The Adam Smith Institute have just published its latest paper “Don’t Railroad it Through: Rethinking HS2”. The paper says that the UK Government should rethink the HS2 project – and sets out a number of alternatives to save time, save money, and deliver an improved service for rail passengers.
In particular, the report looks at the benefit cost ratio and and says HS2 risks being a massive black hole for taxpayer money with virtually nothing to show for it returning just 78 pence of value for every £1 of taxpayers’ money spent.
Saying that “it is obvious that with the hugely escalating costs the current model is already dead in the water”, the paper looks at some of the ways rail passengers will lose put if HS2 is built and at alternative improvements that are better than the vastly expensive over budget HS2, including upgrading existing routes with new signalling, doubling the number of tracks, reopening mothballed lines, and timetable redesigns.
Other recommendations include upgrading stations in London, Birmingham and Manchester and improved train facilities like wifi, seat quality, and charging points to improve passenger experience.
Reacting to the report, Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2, said
“HS2 was set up with a narrow remit based on outdated assumptions. This is another report that destroys the case for HS2. There are cheaper more environmentally friendly alternatives that will deliver benefits better and faster than HS2. It’s time the Government went back to the drawing board and scrapped HS2 entirely.”
Joe Rukin, campaign manager for Stop HS2, said
“It’s been clear from the outset that HS2 will never deliver on the grossly overinflated promises to justify building it. It’s time the Government acknowledged this and cancelled HS2.”