TSC review of High Speed Rail due out tomorrow

The long awaited Transport Select Committee inquiry into HS2 and high speed rail is being published on Tuesday morning.

Speculation in the media at the weekend says that the TSC’s report will suggest that HS2 Ltd’s proposals start in the wrong place, and that the line should be constructed starting in the north.

Channel 4 news – HS2 rail line could start in Manchester and Leeds

HS2 rail link should start in north of England say MPs – Telegraph.co.uk

However the problem with HS2 is not the exact route, or even where it starts.

The problem is that the basic assumptions behind the HS2 proposal are wrong.

These are the assumptions about time being wasted on trains – when even on busy trains people are productive (see our TSC submission below): on the need to be the fastest conceivable railway, in spite of the environmental damage that this causes: on the willingness of the Government to spend £33 billion on a railway that won’t cut carbon in spite of our commitment to reduce our emissions.

These flaws in the assumptions won’t go away just by starting the construction in a different place. These flaws will only go away if the proposal is cancelled, or at the very least, the project is rethought completely from scratch.

When, or if, the details of the second phase of HS2 are made public, people who live north of Birmingham will have an incentive to look closely at the HS2 proposals, and will see the flaws in it for themselves. They will want a public inquiry to look into the matter, for their MPs to object in Parliament as persistantly as MPs further south.

PS At the time of writing, Stop HS2 had not seen a copy of the report, but as soon as we get it, we will be studying it carefully.

Meanwhile, you can download our submission here: Stop HS2 TSC Submission May 2011

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