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No high speed rail for Chilterns

The possibility of a high speed rail link running along the Chiltern line through Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield is over.

The possibility of a high speed rail link running along the Chiltern line through Gerrards Cross and Beaconsfield is over.

On Thursday last week the Government revealed for the first time that it plans to build high speed rail from Heathrow to the North.

But unlike the Conservatives, who unveiled in their plan for high speed rail at their party conference in September, the Government has stated that the new line would go via St Pancras.

Lord Adonis, transport minister, said in an interview with The Times that he was keen to link Heathrow to a new high speed network to allow aireline passengers to transfer to trains for connections across Britain and to the Continent.

He said that a high speed hub with 12 platforms could be built North of the M4 near Heathrow. The newspaper said: "A shuttle would carry passengers from the terminals to the hub, which could be linked by a 15 mile tunnel to High Speed One, the Eurostar route from St Pancras."

The Conservatives support a plans already drawn up by engineering firm Arup for a hub north of Heathrow which could cope with high speed trains coming in directly from the North, by-passing the capital.

They have refused to be comment on the exact route, and Paul Forward, of rail users lobby group Passenger Focus, has said that it could mean cut through Buckinghamshire countryside and join up with the Chiltern Line.

In the past, industry leaders have called for a high-speed rail line from Marylebone to the North along the Chiltern line.

Meanwhile Network Rail's community relations manager Matt Rice has said that the Chiltern Line is not suitable for high speed rail.

In a letter to Gerrards Cross resident Harvey Parr, dated September 25, he wrote: "The route from London to Birmingham via the Chilterns on the face of it is not a practicable one. Whilst the new tunnel (underneath Tesco at Gerrards Cross) would be able to carry traffic designed in the exact mould as HS2 (High Speed 2), the existing infrastructure would need completely revamping. The current gauge restrictions and the elevation of the infrastructure at certain points do not lend the route to a high speed service."

Theresa Villiers, shadow transport secretary, promised the a Conservative government would start construction of a line between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds in 2015 and open in it 2027.

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