PAC looking into HS1 sale

Today, the Public Accounts Committee will be hearing oral evidence on the sale of HS1.

Witnesses include Mike Fuhr, from the Department for Transport, Philip Rutnam, Permanent Secretary, Steve Gooding, Domestic Group, and Stewart Wallis, from the New Economics Foundation.

Stop HS2 made a written submission to their inquiry. You can download it here: Stop HS2 submission PAC April 2012.

From our submission:

This submission looks into whether the lessons learned from HS1 are being applied in the case of HS2. Our conclusion is that the lessons from HS1 are being ignored.

…3.0 Unclear Objectives for HS2
The primary objective of HS1 was clear from its original name, Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

3.1 However, there is no such clarity about the objective for HS2. The government has put forward a variety of reasons for building it before subsequently dropping them. These range from promoting a low carbon economy, to healing the north-south divide, to reshaping the economic geography of Britain and to providing extra capacity for commuters.

3.2 However HS2 has not been evaluated in comparison with other schemes that could fulfill these policy objectives. So even if Hs2 might fulfill these objectives, it is not clear that spending £33 billion on a new railway is the best value for money method for doing so.

4.0 What HS1 did well, but HS2 is doing badly

4.1 HS1 runs next to motorways and major roads: 85% of the route was in tunnel or next to a railway or trunk road, including the M20 and the M26 and other duel carriageways.

In contrast, Stop HS2 calculations last year showed that only 37% of the HS2 was either in tunnels or next to what the HS2 consultation documents describe as “existing railway or road corridors”. Typical of these is the A413, which is a single carriageway road and not comparable to a motorway.

4.2 HS1 has intermediate stations at Stratford International, Ebbsfleet and Ashford. HS2 will have no stations between London and Birmingham, even though the distance is greater than with HS1.

3 comments to “PAC looking into HS1 sale”
  1. The PAC spent a lot of the meeting on HS2 and great concern was expressed on (among other things)—
    –passenger demand forecasts
    –no premium fare modelling
    –no modelling of possible impact of new technologies which may impact on need to travel
    –opportunity costs
    –amber to red rating by Major Projects Authority (MPA)

    There should be a report within a month and it should be very interesting reading

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