Yesterday I wrote a short post on the Guardian's Datablog about my difficulties getting hold of the route data for the proposed routes for the new high speed rail lines in England. Coincidentally (or maybe not) HS2 responded to my request at almost exactly the same time as the piece appeared online. Anyway, sometimes it does take time for public bodies to respond to requests so my real question was why the shapefiles were not available for download, given that they are available under the Open Government Licence. I have a few ideas about why this must be but it would be good to have some information from this on HS2, though maybe they're too busy with other things! Clarity on this issue might, however, reduce the likelihood of data conspiracy theories and enhance transparency.
Anyway, enough about that. So that other people don't have the same wait as me to get hold of the GIS data I've made them available here via the link below. A few important points to bear in mind...
1. The Phase 1 (London to West Midlands) route is the 'post-consultation' route from January 2012.
2. The Phase 2 (Leeds and Manchester) routes are the 'initial preferred routes' from January 2013.
3. There is an interactive map of the Phase 1 route on the HS2 web pages, which is quite useful.
4. Users of the data need to remember to acknowledge the source.
5. It's not my data - I'm just making it available.
7. The route data available for download here doesn't necessarily reflect the precise location of where the train lines will be built - particularly for Phase 2.
HS2 shapefiles, as of 2 May 2013