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Why the country needs HS2 misinformation

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With a benefit cost ratio ‘consistently above two’ , the High Speed Two railway project is needed to provide extra capacity, according to Alison Munro’s article ‘HS2 railway, UK – why the country needs it’, which appeared in the Transport Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers, February 2021 (published online on 4 January 2021).

Extract from 'HS2 railway, UK - why the country needs it, Alison Munro, ICE, Feb 2021'

Of course, the article contains a great deal of questionable and incorrect content. For instance, HS2’s benefit cost ratio has not been ‘consistently above two’. With sunk costs and wider impacts included, the official BCR for the London – West Midlands phase was last reported as 1.0, in 2020.

And what about the description of London Midland as “the main commuter operator running to Euston”? That company ceased operations more than three years ago.

Written by beleben

March 16, 2021 at 5:51 pm

Posted in HS2

2 Responses

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  1. Looks like it was written in 2017/18 before NCHSR opened. Munro explains how it was delivered with just a few hours to spare in 2010 (to meet a ludicrous deadline set by Adonis). That is a major reason why it was a cock-up. Note the bit about value for British Taxpayers “To deliver the programme on time and on cost while achieving the expected benefits.”

    Conclusion “That is why the data in this paper are so important. By sharing the project team’s knowledge, the hope is that it can help improve the way infrastructure in the UK is built. HS2 is likely to be followed by further major rail projects, not least the plans being developed for an east–west link by Northern Powerhouse Rail. Just as HS2 built on the example set by Crossrail, it is hoped that the experience of HS2 will be taken forward into new projects.”

    Yeah right.


    John Marriott

    March 16, 2021 at 10:50 pm

    • Thank you for your comments, which have prompted me to rewrite the blogpost. The Alison Munro article does indeed look as if it was written several years ago, yet the ICE seem to be presenting it as being up to date and accurate.


      March 16, 2021 at 11:36 pm

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