Internet InfoMedia inside an english village scarred by a high speed railway hs2

When Britain cut back a planned high-speed rail line, some residents on the route were pleased. They’re less delighted with what happened next.

For those that can afford them, the large villas at Whitmore Heath offer the tranquillity of the countryside within striking distance of urban centers like Stoke-on-Trent and Stafford, an hour’s drive north of Birmingham, the largest city in the English Midlands.

Yet on Heath Road, where some house prices have exceeded a million pounds (about $1.3 million), padlocked gates and signs warn trespassers of CCTV security monitoring. Outside one house stands a dumpster filled with waste while the roof of another is carpeted with a veneer of moss. Peer through the large windows of a family home, and not a single piece of furniture can be seen inside.

This scene of abandonment is a byproduct of a multibillion-dollar rail project that has spanned three decades and six prime ministers — a case study in the problems Britain encounters when planning large-scale infrastructure, and of the scarring that remains when such projects go awry.

“It’s like a ghost village around here now,” said Deborah Mallender, who lives in nearby Madeley, where several more modest homes also lie empty. “Where it was thriving with young families, now it isn’t.”

“Where’s the plan to get these houses back in habitable order?”, said Deborah Mallender, who campaigned against the rail project because of concerns about its effect on the area.Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Whitmore was in the path of High Speed 2, a new train line that promised to connect London, Birmingham and two of the biggest cities in northern England at speeds of up to 225 miles an hour, spurring economic development and liberating space for more local services on an overburdened mainline rail network.

#g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-box , #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-box .g-artboard { margin:0 auto; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-box .g-aiAltText { position: absolute; left: -10000px; width: 1px; height: 1px; overflow: hidden; white-space: nowrap; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-box p { margin:0; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-box .g-aiAbs { position:absolute; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-box .g-aiImg { position:absolute; top:0; display:block; width:100% !important; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-box .g-aiSymbol { position: absolute; box-sizing: border-box; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-box .g-aiPointText p { white-space: nowrap; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 { position:relative; overflow:hidden; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 p { font-family:nyt-franklin,arial,helvetica,sans-serif; font-weight:500; font-style:normal; line-height:15px; height:auto; opacity:1; mix-blend-mode:normal; letter-spacing:0.01em; font-size:14px; text-align:left; color:rgb(0,0,0); top:1.1px; position:static; text-transform:none; padding-bottom:0; padding-top:0; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 .g-pstyle0 { line-height:18px; height:18px; mix-blend-mode:multiply; letter-spacing:0.075em; font-size:15px; text-transform:uppercase; top:1.2px; position:relative; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 .g-pstyle1 { line-height:9px; height:9px; mix-blend-mode:multiply; letter-spacing:0.125em; font-size:9px; text-transform:uppercase; top:0.7px; position:relative; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 .g-pstyle2 { line-height:26px; height:26px; mix-blend-mode:multiply; letter-spacing:0em; font-size:13px; top:1px; position:relative; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 .g-pstyle3 { line-height:26px; height:26px; mix-blend-mode:multiply; letter-spacing:0em; font-size:13px; text-align:right; top:1px; position:relative; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 .g-pstyle4 { font-style:italic; height:15px; mix-blend-mode:multiply; position:relative; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 .g-pstyle5 { font-weight:700; font-style:italic; height:15px; mix-blend-mode:multiply; position:relative; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 .g-pstyle6 { line-height:22px; height:22px; opacity:0.5; mix-blend-mode:multiply; letter-spacing:0.075em; text-align:right; text-transform:uppercase; position:relative; } #g-web-GHOST-VILLAGEmap-335 .g-pstyle7 { line-height:28px; height:28px; mix-blend-mode:multiply; letter-spacing:0em; font-size:13px; top:1px; position:relative; }

Map showing the village of Whitmore on one of the two cancelled HS2 lines. The map also locates HS Phase 1 and the cities of London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Internet InfoMedia web GHOST VILLAGEmap 335


40 miles





HS2 line



HS2 line




Phase 1



By The New York Times

We are having trouble retrieving the article content.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.

Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *