24 Aug 2013

The tide is turning

At last, an increasing number of politicians and commentators are coming out against HS2, essentially for the reasons which have been repeatedly stated in this blog. The NIMBY lobby as at last lost its dominance in the debate to those who are arguing the real economic case against the scheme. It is not that the country cannot afford it. The scheme is just a bad way of spending the pot of money.

Some of the opposition is from the roads lobby, which wants a share of the cake. The sad thing is that nobody has even now come up with costings for what is really needed to increase the capacity of the railway infrastructure, which would be a combination of upgrades of existing routes and the construction of some new conventional-speed routes, essentially on the alignment of HS2, which at the southern end is mostly on the former Great Central route, but with a lot of expensive straightening-out to cater for the higher speeds. With a conventional speed railway, this new construction becomes largely a matter of replacing the track on the old trackbed, electrifying and installing an ERTMS signalling system. That is a far more cost-effective proposition than HS2.

20 Aug 2013

HST cost could hit £73 billion

Treasury officials are privately warning that the cash cost of the controversial High Speed 2 rail line will hit £73bn. FT article