Key misunderstandings on HS2 – Part 1

This is a guest post by Jerry Marshall.

Misunderstanding – Lille has benefitted from high speed trains/station

Unemployment in greater Lille has increased relative to the national average.

Misunderstanding – HS1 has provided economic benefits
HS1 is running at just a third of forecast demand, cost the taxpayer billions and has left local commuters up in arms at cut backs to other services.

Misunderstanding – There is a national consensus for high speed rail in UK
According to a recent YouGov poll, 48% are against HS2 and only 34% in favour.

Misunderstanding – HS2 benefit cost ratio 2.6
When a more realistic view is taken of the assumptions made in the business case the BCR reduces to around 0.5. Many of these issues were raised by the independent report produced by Oxera for the Transport Select Committee, who concluded the benefits were ‘uncertain’.

Misunderstanding – HS2 will help the North South divide
The regeneration benefit would be marginal and mostly benefit London, which is the expected result when a dominant capital city enjoys faster connections with other cities.

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5 comments to “Key misunderstandings on HS2 – Part 1”
  1. With your last comment about HS2 and the fact it will not help the North South Divide. I would like to know what facts and figures you have towards this? My thinking is that it would allow workers in London being able to afford the much much cheaper housing in cities like Birmingham or even Manchester. As recent figures have shown the rental increases in London are astronomical. With now the average rent figures being over £1,100 per month. Does this not show that people on London Salaries will be able to commute in everyday and live in property much cheaper than in London?

    • Don’t talk rubbish Rob.

      A season ticket on HS1 costs £10,000 – out of taxed income !

      So you would need to earn say 13,500 before tax – you may as well live in London

      • And don’t forget the tube fares on top of that and the time travelling from Euston to your office …. I already commute every day to London and believe me I would not want to travel any further distance than I do already. Commuting from manchester, Birmingham would just be a nonsense….. and it would take valuable skills from these cities so much for solving the North south divide, lets create the North to South brain drain instead

  2. Will a new transport connection help the North of Britain benefit from the riches of London?

    If it will, then surely Tower Hamlets would be paved with gold by now. Tower Hamlets is one of the poorest and deprived areas of Britain. Yet, it is only ten minutes away from the financial heart of the country. Even with HS2, key cities such as Manchester are still more than an hour further away. In addition, the ticket price from, say, Manchester to The City of London will be a lot more than the short hop from Tower Hamlets.

    Even in the town in which I live there are council houses with children on free school meals at one end, and in less than a mile, millionaires’ houses. They are interconnected by a good road and footpaths with lots of new and frequent local buses (we are lucky). They share two great local schools. This great capability to get from one place to another within minutes has not reduced the rich/poor divide, nor will HS2.

  3. * “The Channel Tunnel Should Never Have Been Built.” This would seem to be the conclusion behind Jerry Marshall’s denunciation of HS1.

    HS1 is part and parcel an extension and completion of the Tunnel link;- (unless you would prefer it to be no more than an “underground car ferry” of course…)

    The destructive widening of the A 40 through Acton, the controversial A 11 link from the end of the M 11 through Wanstead and Leyton, the Westway extension through North Kensington and Paddington and the M 4/ A 4 elevated sections through Brentford, Chiswick and Hammersmith; none of these roads would justify themselves and their cost in the demolitions necessary in their imposition into an existing populated environment had they not been seen as an essential link with the motorway and trunk road network.

    So too the HS1. If the Channel tunnel was to be built at all, then the project had to be completed with a fast link into London.

    This was not only to speed the passage of Eurostar trains clear of the congestion and complexity of the South London network, but to prevent further delays and conflict with local services.

    Whether or not the “interim” Waterloo terminous should have been built- and then abandoned is another question.

    The decision to tunnel through east London rather than bulldoze through ten miles of residential districts,as had been done with the recent road schemes, was the right course, but obviously going underground increased the construction costs enormously.

    Two decades back,had the Wilson government not chickened out of the earlier Channel project – in favour of Concorde (!), then all these issues would have been resolved years ago.

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