If you live in Stoke Mandeville Aylesbury or Wendover you are sure to be aware of HS2 and the protests over how it going to effect us all. In our case the route crosses the main road a bare hundred yards from the studio. Like many though my knowledge of the route was limited to its immediate location and a quick glance at the plans.
Over the past few weeks I have been out and about with Parish Councillor David Starr photographing the route south of Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury. While the route appears set there is still a lot of work going on behind the scenes in seeking to mitigate the effects of this huge engineering project. Our photos are intended to help highlight how the proposed route will impinge on ordinary lives when the council makes representations in the Autumn. Indeed on the south side of Aylesbury the line runs barely a hundred yards from a housing estate.
We were taking the photos at this time of year for a reason. With the trees still bare it is possible to see more clearly the houses, schools and farms that will be affected. Something that will be hidden when they are in full leaf.
As we talked and walked and of course took photos of the area being affected it has started to sink home just how much disruption is going to take place round Stoke Mandeville and Aylesbury in a few years time. Like many I have watched the normal trains slipping past nearby and perhaps tended to assume we are talking something not dissimilar. In fact the HS2 trains are much larger, with the roof at first floor window level of a typical house. The Gantries for power will rise to around 8m. Then of course there is the length, frequency and speed with trains projected to race through every few minutes.
I will leave the politics for others but one thing is clear. HS2 is going to bring very big changes to the people of Aylesbury. It crosses the main road to Princes Risborough and High Wycombe, a busy road that may even need to be diverted from its current route. An already busy road that will be expected to support thousands more lorry trips as construction gets underway.
Our portrait studio seems to be safe but like any business we are concerned about the effect on business. Not just from the railway itself but all the construction work that will precede it.