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HS2 is not a useless railway, merely the stupidest​

protestors The transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin, yesterday called the election a “massive vote of confidence” in his controversial HS2 railway. It had conclusively “won the argument” for the line. Does that apply to every government policy, however silly? HS2 is not a useless railway, merely the stupidest. In 2010 David Cameron backed it unthinkingly, as a vague “alternative” to building a third runway at Heathrow, which he had promised not to do. This bad decision was made worse when he then changed his mind about the runway.…

HS2 and GB productivity​

productivity According to HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins, the company’s proposed high speed rail line is needed to fix Britain’s productivity gap. [Higgins: Why HS2 is the right option for Britain, New Civil Engineer, 1 June, 2015 (paywall)] The rationale behind Britain’s biggest infrastructure project – High Speed 2 – has been frequently challenged by NCE’s readers. Here HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins puts his case for the mega-project. The Prime Minister has said it. The chancellor has said it. The…

Keeping the cost of HS2 under wraps​

money There has been a good deal of coverage over the last week on the Department for Transport's refusal to update the cost of HS2 from 2011 prices. The Departmental response that it is standard procedure in such matters is a convenient cop out. Taxpayers have a right to know. Construction wage inflation was four times that of average wages and three times general inflation last year. Cheryl Gillan MP has reported in Parliament that taking into account inflation in the…

HS2 ‘designed to improve commuter traffic in the South’​

watford art The Chief Executive of Legal and General, Britain's largest private investor, said HS2 is “primarily designed to improve commuter traffic in the south of England”. Nigel Wilson told 5 live Breakfast “Let's get moving on transport infrastructure in the north rather than spending a huge amount of time and effort on trying to get HS2 out of London”. This clip is originally from 5 live Breakfast on Thursday 28 May 2015 click here BBC Radio 5 28 May A spokesperson…

“Deliberate misinformation” claim over HS2 costs​

train image 2 A councillor has accused the company behind HS2 of "deliberate misinformation" after a Freedom of Information request showed it does not know the current cost of the project. The estimated £50billion cost of the scheme is based on 2011 prices, when the route of HS2 was confirmed as cutting through the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Chiltern District Council's Seb Berry submitted an FOI request asking HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport for an estimate on the current cost…

The HS2 post election landscape starts to emerge​

hs2 lichfield viaduct_3 This week’s kerfuffle over the extension of the high-speed line northwards will come as no surprise to observers of the company behind the project. HS2 Ltd has a track record of being dismissive of anyone challenging the scheme and treating those whose lives and livelihoods will be devastated by project with contempt. The Queen’s Speech yesterday dealt with phase 1 of the scheme from London to Birmingham, making no reference to phase 2. Rumours suggests HS2 Ltd is having significant…

Queen’s Speech and HS2​

Queens Speech ‘My government will continue to legislate for high-speed rail links between the different parts of the country.’ This sees the reintroduction of the hybrid bill for the high speed rail link which was first introduced as a motion under the coalition government. It grants planning permission and compulsory purchase orders for the first phase of the HS2 route from London to the West Midlands [Birmingham]. The government is hoping for work to begin by 2017. This does not include legislation…

HS2: Latest plans for Euston shared​

euston above HS2 Ltd. shared their latest plans for Euston Station in May’s meeting with the Euston Community Representatives Group. The plans show that the HS2 terminus at Euston will be built on a phased basis, with the HS2 tracks and station expected to be completed by 2033, as initially revealed in February. However, this plan gives no guarantees on timescales or funding for a full development of the station in the future. The plans also do not commit to putting all the…

Queens speech: not HS2 beyond Birmingham​

parliament exterior 4 As expected the Queen’s speech today confirmed that legislation for HS2 will continue with the statement “My government will continue to legislate for high-speed rail links between the different parts of the country.” This is a lot less grand and important than it sounds. Firstly, if you look at the Government’s briefing notes, they say it only refers to Phase 1: “Provide the Government with the legal powers to construct and operate phase 1 of the High Speed 2 (HS2) railway. On becoming…

Super-fast trains are on the wrong track for a united Britain​

hs2 train from right_13 It was once described, by a Labour minister, as the “union railway” that would bring Scotland, England and Wales closer together. That was always a crazy claim – every study of the giddyingly expensive High Speed Two railway scheme says the biggest beneficiary by far is London and the south-east. Now it has been revealed the super-fast trains will never reach Scotland – because those in charge of HS2 claim there is “no business case” for it. Scots will still pay for it. The…
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