Value of a railfreight path between Preston and Carstairs
The addition of classic by-passes for HS2, or HS2 new-build track to Anglo-Scottish West Coast Main Line capacity could provide more freight paths, subject to compatibility with classic passenger services, HS2 Ltd’s “Broad Options” report proclaimed.
[HS2 Ltd, “Broad Options” report, March 2016]
[…] The additional paths which are taken up by freight, which would otherwise have been transported by road, could provide environmental and decongestion benefits. To give a sense of scale, preliminary analysis (using DfT’s marginal external cost approach and a series of assumptions) shows that an additional freight path between Preston and Carstairs (every haulage day in one direction) could generate approximately £20 million (PV) in benefits over the appraisal. Further analysis would be needed to understand all potential benefits.
Not £20 million a year, but £20 million PV.
So the present value of an additional daily ‘released’ railfreight path between Preston and Carstairs is, at best, about 0.01% of the cost of the enabling infrastructure. And if the enabling infrastructure is ‘new line’, not ‘by-pass’, the present value of a freight path is more like 0.005% of its cost.