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HS2 Debate in a week’s time

In a week’s time, on 13th October, politicians in the House of Commons are holding a debate on the high speed rail link, HS2.

It is vital that everyone opposed to HS2 contacts their MP, and encourages them to speak out against the project.  One easy way to do this is by accessing the form on http://www.highspeedrail.org.uk/

You will have your own reasons for objecting to HS2.  Some of the reasons we think it’s bad are:

  • HS2 Ltd say that HS2 will not reduce carbon emissions
  • Due to the route dictated by the design speed, HS2 will damage 160 wildlife sites between London and Birmingham, including ancient woodlands.
  • HS2 Ltd’s passenger demand figures are based on projections up to the mid 2040s – far longer then anyone else dares to predict.
  • Their projections of passenger growth ignores increasing use of telepresence videoconferencing and other digital technologies.
  • When the full network is completed, construction will have cost £160m per mile – more then any other high speed railway in the world, but the time savings from HS2 much less then is typical compared to other countries high speed networks.
  • People can and do work on trains now, so the economic benefits of HS2, which are based on time on trains being wasted, are much less then HS2 Ltd say.
  • Full construction of the network to Manchester and Leeds will cost £33 billion in 2009 prices and will leave every household in Britain worse off by over £1,000.
  • It costs the taxpayer half a billion pounds for every minute saved on the time takes to get to Birmingham.

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23 comments to “HS2 Debate in a week’s time”
  1. Martin it is because so many trains go into birmingham that has caused much of the congestion and if there were more local connections east to west across the country there would be far less need for people to travel into birmingham to make a connection or london when further down the country.Local connections are needed far more than HS2.

  2. •HS2 Ltd say that HS2 will not increase carbon emissions in the worst case scenario

    •any new lines of any design speed, even the fabled hs2 supposed alternatives will unfortunately cause damage to wildlife sites.

    •HS2 Ltd’s passenger demand figures etc etc But when we dont do predictions we end up spending more then we would have done had we provided more capacity in the first place !.i.e motorway widening and the rail network!

    •Teleconferencing etc.exist now yet many still travel as many people still would rather meet other people then they want to meet a computer screen ! And how do you go on holiday – are they going to be virtual also ?

    – ” construction will have cost £160m per mile – more then any other high speed railway in the world, but the time savings from HS2 much less then is typical compared to other countries high speed networks.” – so you are complaining about the cost per mile which arises because of the need to protect as much countryside and reduce noise – so lets build it all above ground as that will be much cheaper. And the nerve to then state hs2 isnt fast enough after all that has been said – are you arguing against your own statements now ???

    •People can and do work on trains now as you say but that is only because people want to spend time productively in the long journey times – they would all prefer to get to where they are going seated and in a shorter time and not suffer as many delays.

    •The expected benefits of hs2 are double the costs so each household will benefit by £1OOO !!!

    • the main reason for hs2 is the extra capacity provided so calculations about how much is costs to save time arent really relevant as a slower line would not in any case be much cheaper..

    • Are they sure? I suppose it depends on how the electricity is produced to run the train. In the worst case there won’t be enough to run the train so carbon won’t be a problem. Will the construction equipment be solar powered?

      Have you looked at ALL the wildlife sites that HS2 is going to damage? I’m sure the alternatives could be just as carefully mitigated by HS2 so that upgrading is sympathetic to the countryside.

      more, more,more,more,more,more more capacity – there comes a time when enough is enough, and in the current economic climate the time is probably now!

      A time and motion study on who spends how much time doing what and when in the office or on the train, or on the beach … could never give an accurate picture of how much each person’s time on the train or saved by the train going fast is worth to the country. Of course we prefer face to face than screen to screen – but we can also be flexible in our travel habits.

      But it is a lot of money per mile for such a short length of railway – compared with the big countries that really do need high speed trains. Let’s not build it – then the countryside will be symphonic with birdsong – and a lot of money won’t be wasted.

      True – but that could happen on our existing network – with a bit of upgrading, for a lot less money. Whooshing along at 180-225mph may get them to Birmingham a few minutes quicker – but the bike home from the station might take a while – and they’d have a seat all the way!

      Benefit Cost Ratio – now there’s something to ponder over…double or quit?

      But will 590,000 people be able to afford to travel on the HS2 network each day?
      C a p a c i t y – what will they do with all those fast empty seats?

    • Thank you vtiman for confirming that people work on trains. We all know that but Phillip Hammond and HS2 Ltd don’t seem to. That is why their calculations get a so called £ 2 of benefit for every £ 1 spent. In fact the reality is very different.

      So if the real reason is simply to deal with a capacity question it seems the options are :

      1 ) Upgrade existing line – cheaper but less future proof,
      2 ) Build a new line along an existing corridor – more expensive less environmentally damaging,
      3 ) Build a line at up to 250 mph through whatever stands in its way – much more expensive more environmentally damaging.

      £ 33 bn is an eye watering sum. For that you could build the Severn Barrage, create a lot of jobs in South Wales and the South West and generate 5 % of our electricity ( in renewable form ) for the next 200 years – equiv to 18 m tonnes of coal pa or 3 nuclear plants. That is just one example but you get the idea.

      As for the damage from all lines being the same that is just plain WRONG. How can a line alongside a motorway be as bad as one through virgin countryside and through villages ?

      More rubbish. The people this project mainly benefits are not Joe Public but the big companies who stand to make a mint from its construction and operation.

      • you are assuming that there is just spare unused land and that they arent any houses, factories, offices or farms or houses near motorways. well there are. and motorways go through towns and cities too. and what about all the disruption to existing passengers, you will force many people back on the roads for years whilst the work is ongoing and make everyones journeys more tiring and yes less productive for those who wish to work..

        how could you build another line alongside the m1 between watford and london or through sheffield or birmingham or manchester without causing huge disruption and blight ? why do you think that the original hs1 route was altered ? and the costs would only be 1O% less for a much lower speed line.

        and if only rich people use hs2 then the taxpayer wont be affected and everyone else will gain by the extra capacity achieved on the existing lines through shunting the fat cats onto HS2.

        hs1 has greatly exceeded the predicted gain in wider economic benefits according to a recent report. of course you will say, without a shred of evidence, that the report is flawed. and yes people do work on trains but that isnt the main reason they are on the train. most people would prefer to have a seat and reach their destination more quickly especially business travellers. and those who value time more will be willing to pay more – what is wrong with that ?

        • An upgrade would cause some disruption. But so would the proposed work at Euston which would go on for years. Likewise the disruption to households and roads across the country as HS2 and its extension got built over a 17 year period.

          The difference is that an upgrade doesn’t cost £ 33 bn.

          Similarly a new line along a transport corridor ( as was the case with HS1 ) would create some problems. But the environmental impact would be minimal compared to the current proposals.

          Either way there is a big chunk of tunnelling under London.

          Extra line capacity does not necessarily mean extra services. People in Coventry , for instance , can expect their London services to be downgraded because there won’t be the demand for 3 fast trains an hour if Birmingham traffic shifts to HS2.

          • show me evidence that the coventry service will be downgraded. also euston is going to need rebuilding whether or not hs2 goes ahead. even under other proposals any upgarde allowing extra services is good but there has to be terminal capacity. and upgrades are alrready taking place now on the wcml and ecml.

            lets remember how much the wcml upgrade cost – we could have paid for 2/3 of hs2 to birmingham with the money and even with the longer and extra trains wcml will run out. we need more capacity and hs2 critics keep saying that their are better ways but the evidence never really adds up – did you watch the select committee hearings – it was almost painful looking at the poor claims given by the anti hs2 lobby. . we shall see tomorrow at westminster.

            • What was painful was the HS2 people ( who you and I pay for) saying several times that they ‘haven’t done that work yet)

              Many peoples way of life and livelihoods are at stake here and many facts are still not clear—that is totally unacceptable

            • The evidence is the words of Phillip Hammond. Backed up by the common sense that trains won’t be running three quarters empty, especially when transport costs need to be saved in line with other budgetary areas.

          • Just for clarity ….Euston station is due for a re vamp irrespective of HS2 . The station itself has very valuable ” air rights ” which Network Rail are keen to exploit….however the original plan which has been in the pipeline for a number of years has in fact been scaled back , and indeed only last month , the architects Aedas were given a fresh brief to re design certain elements of the original brief. Also , an element of Network Rails RUS states that suburban lines into Euston may well be ” slewed ” onto Crossrail , thus giving commuters a more direct route into the heart of London. So lots of ” ifs whys and maybes ” etc……but a key to all of it is allocation of capex funds for Control Period 5 ( ie 2014 -2019 ). The settlement is likely to be less generous than the current period in line with other departmental spending plans.

    • •HS2 Ltd say that HS2 will not increase carbon emissions in the worst case scenario – please explain this carbon free construction methodolgy.

      •any new lines of any design speed, even the fabled hs2 supposed alternatives will unfortunately cause damage to wildlife sites. – the honda clarity and a hydrogen netword will not do that. Ultimately cars will be auto driven and speeds will increase substantially.

      •HS2 Ltd’s passenger demand figures etc etc But when we dont do predictions we end up spending more then we would have done had we provided more capacity in the first place !.i.e motorway widening and the rail network! – not clear on your point at all. However capacity issues are most accute communiting into major cities from neaby towns – this 32 billion will do nothing for that.

      •Teleconferencing etc.exist now yet many still travel as many people still would rather meet other people then they want to meet a computer screen ! And how do you go on holiday – are they going to be virtual also ? – Eventually yes. However thats a long way off. The social acceptability and concention will adjust. This is not a short term project and your current social belief now is therefore irrelevant.

      – ” construction will have cost £160m per mile – more then any other high speed railway in the world, but the time savings from HS2 much less then is typical compared to other countries high speed networks.” – so you are complaining about the cost per mile which arises because of the need to protect as much countryside and reduce noise – so lets build it all above ground as that will be much cheaper. And the nerve to then state hs2 isnt fast enough after all that has been said – are you arguing against your own statements now ??? – Really you believed evevated lines are cheaper? Please back that up.

      •People can and do work on trains now as you say but that is only because people want to spend time productively in the long journey times – they would all prefer to get to where they are going seated and in a shorter time and not suffer as many delays. – This comes down to sense of entitlement. Its 2 hours 20 from Sheffield to London. That is not a large amount of time to travel from the North to the South. Other countries with HSR have longer travel times. People will always WANT but not always be aware enough to balance that against need.

      •The expected benefits of hs2 are double the costs so each household will benefit by £1OOO !!! – ficticious and assuming.

      • the main reason for hs2 is the extra capacity provided so calculations about how much is costs to save time arent really relevant as a slower line would not in any case be much cheaper..- This is vague in the extreme. the main need is around cities as alreadt stated. There are many other options that can be explored regarding capacity that do not include HS2.

    • @Simon: “Penny – This seems to be very balanced so would be worth putting on this site
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b015cnyx/Costing_the_Earth_High_Speed_Hell/

      Yes indeed Penny – having listened to the article in question, it offers some timely guidance for the HS2 campaign – I wonder wether they will heed the advice or continue to bury their heads in sand?

      Thanks @Simon for your link – precisely the kind of balanced reporting we need right now. If you believed everything put out by this site, you’d think armageddon was round the corner – the reality is something quite different

      • Yes, listened to it live, and tweeted some of the salient points. Like the women involved in HS1 who said it was absolutely the right thing to do to campaign against HS2.

        For those who missed our tweets, here’s what we wrote:

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        Radio 4 now – noise from #HS2 will cause “a lot of damage in the cities”
        5 Oct

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        Radio 4 “major disruption to our roads” #HS2
        5 Oct

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        Radio 4: “reducing speed of #hs2 would help mitigate damage – eg have it same speed of #hs1…”
        5 Oct

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        Hammond: “don’t think reducing speed would have much effect on local mitigation” #hs2 #radio4
        5 Oct

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        Residents near #hs1 find motorway more annoying then #hs1: no motorways alongside #hs2
        5 Oct

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        resident in Kent: vibration of #hs1 “feel it through my body” from about 500m #hs2
        5 Oct

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        @caddymation bad comparison #hs2 to #hs1, where route runs mostly alongside motorways/main roads,
        5 Oct

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        #Radio4 on hs2 – Noise mitigation on #hs1: “when track built that wasn’t end of the fight”
        5 Oct

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        #hs2 on radio4 Greenfield used in building #hs1 became brownfield site
        5 Oct

        stophs2 stop HS2 website
        Kent gp had many patients severely depressed by building #hs1, some suicidal, says right to fight against #hs2
        5 Oct

        Naturally these points were limited to 140 characters, so they are ‘headlines’ rather then details of the program.

        Our twitter account is at http://twitter.com/#!/stophs2.

        • @Penny

          I don’t follow Twitter but my challenge remains.

          What happens X years from now when HS2 is in-situ and due to the intransigent approach adopted by STOPHS2 and associated groups, if potential mitigating factors (more likely to happen with a constructive approach?) have not been implemented – how will local communities regard your actions then?

          • Stop HS2 make it very clear what we are trying to do – to get HS2 stopped. The advice we give to people and the things we write on the website is all aimed at one specific purpose – to get HS2 stopped.

            It’s quite possible under the scenario you suggest that people will regret their own inactivity in getting HS2 stopped: signing the new petition at http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/353 is one small action they can take, writing to their MP, perhaps using the form at http://www.highspeedrail.org.uk/ is another. Or they could come along on Thursday to join us outside the Houses of Parliament (10.30 – 6pm).

          • @ Peter Davidson. Please tell me how I am supposed to argue for mitigation options? I have tried to engage in a dialogue with HS2/DfT and I have received perfectly polite responses to the effect that it is premature to discuss specific local mitigation options pending further work by HS2. The responses also suggested that I note my concerns in my response to the consultation, which I have done (in addition to opposing the overall scheme).

            For example, I have expressed concerns about the possible Ellesborough Road realignment at Wendover. The response I received was to the effect that it may be possible to retain the existing alignment but this would not be known until detailed local surveys have been undertaken. I have had similar exchanges about the length of the Green Tunnel and the relocation of electricity pylons at Wendover.

            Many local residents have criticised the consultation for its lack of detail in relation to local impacts. The answer has been that this will follow once a decision to proceed has been taken. It seems pretty unreasonable to then criticise local groups for not engaging in discussions about local mitigation when the work to identify and assess those options hasn’t been undertaken.

  3. HSR is a dated technology which requires very high maintenance, it was also the only technology considered by HS2 Ltd, which is against the interests of the taxpayer.
    HS2 Ltd and the DfT got their figures wrong when misquoting the Maglev experts, and then doubling that figure to £60bn.
    HS2 doesn’t serve any commuter stops.
    HS2 cannot beat air travel, only Maglev can beat air travel for speed

    • “HS2 doesn’t serve any commuter stops.”

      And there, Luke, you demonstrate your total ignorance of how Birmingham International and Central Birmingham stations work and the population and travellers that they serve.

    • The majority of commuter journies between London and Birmingham do not start at Birmingham and end at London (vice versa) therefore I this proposed train will NOT serve the majority of commuter routes

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