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HS2 benchmarking mysteries

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For a variety of reasons, Britain’s HS2 high-speed rail line ‘will cost taxpayers 25 per cent more than similar schemes in other countries’, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, focused on phase 2 of the project, that has been kept secret from Lord Berkeley and the public for the past two years (source: Financial Times, 18 October).

'HS2 will cost 25% more than schemes abroad, says hidden report', Financial Times, 18 Oct 2018

[From the FT article, by Jim Pickard and Gill Plimmer]

HS2 will have 25 stations — far more than equivalent schemes abroad — and they are more likely to be in city centres.

Moreover, the 10-year hiatus between the UK’s first high-speed line and HS2 meant that the UK did not have the “base, industry and knowledge”, according to one person who has seen the report, to deliver the project easily.

The FT story is a bit baffling.

HS1 cost benchmarked against 6 other high speed lines, 2009

According to HS2 Ltd’s David Higgins, HS2 was expected to cost 15 per cent more than HS1 (which itself was far more expensive than other high speed lines).

HS2 benchmarking in 'HS2 Plus' report

Written by beleben

October 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

Posted in HS2

2 Responses

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  1. HS2 costs includes 4 stations in city “centres”: London Euston, Birmingham Curzon Street, Manchester Piccadilly & Leeds. There are three other stations at Old Oak Common, Birmingham Interchange & Toton (East Midlands). The station at Davenport Green is not in the budget & neither are the vague proposals to tinker with the stations at Crewe & Sheffield.

    The cost & destruction of the scheme is greatly increased by the unjustified desire to run trains at speeds up to 400kph. This would require extensive improvements to power supplies & the scrapping of all the currently proposed trains & their replacement with a new fleet costing many £billions more. This would shave at most one minute off the London Birmingham journey time & could never be justified.


    October 19, 2018 at 10:55 am

  2. […] Last month, in what seemed like a bizarre level of honesty, when Jim Pickard at the Financial Times asked the HS2 Ltd press office how much more expensive HS2 is than international comparators, they told him. The background was that since 2016, Lord Berkeley had been asking for a report which had been written by PwC and Sir John “£43bn” Armitt looking at international comparisons to the cost of HS2. According to HS2 Ltd, HS2 apparently comes in just 25% more expensive on average mile for mile than other high speed rail projects around the world, which although disappointing isn’t actually that bad. The problem with that, is it seemed massively optimistic compared to what we already knew about HS2 costs and international comparisons. […]

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