As we reported last week,the Department for Transport know they have been making errors, and downgraded the BCR (benefit cost ratio) for HS2.
Alternative schemes become even more attractive compared to HS2 than they already are.
The 51M alternative is a series of incremental upgrades which more then meets the Department for Transport’s expected growth in demand for passengers. And more crucially it does it far cheaper then HS2 with, with a significantly higher BCR then HS2.
A report for the government by Atkins, published in January shows this: Atkins was asked by the Department for Transport “to appraise a set of strategic alternatives to the government’s overall proposed high-speed rail strategy for a Y-shaped network linking London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds”.
The report estimates that 51m’s proposals to increase long-distance capacity on the west coast main line by lengthening the trains to 12 cars, reducing the number of first-class carriages and running additional peak long-distance services, offered the taxpayer a return of £6.06 for every pound invested. In contrast, the government’s official BCR is now only 1.2 for the first phase of HS2 – assuming the Department for Transport have made no more mistakes in their models.
The former transport secretary,Philip Hammond told the transport select committee: “As rail projects go, a benefit-cost ratio of 2.6 is quite reasonable. If it were to fall much below 1.5, I would certainly be putting it under some very close scrutiny.”