Brent light railway campaigners to ‘step up’ fight if HS2 goes ahead
Crusaders claim scheme would ‘transform’ borough’s transport system
A group of campaigners striving for a light railway line in the borough have vowed to ‘step up’ their campaign should the green light be given for a high speed rail link from London to Birmingham.
The Campaign Group, North West London Light Railway (NWLLR) have said that should the HS2 scheme go ahead, the likely interchange station at Old Oak Common would provide an ‘excellent opportunity’ to create further links to Brent via a light railway.
Speaking to the Times, John Cox an active campaigner for the scheme said the final decision on HS2 would be a key factor and claims the railway would ‘transform’ the boroughs transport routes.
He said: “If it goes ahead we will step up the campaign, which would provide maximum benefit for all of us living in Brent.”
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A final decision on whether to press ahead with the �17bn HS2 scheme is expected this month.
The proposal for the light railway line includes 31 stations across four lines and would largely make use of existing freight and abandoned lines.
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One such line is the Dudding Hill Line linking Brent Cross to Ealing Broadway, in addition links to Wembley, West Hampstead and Cricklewood would also be implemented.
Mr Cox added: “This would make Brent’s public transport among the best in Britain, while the alternative is grid-lock on our roads, from the new development areas, like Brent Cross, planned for the next twenty years.”
Hs2 has attracted considerable opposition from towns and villages located along its mapped out route.
Councillor for Stonebridge, Zaffar Van Kalwala said the benefits of a light railway line would be ‘undeniable’ and that he would be pressing Transport for London (TfL) to ensure that Brent does not get ‘left behind’.
He added: “It will create much-needed jobs, new homes and help regenerate the area.
“It will also improve accessibility for local residents as well as provide a cleaner and greener mode of transport.” A spokesman for Brent Council said the route had ‘potential’ and could create greater access to employment.
He added: “Brent Council support any move by TfL or others to further explore the potential of this suggestion.”
Richard De Cani, Director of Strategy & Policy at TfL, said that their current focus was on upgrading the current transport, Crossrail and improving orbital connectivity.
He added: “There is also a need to improve the transport network to support the development of High Speed 2 including the proposed station at Old Oak Common. “This includes improvements to rail services in north west London to improve links to Old Oak Common as part of the HS2 proposals.”