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According to its website, the Independent Transport Commission is “wholly dependent upon financial support from donors”, and its funders include High Speed One Ltd, High Speed Two Ltd, and the Department for Transport. Which might explain transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s presence at the launch of the Commission’s “High heels and travelators” HS2 report in Leeds Town Hall.

In his speech to the ITC on 16 May, Mr McLoughlin said that HS2 “has always been about listening to people’s views”, and “most of the things I read are wholly inaccurate”.

Perhaps he meant to say, “most of the things I read out are wholly inaccurate”. Consider the evidence.

[Speech: High speed rail and connected cities,
From: Department for Transport and The Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP
First published: 17 May 2016]

[…] I know there have been various reports in the papers, about; whether HS2 is going ahead, whether it is going to Leeds and going to Manchester?

I can tell you today that it is going to Leeds and it is going to Manchester. Because we are totally committed to the whole of the high speed network.
[…]
Indeed, the HS2 project has always been about listening to people’s views, and continually improving.
[…]
At every stage we have listened, learned, and adapted to make HS2 the very best it can be.

[…] You’ll read various things in the newspapers: some of them are accurate but some of them are completely inaccurate; most of the things I read are wholly inaccurate.

In a previous speech, delivered on 11 September 2013, Mr McLoughlin suggested that ‘HS2 could mean ‘half a million fewer lorry trips a day on our main motorways’.

Some time after the ‘half a million fewer lorry trips a day’ misinformation was exposed on the Beleben blog, the Department for Transport put a note on the record of the speech, saying it had been amended to correct “original incorrect data”.

hs2-patrick-mcloughlin-11sep2013-speech-amended-notification

But the Department left other bogus claims from Mr McLoughlin unaltered. At the time of writing, the record of the 11 September 2013 speech still states that ‘£9 billion was spent upgrading the West Coast Main Line north of Rugby’, and that its ‘overhead wiring is getting on for 50 years old’.

Patrick McLoughlin, 11 Sep 2013: '£9bn was spent on the WCML upgrade north of Rugby'

Mr McLoughlin was also impressed enough by David Higgins’ expectation that the final cost of HS2 construction would be “significantly less” than £42.6 billion, to mention it in his speech.

Patrick McLoughlin, 11 Sep 2013; 'the budget for HS2 is £42.6 billion, not £70 billion'

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Written by beleben

May 18, 2016 at 2:07 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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  1. I always recall the “Its been over 120 years since we built a new Main Line Railway, rather forgetting the lines built for high speed operation 106 years before his speech featuring no level crossings no severe curves no severe gradients and all high speed junctions with grade separation (including detail added in 1933 just 79 years earlier)

    Thoughtfully too the promoters of the North-South main line had sited a Y junction in a very good location for splitting traffic for West/East Midlands and NW/NE routes to Scotland, and even secured powers and land for a 4 track Berne Gauge railway potentially offering major savings on legal and land costs for any future development. Indeed overlaying a current WCML/ECML regular timetabled performance it would appear that we can get London-Birmingham in 60-65 minutes now, and with the 140mph that we’ve had trains for for nearly 30 years a 50 minute London-Birmingham without too much fuss seems possible. Capacity issues might be neatly assisted by the delivery of the better connections which allow some routes to be switched over for longer blockades to build the grade separated junctions required.

    Has someone missed a bit of research?

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    May 18, 2016 at 2:59 pm


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