I met the Transport Minister The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin last week. He was speaking at an event in London organised by those in favour of HS2 Rail.
He was appointed Secretary of State in September – and he is due to make an announcement on the route for the “Y” section of the line – the one that heads from Birmingham through to Leeds. As someone who represents the Derbyshire Dales he also has a keen eye on the route through or neck of the woods!
Derby have been making noises to the HS2 Company to try to get the line to head through their City (the touristy place). Nottingham are keen too – but appreciate that you can’t run it in town. There is a fairly logical place – between Nottingham and Derby, close to the end of the tram line and at the junction of the M1 and A52. That would seem more logical than choosing one or other city.
I did speak to Patrick after his talk – but he wouldn’t commit on the location!
The other person I met at the event was Peter Waterman (of Stock Aitkin Waterman fame). He is a really genuine guy – with a passion both for railways – but also for training young people. He sees major opportunities for young people and apprentices in particular. He employs lots of them in his steam railway engine business! He did ask the un-askable question of the Minister.
“Can we please ensure that the rolling stock is built in Britain”. A sentiment liked by the assembled crowd. Although Siemens (who had sponsored the event) went a bit pale!
So we have to wait to hear about the line location and stations. I have a pound each way on Toton Sidings. I have nothing on Derby.