A glimmer of hope?

The Wendover Society has completed an independent costing on a tunnel that they claim would save £146 million compared with HS2 Ltd’s proposed ‘Wendover Wall’. Rail expert Lord Berkeley has had the mined tunnel proposal evaluated, and has stated in the recent Lords Grand Committee debate that he fully supports the plan. It is estimated it would save £750 million on a whole life basis (including the long-term costs of maintenance) compared with current HS2 Ltd proposal. The costing states: This ‘Whole Life’ figure reflects the considerable savings over time from the reduced maintenance associated with a mined tunnel, and elimination of the two viaducts and associated embankments and cuttings which are expensive to build and maintain.

OTB Engineering firm said: A 4.3km mined tunnel is a very suitable alternative to the 1.2km cut and cover tunnel with two 500-metre viaducts and associated cuttings and embankments (as proposed by HS2 Ltd). With such a tunnel, Wendover would be screened from the operational noise of the trains, it would also prevent much of the expected severe construction impact, and the Chilterns AONB could remain largely intact close to Wendover. In addition, the mined tunnel would also replace two ugly viaducts proposed for the Wendover area, and the extra cost of the mined tunnel would be effectively zero.

With financial help from members and from the Parish Council, the Wendover Society are continuing to meet with certain Peers and others close to Ministers to press for their acceptance that a mined tunnel past Wendover would not only mitigate the train’s unacceptable level of noise, but would also save HS2 Ltd, and hence the taxpayer, the £750 million quoted by Lord Berkeley. The game is not yet over.