ANTI-HS2 campaigner Richard Howell said concern over the competence of the firm behind a controversial rail line was behind his creation of a shock image of how the link’s towering viaducts could look.
The dramatic picture by the Crofton Against HS2 and Yorkshire Against HS2 member aims to show how HS2 could affect the under-construction Shimmer housing estate.
Mr Howell also created an image of what he thought might happen if there was a high speed rail crash in the community.
The Department for Transport and HS2 want to build a high speed line through Rotherham along the so-called "M18 route" from Aston and Aughton up to Mexborough and the Dearne Valley.
Mr Howell, who lives in Crofton, near Wakefield, said the crash picture had been inspired by the rail crash in Washington State in the USA in December, when an Amtrak train carrying 78 passengers and five crew members derailed about 40 miles south of Seattle, killing three and injuring dozens.
Mr Howell said: “The (accident) picture was created following the Washington state high speed train crash and also a similar crash with a high speed train in China.
“It was intended to make a general point rather than be an accurate portrayal, the point being that a high speed derailment of an HS2 train close to a built-up area such as the Shimmer estate or Crofton, where I live, would potentially be far more catastrophic than any previous British rail disasters.
“I’m sure most people who have dealt with HS2 over the last few years will have concerns over their competence.”
Mr Howell said that he was strongly opposed to the HS2 scheme and that it would directly affect him.
He said: “Where I live in Crofton will be around 70 metres from the track.
“Also, three of my close neighbours’ homes will be demolished if HS2 goes ahead.
“Can you imagine what it would be like being close to a train doing 250mph?”
An HS2 spokesperson said: “We do not recognise nor understand the assumptions that have been made to create these images.
“We’ll continue to work closely with the community in Mexborough to try and address their concerns about construction and the visual impacts of the project.
“Public safety is at the heart of everything we do, and is at the forefront of our plans to create a world class railway which can safely operate at high speed.”
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