Minsiters deeply pondering HS2 link

by Jessica MCILHINNEY on January 6, 2012

Ministers are apparently “considering very seriously” the construction of a controversial high-speed rail line that would link London and Birmingham, according to a source.

The source said that a review by Network Rail of two main alternatives that are favoured by opponents concluded that they couldn’t generate the needed capacity. The government will make its final decision with regards to the £17bn HS2 plan next week. If given the green light, the 100-mile connection will be built over a ten year period that would span from 2016 to 2026.

The scheme intends to slash the journey time between the UK’s two largest cities of London and Birmingham to just 49 minutes. This would only mark the HS2’s first phase however, as additional extensions to the north of England would be added later with the likes of Manchester and Leeds included and possibly Scottish destinations. Overall, the project could end up costing £32bn.

The source, believed to be from the government, told reporters how the groups that are opposed to the construction of the high speed rail claim alternative packages will be able to bring benefits without the need for any sacrifices. Of the 51m alliance, Martin Tett commented that the £32bn would be a waste of government money.

The source pointed out that the independent Network Rail study has shown that the alternatives cited by opponents can’t generate the capacity that a high-speed rail line can if constructed.

{ 2 comments }

Dr David Hill January 8, 2012 at 9:17 pm

Like all NuLabour thought-up plans, HS2 will end up a disaster again and I am highly surprised that the Coalition government is seemingly going forward to construct it. For it will provide little in economic returns for Britain in the long-term other than to give relative prestige with other nations and no more. For we should when looking to the UK’s future, be investing in things that will really change our economics and fix several problems all in one go. A single faster rail-link which will only reduce the time between Birmingham and London by 20 minutes will not do this. Indeed it does not make economic sense just like wind power it has to be said. In this respect we should be investing this near £20 billion (and up to £33 billion if the line extends to Manchester/ Leeds, £40 billion if taking into account the Heathrow link and taking the Scotland link into account, over £50 billion), into the Western Water Highway (WWH), a scheme that will create far more jobs during construction boosting thousands of new jobs, provide in perpetuity up to 10% of Britain’s energy needs through environmentally-friendly non-toxic hydro power (continual free energy at no cost to the British taxpayer) and balance the national roads networks by transposing 49% of heavy goods from the South to the North, thus reducing the high vehicle congestion in the South of England in one intelligent swoop. Indeed the WWH would cost more-or-less the same at £25 billion but where the benefits would be immense and put the UK on a future road of prosperity and new found wealth. HS2 will provide little benefit and only allow industry bosses (who can afford to pay the costly fares, not normal people) to have in reality an extra cup of coffee on the way and no more (for business meetings take far longer than a mere 20 minutes). But the worst thing to the taxpayer is that the HS2 will cost the nation an arm and leg in the process for what? Nothing has really changed therefore between the spending of NuLabour and the Coalition Government who have not again attained any real value-for-money for the British taxpayer and a foundation for the futures for our young. Indeed, before HS2 we should have been thinking of investing in the REBALANCING our road networks, reducing road congestion through transference, building sustainable projects for our energy needs and rebalancing the North-South divide in economic terms. The WWH would do all this but the HS2 will not. Therefore it appears that our politicians are so blinkered that they will squander again our finite resources on something that will produce little. Put bluntly, deceiving people into believing something that simply is not true.

Dr David Hill
Chief Executive
World Innovation Foundation

Duncan January 8, 2012 at 11:00 pm

Hmm, Might be a waste of Government money?

Our money really, we do fund the government after all. Why not go with the scheme anyway. They will only waste it all on something else instead!

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