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HS2 a ‘mediocre, medium return project’.​

hs2-aa27a9-224x120[1]_1_26 In a week when supporters must have hoped HS2 would have hit the headlines for all the right reasons, reality interrupted the staged celebrations in Leeds with some uncomfortable truths. Both the National Audit Office (NAO) and the House of Lords Economic Affairs Select Committee come up with some sanity to counter the collective bombast coming from Messrs Cameron, Osborne, McLoughlin and Higgins. The NAO report reviewing the Department for Transport’s performance in respect of large-scale transport projects could have…

Department for Transport’s economics go off-track​

hs2 rail tracks_7 Today saw the publication of a quietly damning National Audit Office report into the ability, or lack thereof, of the Department for Transport to effectively analyse large-scale transport projects. It does not make pleasant reading for anybody concerned about transport infrastructure in the UK. The Department has failed, the report says, to adequately challenge economic analyses “where there is strong pressure and lobbying (by Government) for a programme to go ahead.” In short, in situations where politics has been put before policy. The estimated…

High speed rail is needed… so Manchester United fans from the south can get back after the game, says the project’s boss​

old tafford A new high speed rail line between London and the north is needed to allow thousands of southern Manchester United fans to get to the game more quickly, the project's boss suggested today. High Speed 2 chairman Sir David Higgins said the current two hour trip between London and Manchester meant people had to 'allow for a full day' if they wanted to get to Old Trafford. But he said a new £50billion line would slash journey times in half,…

Decision on South Yorkshire HS2 station yet to be made – Transport Secretary​

mcloughlin Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin has refused to rule out South Yorkshire’s HS2 station being built in Sheffield city centre – despite project boss Sir David Higgins backing the Meadowhall option earlier this week. Mr McLoughlin says he is waiting for ‘further evidence’ before making a final decision. He said: “Sir David remains convinced on current evidence that Sheffield Meadowhall is the right location for the South Yorkshire hub. I am waiting for further evidence from Sheffield before a final decision…

South Northamptonshire: Successful HS2 Site Visit For MP Andrea Leadsom​

counntryside On Monday, Andrea Leadsom, MP for South Northamptonshire welcomed MPs from the HS2 Select Committee to South Northamptonshire to see for themselves the affect the HS2 project will have on the area. The Committee were making this visit ahead of hearing petitions in Parliament from those affected. On the visit the four members of the Committee, Chairman Robert Syms MP, Sir Peter Bottomley MP, Ian Mearns MP and Henry Bellingham MP, were met by delegations from the areas affected to…

NAO attacks Government’s over-optimistic HS2 benefit analysis​

h The economic benefits from multi-billion pound investment in high-speed rail have been “unrealistic” and the lessons of over-optimistic Government forecasts need to be incorporated into analysis of big-ticket rail projects, according to a new report from a Whitehall watchdog. The National Audit Office’s review of five major rail projects backed by the Department of Transport since 2008 highlights lessons which it says need to be applied to current and future rail projects. The report is critical of the economic claims…

Major rail projects including HS2 have been made using a ‘lack of common sense’ and ‘unrealistic analysis’ damning report says​

money DfT said HS2 would bring £2.40 worth of benefit for every £1 spent National Audit Office says a more accurate figure is £1.40 per taxpayer £1 Government decisions on major rail projects like the £50billion high-speed HS2 have been made using a lack of common sense and 'unrealistic analysis', a damning report by spending watchdogs says today. It highlights how the Department for Transport failed to query its original and incorrect calculation by claiming instead that the controversial high-speed HS2…

HS2’s much praised French blueprint for high-speed rail runs into trouble​

tvg Even in the midst of all the ballyhoo at the Leeds launch of HS3 it was possible to hear the distinct sound of a bandwagon leaving town. The TGV rail network heralded as the exemplar of the right way to go about high speed rail has run into a little local difficulty. It’s all a bit embarrassing as only this week Sir David Higgins was comparing the UK unfavourably with the French approach, especially the cost. Many of France’s high-speed…

Are assurances from HS2 Ltd worth the paper they are written on?​

hs2 select committee full Petitioners seeking to negotiate safeguards with HS2 Ltd will probably all be aware of the Government’s Information Paper B4 (compliance with undertakings and assurances, the current version being 1.2, dated 28 July 2014).  They are also likely to be familiar with HS2 Ltd’s oft-repeated statement that written assurances given by or on behalf of the Secretary of State are quite sufficient to protect interested parties and can be relied upon as such.  However, whether such assurances are or are not…

High Speed Rail – more vanity than vision​

hs2 canal bridge The Higgins review of the phase 2 of HS2 launched in Leeds today took on the added glitz of HS3. It may be tempting for taxpayers to remark, 'Sir David two high-speed rail schemes, you're spoiling us.' We are used to the avuncular patter of Patrick Mcloughlin at such times but the boss of HS2 Ltd is a very different act. He seems to be surprised by the words coming out of his mouth when questioned about either project. It…
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