Energy and other operating costs will be about double.
Put plainly: for the price of HS2 we could have about four times as much new railway. There are projects all over the country that are crying out to be done and which should take precedence. How about this for a little list for starters.
- Reinstatement Oxford to Cambridge, Brighton to Guildford.
- Electrification Basingstoke to Salisbury and Reading, London to Birmingham via Banbury, Bristol to Birmingham, Cardiff to Swansea, Oxford to Birmingham, Crewe to Holyhead, Hastings to Ashford, Hurst Green to Uckfield, Newcastle to Carlisle as diversionary route.
- Complete doubling Oxford to Worcester, Swindon to Stroud, Salisbury to Exeter, Plymouth to Penzance, Tonbridge Wells to Hastings.
- Brighton main line - completion of 4-tracking of Three Bridges to Wivelsfield.
- Weaver Junction to Crewe - 4-tracking
There would still be something left over and the benefits would start to appear long before 2026.