Toton is right choice to launch region into new era of transport
THE director of the new high-speed rail project has defended his decision to build a new station at Toton.
The plans for the station were unveiled in January as part of the announcement that 250mph trains would be coming to the region.
When the High Speed 2 line is finished in 2032, passengers will be able to hop on one of three trains an hour from Toton Sidings to London and step out in the capital just 51 minutes later.
The plans have been criticised by many people including Derby City Council – which wants the new station for the East Midlands to be built in Derby itself.
But HS2 Ltd director Ian Jordan has defended his decision, and says Toton is still the right place.
"The new station will have fantastic connections to Nottingham and Derby," he said.
"It's not far from the M1, on a main route between Nottingham and Derby, and people will be able to come from nearby to use it.
"It will help both cities – building a station in Derby would see fewer passengers using the service than at Toton."
Mr Jordan also defended plans that the new line was not needed and the money would be better spent elsewhere.
He said: "It's right to invest this money in infrastructure for the future.
"Years ago, we would be questioning the need for motorways, but now we can't imagine getting around without the M1 or M25.
"We have a Victorian railway network and a lot of effort has gone into making it work, but we need to bring it into the 21st century."
Questioned about the impact the high-speed rail line will have on the current services that run between Nottingham and London, Mr Jordan said: "There is planned investment on the Midland mainline and trains will obviously continue to run on it when High Speed 2 is up and running."
The plans for the high-speed rail link to London have proved controversial with some groups in the region.
John Everitt, chief executive of Notts Wildlife Trust, has previously told the Post that "new development, even sustainable transport schemes and the move to a low carbon economy must not be achieved at the expense of the natural environment."
But Mr Jordan said that a key part of the process in drawing up the route of the track did include an assessment of the impact on wildlife.
He said: "Wherever practicable the proposed routes for HS2 have been designed to minimise potential impacts on protected habitats, wildlife, historic sites, waterways and rivers."
The plans for High Speed 2 will be put out to public consultation later this year with a final decision on the route being made some time in 2014, according to Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin.