Lets be clear: whatever people think, HS2 is not the alternative to a third runway at Heathrow.
Many of the strongest proponents of HS2 also want Heathrow to be expanded.
Take Andrew Adonis, the Secretary of State for Transport who announced HS2 in March 2010, with no provision for a link to Heathrow. In March he said
“It has been stark staring obvious for years that a third runway at Heathrow was in the national interest, to safeguard jobs and new investment from abroad.”
And a couple of weeks ago, he demanded that the Coalition should just get on with HS2 – his view is that HS2 should be built as well as expanding Heathrow.
(See also David Begg’s view.)
The January 2012 Economic case showed that just 3% of HS2 passengers would be taking the train rather than flying. That compares to 24% of the passengers who only decided to travel because HS2 had been built.
There are no flights between Heathrow and Birmingham, and the Manchester to London route has 80% of the market already going by train.
And, with the design that Lord Adonis approved, there won’t be a connection to Heathrow until Phase 2 – currently due for completion about 2033.