HS2 Plan B is a no-ties re-think of HS2 by Michael Wand, who is self-financed.

Michael was a member of the Eurorail team for their detailed bid in 1995 for the HS1 Channel Tunnel Rail Link project. He had been on secondment as Strategic Adviser to the British Rail/Union Railways team planning the HS1 route through Kent and East London from 1990-94, a Director of Trafalgar House Corporate Development Ltd 1986-89 and from 1981-84 was Chief Development Surveyor of the London Docklands Development Corporation; the latter a Secretary of State appointment.

Michael’s HS2 Plan B appeared here in September 2013, revising the NorthStart scheme and route with which he had launched this website in June 2012. It had also appeared as a two-pager in the March 2013 issue of Rail Professional Magazine, ‘Rethinking HS2’:


Michael’s Northern Cities Crossrail and Midlands Cities Crossrail were added to the HS2 Plan B maps in January 2014.

Michael Wand first wrote about the need to counter the London-wards tilt of the UK economy in a 1965 paper which won him the President’s Prize of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors. He wrote occasional articles for the national and investment press in the 1970s including the Guardian Property column for four weeks in 1971.

Michael BSc FRICS (Retired) lives in Essex. He can be contacted by email here.


Piece in the Guardian by Tom Allan – aka the late Allan Bailey

writing on 25 November 1971

Together in the North

Michael Wand made an early name for himself by winning the RICS President’s Prize in 1965 …. He … recognises the magnet of London and sees its effects on other parts of the country. London, he says, is a magnet because it offers everything in large quantities and because it is cohesive. Most cities outside it offer bits of this and bits of that and alone cannot compete…each one (with) its own little axe to grind.

The corridor from Liverpool to Hull, taking in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield, possesses all the ingredients of a competitor to London. Major ports serving both Atlantic and North Sea trade, industry which within the corridor as a whole is diversified and reasonably well balanced, good and improving communication with one principal exception, and an almost comparable population. It has strength in its educational centres, its own culture, it has some beautiful country – certainly more beautiful than London’s commuter hinterland – and it has the capacity for massive growth.

But…. its administrative diversity is awful to behold and this is its weakness. Give it a single-minded administrative structure and it would immediately begin to counter London’s pull.

Of course, the corridor still needs some investment. Its east-west communications system is just not good enough to knit the areas together. It needs a really good airport – perhaps two. Once it began to exert its own magnetic influence (more) industry would come.

The area has plenty of talent, plenty of spokesmen. If they, the MPs, the councils, the unions, the chambers of commerce, put pressure on in a unified way, it could be a start.

It’s a nice idea – it would be better if the Northern cities could show common cause and begin the movement to build the great counter-magnet.



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