A collection of news items from the last few weeks.
The Independent: End of the line? £50bn HS2 rail link project in doubt
End of the line? £50bn HS2 rail link project in doubtThe IndependentDespite David Cameron’s outspoken support for HS2, fears are intensifying within Downing Street that the Government will be forced to abandon the largest rail building project for a generation, The Independent understands. There are also concerns in …
The HS2 rail project will be abandoned if Labour withdraws its support, David Cameron has warned.
In an intervention that raises serious questions over the project’s future and piles pressure on the Opposition, the Prime Minister said it would be impossible to secure the necessary private investment for the £43 billion line without all-party backing.
Some of the papers suggest there are questions about the future of the High Speed 2 rail link.
The Spectator: HS2 is a grandstand project – and the sums just don’t add up
HS2 is a solution looking for a problem. Since its conception, HS2 has been a tale of shape shifting as first it was about time, then about bridging the north south divide, then about capacity before we are told it is simply the right thing to do.
Mark Twain contended that there are three kinds of lies: ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics’. These matters have become even more vexed since his sardonic remark in 1906. Whilst the (potential) sophistication of quantitative economic analysis has increased considerably, so also have the possibilities of dissimulation via the deployment of sophistical econometrics and other means of quantitative economic bamboozlement. I label these latter groups of wily economic arts collectively as Conometricks. Their common feature is that they all involve the insidious warping and/or specious misuse of (often complex) statistical/quantitative analysis so as to bolster a weak (or dire) economic case, argument, or projection.
The Backbencher: Economies of Rail: Why HS2 Simply Won’t Do
One of the ironies of HS2 is that it has caused more trouble than any other railway line in Britain – despite the fact that not even an inch of it has yet been laid. The government’s problem seems to be that it doesn’t quite know how to sell the project to the public. For many people – and I proudly admit to being one of them – HS2 is the most shameful waste of money on a major project by the British government since the construction of that hideous New Labour totem, the Millennium Dome. I am entitled to this opinion because I’m a British tax-payer and I don’t want my money misspent on a 225 mph oversized toy.
Residents concerned following news that the town’s roads could be used for to transport material to and from the track
The members of the gangs’ forum passed through the security checkpoint where they were scanned for weapons.
HS2, the UK’s controversial high-speed rail link, is still years away, and could cost £70bn. For those on its route, uncertainty about what will happen to their homes is taking over their lives
Towns and cities away from high-speed rail route could stand to lose up to £220m in economic drain, report reveals
The case for High Speed 2 is looking more and more like a Tonka project – a big showy toy that politicians can brag about, but will do little for the UK’s economy. And it is not an equitable project. It is set to damage the economy of areas like east of England and boost London at their expense.
Northamptonshire Telegraph: North Northamptonshire could be HS2 ‘loser’
North Northamptonshire could be HS2 ‘loser’HS2 is a planned new railway between London and Leeds, which is designed to operate at speeds of up to 225mph and which will dramatically cut journey times between the north and south of the country. The high-speed line is due to open in 2026 and the ..
As Camden council and residents wait for the result of their appeal against the super-railway set to plough through their stucco, Jonathan Prynn reports on a north London outcry
The heated debate over where to locate Sheffield’s station on the high speed rail network is unprecedented, according to a senior HS2 executive.
Beth West, commercial director of HS2 Limited, said the row between South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive and the area’s four councils is the first of its kind since the £43 billion proposals were launched.
This is Cornwall: Check your map, HS2 rail boss told – Bristol isn’t the far South West
The new boss of the £50 billion north-south high-speed rail project has come under fire from a Westcountry MP for failing to explain how the far South West will benefit from so-called HS2.
Coventry Telegraph: Top cop’s five-hour rail journey sparks HS2 fury
The Police and Crime Commissioner for Warwickshire, Ron Ball, has vented his anger at what he calls “the HS2 folly” – after a rail journey that should have taken just over an hour took him five hours.
Such is the seriousness of the HS2 issue that it elicits in me a form of word association every time anybody mentions trains: I immediately think of all the reasons why the proposal would be a terrible detriment to our beautiful area, and of all the constituency residents for whom it will prove disastrous.
Microsoft and a variety of Estate Agents have this week criticised the poor performance of broadband in rural parts of the United Kingdom. At the same time the software giant also warned that spending £42.6bn on the High Speed Two (HS2) railway link instead of super-fast Internet connectivity is a “strategic mistake“.
Baroness Scott is expected to say: “The solution doesn’t lie in megabucks projects like High Speed 2. We need investment in unglamorous projects such as a passing point at Wickham Market to enable a better service to run in East Suffolk and unblock the bottleneck north of Ely.”
The HS2 budget would be better spent on extending platforms, further electrification and opening new lines…
The fact that shadow chancellor Ed Balls barely feels the need to disguise his scepticism about the £40bn-plus project says it all. And if, in a future Labour government, the chancellor doesn’t think that a new railway line is worth the investment, then it’s not going to happen.
Chamberlan Files: ‘Gagging Clause’ would be bad legislation, even without HS2
Perhaps there are occasions – like when the Chamberlain Files seems keen to extend HS2 Week indefinitely by any means at hand (Sub-Ed Note: Click here for HS2 Week) – when we should press on regardless of the headline. This was not really an HS2 story, but a bad legislation story: an important account of what would be a really bad piece of legislation, even if HS2 had never been invented.
Belfast Telegraph: HS2 cash injection for Northern Ireland economy
The proposed High Speed 2 train line in Great Britain could provide a large cash boost for the Northern Ireland Executive if the scheme goes ahead.
Under the so-called Barnett Formula, Northern Ireland could |receive around £1.3bn as compensation for not benefiting directly from the project.
There are “serious shortcomings” in the economic case for HS2 and parliament should delay the £42bn project until the Treasury has conducted a full review, MPs have said.
The influential Commons Treasury select committee said it was not persuaded by the cost-benefit analysis for the high speed rail network that will link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.
The controversial HS2 rail link has been dealt a new blow after English Heritage announced it was listing the previously “lost” site of a Wars of the Roses battle along the route.
The high speed line is to pass through an area of Northamptonshire where, on July 26 1469, the Battle of Edgecote was fought, at which the forces of a leading noble called Richard Neville – or Warwick the Kingmaker – defeated those of King Edward IV’s, in one of the conflict’s key turning points.
The Government has been accused of breaking strict Civil Service rules in its rushed appointment of Sir David Higgins to rescue the heavily criticised plans for the £42.7bn High Speed 2 railway.
Although the official cost of the scheme is £42.6bn (up from the initial prediction of £33bn), the costs of new rolling stock will bring the project up to £50bn, and some worry costs will spiral upwards even further.
But in the debate over the amount of investment needed, we have lost sight over whether HS2 is worth building in the first place.
Camden New Journal: TEN MORE CAMDEN NEIGHBOURHOODS TO FEEL HS2 PAIN
Hundreds of homes previously unaffected by the initial plans for the London to Birmingham rail link have been brought into the mix as HS2 Ltd, the government-appointed company, works out where it needs to send its diggers.
Manchester Evening News: Gorton residents vow to fight HS2 threat that could see homes demolished
The High Speed Rail line would see 22 homes in the Bennett Street area knocked down to make way for the high speed line as it emerges from an underground tunnel around a mile from Piccadilly.
Using Cision Social Media and our in-house data scientist Terry Adeagbo, we’ve analysed the sentiment of HS2-related tweets from around the country over the last month [September]. We’ve used an automated sentiment tool so all of the usual disclaimers apply.
Ed Balls has dropped the heaviest hint yet he would like to scrap the High Speed 2 rail project were Labour to win the next election, opening up a split at the top of the party. The shadow chancellor told the Labour Party conference in Brighton on …
The ambitious High Speed rail link between London and the north was dramatically derailed today, as Ed Balls declared there could be better ways to spend £50billion. The shadow chancellor appeared to withdraw Labour’s full-throated support for the …