die belebende Bedenkung

Nailing HS2 falsehoods

with 3 comments

West Coast Route Modernisation was 'renewal led', with a (limited) upgrade component

West Coast Route Modernisation was ‘renewal led’, with a (limited) upgrade component

In his speech ‘Benefits of High Speed 2 to Britain and the economy‘ delivered on 11 September 2013, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said


“We’ve already spent £9 billion on the last West Coast upgrade north of Rugby but that didn’t finish the job. The overhead wiring is getting on for 50 years old.”

So, what was the evidence base for that statement?

Apparently, there wasn’t one. Because as the Department for Transport stated in 2006, most of money spent on the West Coast modernisation was on (deferred) renewals, not enhancements. And in 2014, the Department for Transport averred

  • it does not hold information on the age of overhead lines, but the West Coast Modernisation “renewed most of the wiring where line speeds were increased and improved the power feeding arrangements”
  • “£9bn was spent on the whole of the West Coast Project between 1998 and 2008. The Department does not hold information on the split of expenditure North and South of Rugby”.

£9 billion was spent, but not “North of Rugby”, or on “upgrades”. Most of the cash was spent on unavoidable renewals. The distinction between enhancements and renewals is important when considering the value for money and disruption effects of upgrading existing infrastructure. Upgrading the WCML is vastly more cost-effective, and less disruptive, than building HS2.

Written by beleben

October 9, 2014 at 9:02 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

3 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. […] Part one […]

  2. […] billion upgrade” on the West Coast Main Line — most of the money was sent on renewals and maintenance […]

  3. […] The latest available statistics suggest most of the trains aren’t full in the peak hours. And there was no £9 billion upgrade. […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: