HS2 – on track or derailing?

The latest in the HS2 propaganda war from the Department for Transport is a publication called “HS2: On track”: meanwhile, HS2 Ltd’s Chief Engineer is promising HS2 trains will never be delayed.

But the reality is that HS2 is like the worst of the British Rail stereotypes: delays, cancellations, fare increases and leaves on the line all have parallels with HS2.

HS2 boxed toy train set, includes demolished homes, felled trees, angry websites, displaced wildlife, environmental activists

HS2 train set

Delays: HS2 was originally supposed to have passed through Parliament in time for the coming election.  Instead, the target date for Parliamentary approval is December 2016.  In addition, the final route for Phase 2 was supposed to have been announced last year, but we will be waiting until next year for that as well.

Cancellations: the link to HS1 has been dropped.  The link to Heathrow, while not actually cancelled and so continuing to blight, is not going to be part of Phase 1 or Phase 2.

Fare increases: the headline figure five years ago was £17bn and now it is £50bn.  To be fair, five years the headline included neither trains or Phase 2, but thats a bit like giving a fare and then saying baggage allowance and station entrance not included.  But then again the London terminus station for HS2 – Euston – doesn’t seem to be included in the figures, due to the huge problems HS2 Ltd are having with it’s design.

Leaves on the Line: for some peculiar reason, HS2 which had to go through the widest part of the Chilterns, takes a dog-leg route through George Osborne’s constituency, which just manages to avoid many of the richest parts.

What have we missed – how else is HS2 like the worst stereotype of a badly run railway?

5 comments to “HS2 – on track or derailing?”
  1. £50 bn. is widely regarded as conservative, Higgins couldn’t find any savings, instead they drop the link to HS1 and the Heathrow link is kicked into the long grass.
    It doesn’t matter when the money is spent and over what period. It remains a complete waste of money.
    At the time of the 2nd reading of the hybrid bill, only 40% of the line to BIrmingham had been surveyed, the MPA Report remains suppressed….one wonders whether the two are connected?

  2. Pingback: HS2 – on track or derailing? | SteveB's P...

  3. Vote for a community MP who will prevent Civil Servants driving HS2 your way regardless of elections and common sense to suspend this Route before the damage starts in autumn 2015 and 2016

    The two links provide a projection of what the Highways and byeways of the Counties will become because of the poor HS2 route plan in your area.

    The MPs gave the few Civil Servants the instruction to devastate much of central Englands rural and farming areas for an inward investment gain that does not assist most local commuters. MPs who stand for you community and personal interests are needed to overcome the two weakness of British Politics. Civil Servants have no reversal authority after group think of a Bill. The UK constitution convention was no entrenchment of legislation but people now realise there is entrenchment of rolling wasteful plans and progammes. Time to change this. Perhaps UKIP as not realised their approach is a narrow version of this theme. More MP candidates and councillor candidates are needed who are committed to your local issues and NOT the whipped party politics which has failed the UK for the past 30 years and does so. Returning the same group for another 5 years is a risk for the nation. Likewise a new majority for party politics to continue is another risk. More people standing on your manifesto and not a party manifesto may help to apply better governance. The need for better governance has to be addressed to prevent Civil Servant mismangement such as HS2 now the Second Chamber of the House of Lords has been reduced to a few Lords and Baronesses joining with the few Permanent Secretaries of large Civil Service departments and their MP Ministers and Chancellor to ruin the English rural countryside along the HS2 route. Please recognise the choice should be yours and read the proposed impacts ahead in 2016 and the Additional Provisions 2 in 2015. Royal Assent is nigh and democratic governance went faster than HS2 will go.

    [PDF]HS2 Phase One Planning Forum – Highways Sub … – Gov.UK


    4 Feb 2015 – 9. Aim – to provide more detail to highway authorities and the Select. Committee on the following topics: •. General hybrid Bill requirement.



    8 Jan 2015 – HS2 Phase One Planning Forum: Highways Sub-group. January 2015 … to progress maters as raised and directed by the Select Committee.

  4. Yes, indeed, Penny ,that poster illustrating the apparently inexorable rise and rise in cost is very dramatic nd alarming- as indeed it is designed to be…
    …but then of course, it isn’t the whole story as we both know that only too well,( and as you at least partly concede.)
    You surely wouldn’t buy a ticket to Birmingham and then expect to travel free ;on to Manchester or to Yorkshire -unless of course you had taken advantage of a generous Advance Purchase offer- in which case you could apply to buy your ticket A.s.a.p.

    Seriously. that original figure of 17bn. was the estimate for Phase One while the complete ‘Y’ network was costed at 32or 33bn.
    At this point it was the TREASURY who added a further 10 bn.for extra ‘contingencies’, although the previous figures had already allowed for such things as inflation and extra protection and mitigation measures along the route.

    Whether the Treasury were trying to avoid possible blame in case a future government had to justify a cost overrun, or whether they merely were attempting to panic the government into abandoning the whole thing- well, only senior Whitehall civil servants could say…
    (though the track record of at least one former senior Treasury official in delaying the approval of Crossrail, on his own admission, does make one suspicious)

    Now add in the rolling stock, and the assumed total of 50bn. a vast sum indeed, can be more readily understood. And of course, it is to be spent, spread over a decade or two, a rather less daunting proposition than it is made to appear.

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