HS2: Plans for 250mph rail link between Toton and London revealed
Detailed plans for a new 250mph rail link between Toton and London have been revealed – but how do people living near the line feel? Alexander Britton reports.
ADAM Higgins is no stranger to having trains pass by his back garden.
Even as I spoke to the 22-year-old outside his home in Bonsall Street, Long Eaton, a goods train went by.
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By 2032, the trains running past Mr Higgins's door will be of an entirely different nature, when the new high-speed line between Leeds and Birmingham – and on to London – opens.
But it's a move he welcomes.
"I actually can't see how the new high-speed railway line will be a problem. The trains here just fade into the background and the benefits of the new line will be good," he said.
"Having a link that runs from just up the road to London in less than an hour is bound to be really popular.
"If you look at other countries, we are years behind them when it comes to rail. France, Germany and other places in Europe all have high-speed trains.
"We invented locomotives in this country and yet we seem to be lagging behind, so it will be important to sort this out."
The Department for Transport yesterday revealed the route of the second phase of the high-speed train line – known as HS2. Phase one goes from London to Birmingham, while phase two sees the line split, to go to Manchester and Leeds.
A new station will be built at Toton Sidings, with trains taking just 51 minutes to get to London Euston station and journey times from Nottingham to London reduced from 104 minutes to 68.
People walking through Long Eaton Market Place at lunchtime yesterday appeared to be keen on the plans.
Martin Duro, 28, of Chilwell, said: "It's a good idea, especially if it can bring in some jobs and money to the area."
Lana Hunt, 23, of Breaston, said: "People will want to be able to travel to London quickly and I don't think people will mind the station being in Toton as opposed to somewhere a bit closer – Toton isn't too far away to get to."
And Michael Oliver, 34, of Long Eaton, said: "It looks like a good use of money in the long run."
However, others were concerned about the cost of extending the line to the East Midlands.
Steven Watts, 38, of Long Eaton, said: "It's a lot of money, especially when you consider the state the economy at the moment. Should getting to London a bit quicker be the priority?"
People from Derby Road in Stapleford – only a mile from the proposed new station – appeared keen on the idea of a fast train to London on their doorstep.
Amber Radforth, 20, said: "I can imagine people will want to use it because it will mean getting to London a bit quicker.
"Also, if it can help boost the area, then it's good news."
Andy Shelford, 24, of Stapleford, said: "If the cost of the tickets isn't too high, I can see myself wanting to try it out.
"It's a bit of a coup for Stapleford to have a massive station built here which will take people to London in just an hour.
"A lot of people are concerned about the countryside being destroyed but I don't think the impact will be that bad."
Meanwhile, politicians have praised the plans to build HS2 through Toton Sidings, saying it would give a jobs boost to the area.
Broxtowe MP Anna Soubry said: "Using Toton Sidings makes a great deal of sense – it is a large brownfield site, not too far from the M1, with the tram terminus nearby.
"This is a great opportunity, not just for passengers in the constituency to have a high-speed link to London, Birmingham, Sheffield and Leeds but it also provides huge opportunities to raise freight capacity and for jobs and business.
"If Toton Sidings is to be the East Midlands hub, then we need to make sure there is sound connection to the tram, which may include a further link into Erewash."
Councillor Chris Corbett, leader of Erewash Borough Council, said the proposed Toton station should be named "Long Eaton International".
Mr Corbett, who lives in Shilling Way, Long Eaton, said: "I think the line could bring a lot of jobs to the area, not just during construction but afterwards, too."
He said there were some concerns that Long Eaton could become a "commuter town" but they were outweighed by the potential benefits.
Councillor Wayne Major, who represents Sandiacre on Derbyshire County Council, and lives in the village, said his only concern was the possibility of increased traffic.
He said: "I'm sure that will be looked at by planners, so it's not really a negative point.
"But there will be a lot more people coming to Toton because of it.
"Overall, though, I feel this will be a jobs and industry magnet and can only be a good thing for the area."
Toton Sidings was chosen as the site for the new station ahead of Derby's mainline station.
But Derby City Council has said it is prepared to pay tens of millions of pounds to get the station built in Derby.