THE chief executive of High Speed Two (HS2) has rejected claims the line could be up to 75 metres wide.
Alison Munro has written to the Gazette in response to our feature last week on the plans for the high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham. She said the width in built-up areas such as Ruislip and Ickenham need be no more than about 30m.
The government will soon decide whether or not the route through Ruislip, to the north of the existing Chiltern Line, is its preferred option.
Ms Munro said: "Even at speeds of up to 250mph, aerodynamic considerations only require a space of 5m between the centre of adjacent tracks. In this area, Ruislip, we are proposing much lower maximum line speeds of 157mph, at which a distance of less than 10m between HS2 and the Chiltern Line would be sufficient.
"While the design of the line for HS2 would be specific to each area, its width would be no more than 22m, about a third the width of a motorway."
But when asked to clarify if this estimate includes the associated landscaping required for an extension of the embankment, a spokes-woman for HS2 admitted more width would be necessary.
"In some places we would need a small additional piece of land on one side of the track for an embankment, which would be no more than 10m, and for most of the line in this area it would be far less."
Manor councillor Douglas Mills (Con), whose own home is at risk from the plans, is still dubious about HS2's proposals. Hillingdon Council said last month it would be opposing any plan for a high-speed line through the borough.
"On the face of it, 30m is still bad," said Mr Mills. "As I stand in my kitchen looking at the railway line I am trying to work out how they can do it," he said this week.
"I don't know how far it is from the back of our gardens, but even if they can contain it, it will still affect residents in terms of noise and other things.
"It would be premature to make any judgments until we have seen the full details of the proposals, which, we understand, will be in February."