Is HS2 really going to be an asset?

Been thinking (dangerous, I know) about HS2 & it’s cost. A figure of £100 billion is being bandied about which, if just given out, could create 100.000 millionaires!
It seems to me that the number almost exactly matches the amount of people who would use HS2 on a frequent enough basis to commute between Manchester & London. They could use the money to buy a computer with a good Skype app!


Difficult to know - on the one hand it will provide some Keynesian stimulus to the economy and by offloading long distance through services from local lines will improve timetabling for both intercity and local journeys.

On the other it is a f**k of a lot of money and the estimates keep going up - I believe it has been specified with slab track which massively increases up front costs and has some knock-on issues down the line (sorry), and the UK (and rail in particular) does not have a good track (sorry) record with this sort of infrastructure project.

I was about to say pretty much that which @anon88169868 said.

I don’t know a great amount about HS2 in truth, other than its broad intentions. Intentions that do, in fairness, lay beyond being simply a high speed rail link. It is supposed to free up rail capacity and improve existing services, nor just rail but road too. It is intended to increase the capacity/ability to move freight about.

But as remarked, it is…

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@anon88169868 the technology link made for very interesting reading, even for one such as me who has no experience at this level of technology, nor anything remotely like it.

The prose is very clear and the whole article very well set out I thought.

HS2 is clearly a very big and expensive project for the UK. It was originally sold to us as a time saving project, later changed to an increase in capacity as people realised that a 20 minute saving from Birmingham to London would not justify the cost.
It now appears that to achieve the 100 billion ‘budget’ it will need to be slower (to accommodate the smaller tunnels proposed to save money) and there is likely not going to be the 18 trains per hour (a number far higher than any other high speed offering in the world today) to also achieve the budgetary target.
The other issue in regards to increased capacity is that the other train service providers have suggested that they would likely reduce their offerings if HS2 is completed, that would be painful for the many thousands of people who commute to London for instance that live below Birmingham (the first stop from London on HS2).
I was a commuter from Leamington Spa in Warwickshire to London and a completed HS2 could well have made my life more difficult with less trains available for the journey.
Personally, I think the second half of the project should be completed to allow the other major cities to have better connectivity to each other.

If it costs that much to build, who will be able to afford the fares?
Unless government subsidises rail travel, it will always be cheaper to fly.

But who are these thousands of people who NEED to commute? What do they do that is so important that the British taxpayer needs to stump up so much money for the convenience of so few? I’m guessing an office bound individual.

The freight issue doesn’t make much sense either as a few extra hours on delivery time won’t make much difference (apart from organ donor transport).

Latest estimate is £130B

Is this not just another example of governments being shit at maths ?
I assume these figures first appeared on the side of a train…


Sorry Paul, I must have had last weeks figure in my head :grinning:

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Shit at procurement at any rate - but what’s new?

The problem is that they put it out to tender and go with the lowest bidder - who is inevitably over-optimistic about timescales and budgets to the point of mendacity but no-one ever seems to learn from the process.

I was a Buyer for a few months and, initially, had some difficulty explaining why I was not choosing the cheapest option. I preferred the company I felt was able to actually fulfill their promises… sad to think that many folk argued against this sensible approach but I stuck to my guns.

By the look of things… such folk are still arguing against common sense… and with much higher figures involved… aaaargh

It has been suggested that creating a new travel facility simply allows people at opposite ends of the line to compete for each other’s jobs. They will be able to earn more money, but any benefit will be lost in taxes, fares and time wasted in commuting.

The cost of HS2 would pay for at least 7 years EU membership - just saying…


They have to listen to the Minister and anyone who disagrees gets moved sideways!

The North wants interconnectivity between their largest cities. There is already enough between Birmingham, Manchester, London.
Businessmen usually travel 1st Class and can work at their seats, so twenty minutes is not a problem for them.

One problem with HS2 is that it there seems to be no plan to link with other services - notably the channel tunnel line.

I’m all for encouraging development in The North but HS2 is starting to look like a very expensive solution to the wrong problem.

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All this soul searching and cost consciousness… European countries have expanded their high speed networks at the cost of small regional airports. Once built the trains are used, short hop flights are abandoned or at least discouraged. In Germany, you could check in at a trainstation in Cologne, take the train into Frankfurt airport and get on your flight.
Much more environmentally friendly and cost effective

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Had HS2 linked up you could, perhaps, get through services from Birmingham or Manchester to Paris or Brussels - that might well have had a positive impact on short haul hops to the continent.

As usual we can’t connect the dots.

Ideas on the table include not going north of Birmingham, at least initially, or not going all the way to Euston given the expense of land purchase.

Typical British project management - as useful as a chocolate teapot.

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