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Something of a joke

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(Based on 'Let's have a chat Mr Higgins, HS2AA')There was always going to be some disappointment with David Higgins’ report into how to improve the High Speed Two, given how controversial the project has proven (wrote Stephen Harris, for ‘The Engineer’, 19 March 2014).

[‘Public needs to be persuaded if HS2 uncertainty is to be banished’, Stephen Harris, ‘The Engineer]

But giving the document a name like “HS2 Plus” raises expectations of major additions to the planned network. The reality of Sir David Higgins’ recommendations – scrapping the network’s link with Europe and building a new station at Crewe – makes that title seem like something of a joke.

No cost savings (the purpose for commissioning the report in the first place), no plans to start the second, northern half of the scheme earlier (although it may now finish three years before the original schedule), no extension to Liverpool (let alone Scotland), but London gets yet another major station redevelopment. HS2.1 might have been a better name for the proposals, particularly for those who live north of Milton Keynes.

Mr Harris also noted that the government and HS2 Ltd “have so far failed to win the argument that there even is a capacity problem on the railways, never mind that HS2 is the best way to deal with it, or that reduced journey times really will make a difference”.

Despite all this, Mr Harris thought HS2 should go ahead nevertheless. Simply because, it would be too difficult to go back and start over with a better scheme.

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Written by beleben

March 21, 2014 at 10:11 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

One Response

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  1. They do not need to start over with a “better scheme”. Instead they need to either (a) employ the legal profession to prosecute these HS2 executives for mis-selling on a gigantic scale or (b) to adopt the less costly option of sacking the lot of them. Surplus funds could be used to pay for filling the potholes with material mined from the speed humps.

    In any event, with peak period trains on the West Cost Main Line said to be only 50% full – capacity must be a gigantic non-problem.

    transportwatch

    March 21, 2014 at 10:45 pm


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