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Alstom  UK Director of Communications Mike Scott tweeted from the ILG report launch

Alstom UK Director of Communications Mike Scott tweeted from the ILG report launch

Today, the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group press-launched its disingenuous pamphlet Great Britain: connected or not? about the ‘consequences for Britain’ of abandoning HS2.


The choice for Government is to re-deploy the [HS2] capital spend elsewhere, or to take it as a saving against budget and to use it to further reduce overall debt. […] On balance, our expert view is that a large part of the £40bn budget would not be reallocated to other capital programmes, but used to write down Government debt.

The advantage of alternative rail projects is that they can provide greater capacity and more resilience, at lower cost. The lower funding requirement opens up the possibility of investing in other transport improvements (road potholes and blindspots etc), other areas of the economy (industrial R&D), medicare, or paying down the debt.

The replacement investment in the corridors that HS2 would have relieved would be most likely spent on platform extensions, junction improvements and depot extensions to try to squeeze more capacity out of the existing system. Passenger numbers would still rise, although by less in the longer term as congestion levels grow and overcrowded conditions become common-place in peak periods. Stations like Euston would still need to be rebuilt – simply to accommodate growth in demand.

Platform extensions, junction improvements, depot extensions, electrification and resignalling are all cost-effective ways of uplifting capacity and reliability. If part of HS2’s funding were switched into Great Eastern and Southern Region commuter services (for example), it’s more than likely that national rail passenger volume would be much higher than in a scenario where HS2 were built.

Schemes such as four-tracking of the route between Coventry and Birmingham – a bottle-neck bypassed by HS2 – would, if carried out, be disruptive – both to local adjacent property owners and to railway customers.

HS2 is not an alternative to Coventry four-tracking, so ILG’s comments are not relevant. With or without HS2, there is unlikely to be an economic case for it.

Most of company members of Jim Steer's 'HSR Leaders' club are based outside the UK

Most of the company members of Jim Steer’s “HSR Leaders” club are based outside the UK. None of its three train-manufacturer companies currently builds any trains inside Great Britain

Mr Steer’s “HSR Leaders” operation is a malign influence on what should be an evidence-based transport, economics, and high speed rail debate. The best thing Mr Steer could do, is shut it down.


Written by beleben

March 4, 2014 at 5:18 pm

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