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Experts say scrap HS2 and spend money on old tracks

Staffordshire | News | Published:

HS2 should be scrapped and its £50 billion cost spent on bringing old railway lines back into use that were closed by Dr Beeching, according to experts.

The Bow Group, a Conservative thinktank, said redundant lines could be revived at a fraction of the cost of the high speed route.

Its new report, Reviving Britain's Railways, sets out the potential benefits of these less expensive schemes, against major projects such as High Speed 2.

Recommendations include looking at closed routes, and match-funding when private sector investment could help to revive lines which have been closed for years.

Lines across the Black Country and Staffordshire would be revived if the idea ever went ahead.

Dudley was one of the biggest communities in the country to be hit when its station at the bottom of Castle Hill was closed in July 1964.

Walsall station managed to avoid the full force of the axe, but had its services drastically reduced.

Across the country 4,500 miles of railway tracks were put out of use.

But campaigners say the project is a waste of money.

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Recently other lines and station that were victims on the Beeching axe have also reopened and are thriving.

The Rugeley Trent Valley-Walsall line closed January 1965, but reopened to Hednesford April 1989, and to Rugeley June 1997.

And Cannock station reopened in 1989 and now serves 225,000 passengers a year.

Elizabeth Anderson, the report's author, said: "Tracks and tunnels closed in the Dr Beeching era could be vital now in improving transport links across the country."

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