a silver lining however, as if HS2 is given the go-ahead the miniature steam railway will have a number of years to make a decision before it is actually affected. While moving the most popular line of the attraction will be an inconvenience, Mr Stevens maintained that it could be done if necessary.
Ministers have promoted HS2 to taxpayers in Birmingham appealing to the businessmen and women of the city by stating that it will cut considerable time from a journey to London Euston thanks to a new direct service.