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1st February 2013

High speed rail to run under Owens Park

Current plans will see High Speed trains hurtling under Fallowfield’s student village

The next phase of the new high speed rail link is set to go right through the heart of the Fallowfield student area.

The government unveiled proposed plans for the route of the transport link from Birmingham Monday January 28, which show a tunnel passing directly underneath University accommodation in the Fallowfield Campus.

David Meechan a spokesman for HS2, the company in charge of the rail line, told The Mancunion the impact for people above ground would be minimal.

“We can tunnel these days with out anyone really being aware,” he said.

“During the actual construction there may be some slight vibration.

“It is something that can be done without really affecting homes and businesses above the tunnel.

“For phase one from London to the West Midlands, which is a bit more advanced, we have done a lot of work trying to reassure people living above tunnels that the impact would be minimal.”

The plans are the second stage of the multi-billion pound high speed railway line said to cut journey times in half between Manchester, Birmingham and London. There will also be lines running to Sheffield and Leeds.
Construction on phase one is expected to start in four years and open to passengers in 13 years, with the route announced last week set to open six years after that.

However, the phase two route is at an early stage and still open to changes, added Meechan.

“What we do is we publish a preferred route, which we have done today and then that is opened up for consultation,” he said. “This is what we think is the best route, but there are local consultations that have to go on.

“During the phase one consultation a lot of the route did change afterwards, there are changes that can be made; this is not fixed by any means.”
Second year Thomas Young felt the train line would only be acceptable if when it is running it does not affect the people living above.

“If you can feel vibrations from the train going underneath then it is not ok,” he said. “But if they can guarantee that its not going to affect people’s daily lives at home then there is nothing wrong with it.”
Second year Biomedical Sciences student Joe Brunner said,“I am not going to be here, so I don’t care, but  if I was here I would probably be annoyed if there was any noise.”

Leader of Manchester City Council Sir Richard Leese said in a statement released by Transport for Greater Manchester that he supported the government’s decision to implement the plans in the face of opposition.

He said, “We see high-speed rail as a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the rail network, which will not only tackle the West Coast line’s capacity issues – including the lack of capacity for local commuter and freight services – but will unlock the economic potential of the North West and create much-needed jobs.

“The UK is lamentably playing catch-up to our global competitors in our rail transport systems, but it is crucial that we close the gap. Without this link the North West – and Manchester – will be left stranded, unable to compete with the likes of Munich, Milan and Copenhagen who are already well ahead in the high-speed stakes.”

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