“The Chancellor has told transport ministers to maximise proceeds from the current rail franchise bids or put at risk the planned £32bn high-speed line to Birmingham and the North. …
One senior industry source familiar with the Treasury’s thinking said: “Greening is under pressure to get a big payday from the West Coast, East Coast and Great Western franchise bids or lose the backing for High Speed 2.”
“…Compared with other EU countries, HS2’s projected Phase 1 capital costs per mile are way higher, whilst its claimed financial benefits are seriously inadequate. A Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) analysis by the DfT for Phase 1 barely shows a positive return, even before many risk factors. Not surprisingly, the DfT prefers to focus on the various contentious non-commercial benefits. In times of economic crisis, previous Governments have axed major projects. Within the next three years, the highly uneconomic HS2 project is a strong candidate to be shunted into the sidings.”
Is fast axiomatically best, for instance? Whatever happened to Concorde? Think about £17bn punted now on a high-speed line to Birmingham, a full 20 minutes journey-time saved. Think of the wonders of continental amity that were supposed to flow from the Channel Tunnel. Is fast always the clinching argument? Fast is a means, not an end. Fast – and fibre optic – are choices, not universal boons.
THE year is 2026 and Euston Station, a consecrated church burial ground and hundreds of council homes have been bulldozed to make way for a new railway terminus…
The massive development site – at the southern end of the huge £33billion north-to-south rail link – is the size of 17 Arsenal football club stadiums.
The former ministers also spoke out against about the proposed new rail route between London, Birmingham and ultimately the North, which would carry trains travelling at more than 200mph…
…Lord Parkinson said estimates of how many passengers would travel on the new line were “ludicrous”.
“I am very sceptical about the whole thing. I see it as of limited value and almost unlimited expense,” he added.
Christopher Chope described HS2 as “an extremely expensive example of political folly”.
(The third ex-minister quoted wrote a reply to the Telegraph article – Stansted Should Be the New Hub Airport.)