die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 cliché bingo

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Labour is backing the High Speed Rail (London – West Midlands) Bill because it would cut congestion on the railways, better connect our major cities and help deliver a one-nation economic recovery, wrote Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh before the vote on 28 April.

The Andrew Adonis Memorial Railway

[‘Costly but worth it: why Labour backs the HS2 rail-link
Advanced engineering skills must become a national priority’, Mary Creagh, (The Independent on Sunday, 27 April 2014)]

High Speed 2 (HS2) will improve connections between the North and South and between northern cities. It can be a key element in Ed Miliband’s Agenda 2030 plan to create an economic recovery that reaches every part of our economy. Freeing up capacity on the congested West Coast Main Line will allow more frequent commuter and regional services and more rail freight.

Thousands of commuters are already standing on rush-hour trains into Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Euston. Major infrastructure takes years to plan and construct. We must act now to deliver the infrastructure needed to deal with the looming capacity crunch on our railways.

There can be no blank cheque. Ed Balls was right to raise Labour’s concerns after four years of delays and mismanagement which have caused costs to rise. Labour will press the issue of value for money as the Bill proceeds.


How the cause of “advanced engineering skills” would be served by HS2, is as unfathomable as all the other clichés favoured by Ms Creagh. There’s nothing particularly “advanced” about operating a JCB, or pouring concrete.

On rail projects such as HS1 and Crossrail, the high value and technology-intensive engineering was almost entirely provided by overseas companies. For example, the Crossrail tunnel boring machines were built in Germany (and there is no longer a GB capability to produce such equipment).

Network Rail’s “high output” Great Western electrification train was also built in Germany. Domestic capability to design and build intercity railcars faded away in the late 1980s, as BR’s Mk4 carriages were equipped with Swiss bogies. By the time of the order for Fiat Pendolinos, Birmingham’s Metro Cammell plant had been reduced to an assembly-only operation.

Written by beleben

April 28, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Posted in HS2

One Response

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  1. I must admit I was only 85% certain HS2 would happen, but I’d now put it at around 98%. Good times!

    [Note by Beleben: Please either: (a) Comment on the blogpost, or (b) don’t comment. Thanks.]


    April 28, 2014 at 4:57 pm

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