HS2 will be a remarkable piece of engineering

There has been a lot of talk about the HS2 rail link and it is a very controversial topic. For those who need to get where they are going fast it will be a real boon and can't come fast enough. For those whose lives are going to be turned upside down by the route the new line will take, it is a time of uncertainty and disruption. Whatever your view, it will be a remarkable piece of engineering.

Nick Clegg believes the new high-speed rail link will heal the north-south divide. Others argue that it will worsen the problem. And for the people who live along the proposed route, the line is already having a worrying impact


The lakes at Swillington Farm are a place of calm. You walk down through fields where sheep are grazing to a valley in which the waters are fringed by tall trees.

“All this will be destroyed,” says Jo Cartwright, standing by the largest fishing lake on her organic farm in West Yorkshire. “The trains will come right through where the lakes are.”

The new HS2 rail link will bring high-speed trains over the horizon at up to 250 miles an hour, flying across a viaduct whose newly built pillars will be 70ft high.

“They couldn’t have hit us any worse,” says Mrs Cartwright, 55, whose organic produce has been feted by the chefs Jamie Oliver and Rick Stein. She farms free-range turkeys, pigs, sheep and cattle, but says: “The lakes are the backbone of the whole place. The income from the fishermen who use them supports the farm.”

'Someone has got to step in and sort this out or there will be blight for the next 20 years, all along the route,' says one worried householder who lives on the proposed route Photo: PA

Not that she had any idea of the threat that was looming when the Secretary of State for Transport, Patrick McLoughlin, announced the proposed route for the northern leg of HS2 on Monday. Click here to continue