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Two chances to tackle HS2​

28 September, 2106

train pic 5 HS2 is coming to Ickenham again – in October and November. It seems to expect praise for adding up to 550 HGV lorries per day to the traffic at Swakeleys Roundabout. The events are billed as ‘information-sharing events’ but the invite makes it clear that the sharing is one-way. It’s for us to hear what HS2 has to say, not for them to listen to us. Although they can hardly refuse. You can read more detail by following the links…

Is HS2 really on track to keep within budget?​

27 September, 2016

money There are reports this week that Crossrail chiefs are facing a showdown meeting with union leaders next month as electricians demand £75,000 a year to finish the job. One worker is quoted as saying: “Electricians are being paid £30 an hour on big London jobs working via umbrella companies so Crossrail needs to compete. Contractors are understood to be becoming increasingly nervous over the threat of industrial action and a chronic skills shortage which is making it impossible to attract…

HS2 Phase 2a to have significant impact on 58 farms​

26 September, 2016

farming The government is consulting over proposed changes to the 37-mile stretch of the HS2 route that runs from the West Midlands to Crewe and is expected to have a significant impact on more than 50 farms. It follows changes put forward by the Department of Transport, which include extending a tunnel at Crewe, moving the spur lines that will connect the HS2 to the West Coast mainline and building a temporary depot near Stone. According to what is described as…

HS2 and exacerbation of labour shortages​

26 September, 2016

line laying According to an Albion Economics (Leo Eyles) report for the ‘High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group’, HS2 would require “up to” 27,000 staff in the period up to 2020, in general construction and specialist rail trades. However, it has been widely reported that there are severe labour shortages, in both UK general construction and rail civil engineering. In December 2014, the BBC reported fears that “the UK’s chronic skills shortage” was hampering productivity and holding back the economic recovery”. The shortage was…

Taxpayers to pay millions to recreate five holes of an historic golf course which will be destroyed to make way for HS2​

25 September, 2016

golf course Millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money is to be lavished on saving a golf course cut in half by the new High Speed Two rail scheme. Whittington Heath Golf Course in Lichfield, Staffordshire – one of the oldest in England – will lose five of its 18 holes along with its historic clubhouse when the rail track is built directly across its land. But the Government has come to the club’s rescue by agreeing to recreate the lost holes on…

HS2 lurches on down the track​

24 September, 2016

hs2 rail tracks_7 September has not been a great month for HS2. Early on, Simon Kirby quit his job as CEO of HS2 Ltd to join Rolls Royce. Then towards the end of September Lord O’Neil, minister for the Northern Powerhouse resigned from the Government. Lord O’Neill was brought in as a junior Treasury minister by the previous administration. Prior to his appointment, he had been sceptical about HS2, believing that improving east - west links, i.e. HS3 was more important. It is…

Now George Osborne’s Northern Powerhouse minister QUITS the government amid complaints Theresa May is dismantling ex-Chancellor’s legacy​

23 September, 2016

jim oneill George Osborne's minister for the Northern Powerhouse has quit the government amid complaints that Theresa May is dismantling the former Chancellor's legacy. Lord O'Neill, a former Goldman Sachs economist who was appointed by Mr Osborne last May, resigned saying he wanted to play a role outside of government.  He has also left the Conservative Party and will sit as a crossbencher in future. Mrs May has been seen as trying to draw a line under the David Cameron and Osborne…

Healey secures promise on HS2 station​

23 September, 2016

John Healey MP Pproposals a second South Yorkshire station along the route of the planned high speed rail line are set to take a significant step forward. Wentworth and Dearne MP John Healey has been promised the Government will commission a study into the idea of a station on the HS2 line as it runs close to the existing M18 motorway. HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins floated the idea in a report earlier this year as he recommended the scrapping of the previous…

Despite enthusiasm, HS2 ‘has the weakest economic case of all projects’​

23 September, 2016

rail workers The economic justification for HS2 has been slammed in a letter from the chair of the Treasury Select Committee to the transport secretary. Andrew Tyrie told Chris Grayling that the DfT has failed to “comprehensively examine” whether increasing conventional rail capacity would offer better value for money. The DfT has claimed the higher cost of HS2 is justified by the economic benefits of faster journeys between UK cities, but Tyrie points out that reports from the Treasury Select Committee and the University of…

Treasury Committee finds HS2 and clear answers are not natural bedfellows​

23 September, 2016

????????????????????????????????????????? The Treasury Select Committee remains to be convinced about the case for HS2. Its Chairman, Andrew Tyrie, has written to Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport, about the economic case for HS2. "The economic justification for High Speed 2 is not supported by the evidence so far presented by the Government. In the last Parliament, the Treasury Committee examined the proposals for HS2 and exposed the lack of rigour in the economic case. In particular, the Committee took evidence from…
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