DESCRIBED as a huge economic project for the UK, HS2 is now well under way.

Two hundred miles plus in length, it will allow rail travel at 250mph and will offer a new era in rail travel from 2025 with a final completion date of 2033.

It will help to rebalance the north/south economy.

Those are the claims. The problem is that nobody is able to give you a detailed estimate of its final cost.

In 2010 it was £30 billion, now £56 billion and some commentators are suggesting it could be up to £100 billion if the final destinations of Manchester/Leeds are achieved.

Time for a rethink? Yes!

For those of us regular rail travellers in the north we have had to put up with four of the worst train companies in the UK, sardine type overcrowding at peak times, chaos with cancellations/timetabling and at the same time witnessing the fact the south has received four times more rail investment than the north.

Poor house or Power house?

HS2 as it stands gives no economic benefit to our town. It is a vanity project and an emerging ‘white elephant’, tearing up the countryside and gives no economic benefit given the increased costs.

Boris Johnson has suggested that the project should hit the buffers and the money would be better invested in a building a road bridge to Ireland.

My alternative would be why don’t we invest in local rail routes east/west to give better ‘HS2 standard’ services to connect the major cities/towns in the north via our town?

The Northern Powerhouse rail case has already been made. Much of the track/stations are already there and only need enhancement at just 25 per cent of the cost of HS2.

Much of the line is still there in Warrington, including the former Arpley Station which would give easy access to the West Coast main line.

So why continue to invest in HS2 which will only slightly improve travel times between the north and London?

Given the obsession with raising productivity it will make no difference.

For all the talk about ‘growing the north’ HS2 is built around a London centric vision of our UK economic future.

Put the money into our local commuter trains/stations rather than continuing to plough it headlong into HS2.