Looking at… HS2 Consultation Question 2

From the HS2 Consultation documents:

The questions on which the Government is seeking views are set out below. In each case, the Government is interested in whether or not you agree with its proposals and why, as well as in any additional evidence that you feel it should consider in reaching its final decisions.

2. This question is about the case for high speed rail (Chapter 2):
Do you agree that a national high speed rail network from London to Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester (the Y network) would provide the best value for money solution (best balance of costs and benefits) for enhancing rail capacity and performance?


Stop HS2 is clear about what we think is the appropriate answer to this question.


It’s “No“.




11 comments to “Looking at… HS2 Consultation Question 2”
  1. What a ridiculous question. You might as well ask a child.

    On a serious note I would point out that nearly 20% of the cost is for Euston station and the 7.75 km to Old Oak Common – that’s not good value for value for money. Lord Malwhinie recommended that the line terminate at Old Oak Common which would shave £3billion off the cost

  2. STOP HS2 has always accepted there are existing capacity issues on our railways. What we do not accept is that HS2 is the best or only option to address this. There are many alternatives. There is so much that could be done overnight – scrap first class carraiges for example. Extend platforms and trains. Lift restricitve franchise requirements. HS2 if it goes ahead will not address the capacity issues fast enough and will in fact encourage unnecessary travel. Working methods are changing http://epidm.edgesuite.net/RBI/computerweekly/CWESV/HTML/2011/CWESV_070311.html.
    I would hope you would agree that most environmentally concious people do not make unnecessary journeys. Unncessary journeys pollute unnecessarily and cost money – we all need to do our bit – walk our children to school etc. HS2 encourages new journeys and could actually increase flights.
    And before you ask an LPG conversion and yes my child walks to school. Our rural bus service is facing the axe placing more emphasis on car travel and restricting our elderly neighbours who can not drive – that is an infringement on human rights. We consider using a car a luxury albeit a necessity at times.

    • Scrap 1st class carriages……..which cater for a passenger who will pay a premium price so as to lessen the need for a subsidy???. And if first class travel isnt an option, would that mean increased travel in Jaguars, Range Rovers, BMWs …..and domestic flights???

      Extend platforms and trains……there is a limit on platform extensions. Pendolino trains are being extended to 11 cars now, but of course that is catering for todays and the near futures demand.

      Lift restrictive franchise agreements…….the new 2012 WCML agreement does exactly that!!!

      So as you can see , things are being done anyway irrespective of HS2 ( add in mega projects like Crossrail and Thameslink which are underway )……..but the reality is that we still have to make plans for the future.

    • @Lizzy: some v interesting points you raise on ‘unnecessary’ travel. Would you suggest that leisure travel eg. weekends away or travel to football are included in unnecessary journeys? I travelled on a London – Bham Pendolino on a Saturday two weeks ago to watch football, and I was genuinely shocked how busy it was (even in first class!).

      These journeys are rarely allocated an economic value. A true ‘business case’ comparator for HS2 would give a value (for example) to tourist revenues in London generated by rail travellers . By this measure, the serious engineering work required to permit RP2 (ballast renewals, power supply upgrade, building at least three huge concrete flyovers), all would be priced into the bill alongside these external costs.

      The tourism/leisure impact of the WCML upgrade was never priced — had they been, the true cost would have been c£11-12bn I suspect. I accept HS2 is not a flawless plan…but my personal view is that it is less flawed than the alternatives.

      • I personally believe that travel for pleasure should be a luxury and that to ration carbon footprint (very much like they did with rationing fuel in the war) could only benefit mankind. I love the idea of having a quota for the year for each person and that if you choose to exceed that you should pay the price in carbon off setting. We have serious choices to make in this world if mankind is to survive and I would prefer to reduce my own travel plans rather than restrict population growth, food choices etc. Life should include responsibility. How we choose to honour that is down to us as individuals but I would like to think enough of us have sufficient conscience to make the right decisions. Speed is not the answer. Sustainability is.

        • “Is Your Journey Really Necessary”

          An excellent slogan during World War Two.
          All but essential travel was to be discouraged. Priority was for the war effort .

          But that was sixty five years ago. We no longer carry gas masks and our Identity Cards, nor must we constantly “Dig for Victory”.

          Travel “off Peak” is much cheaper and less crowded. Unlike car travel, it does not add to pollution; the trains and buses are already committed to their service, with or without us on board.

          What we do contributeis extra revenue to the providers of the services, which will help to fund the train or bus for “essential” travellers, and off set some of the expense of accommodating the huge number of rush hour passengers.

          So, enjoy your trip. Travel with a clear conscience,

        • @Lizzy: “I personally believe that travel for pleasure should be a luxury and that to ration carbon footprint (very much like they did with rationing fuel in the war) could only benefit mankind.”

          So what you seem to be saying is “travel per se is a bad thing, to be avoided if at all possible”

          Can I recommend you as a keynote speaker for the next Travel Industry conference – you should go down a storm – provided you make it out of the building in one piece?

          Tourism is a massive industry, even here in dear old rainy blighty – a word of advice; I’d keep this sentiment well under the radar screen if I were you because if ordinary people began to comprehend the full ramifications of your anti-travel policy stance, they’d be massively hostile to anti-HS2 arguments

          • There’s a range of views about travel in the Stop HS2 campaign. Increasing use of videoconferencing and other digital technologies is reducing the demand for travel, without anyone needing to ration it.

            FWIW, Norman Baker, one of the Transport ministers has been given a remit for non-travel.

  3. If every single person in the UK answered that question , almost all would say ” dont know “.

    The reality is that economic benefits are over the lifetime of the asset – which in this case is stated over 60 years. In 60 years, the population of the uk MAY be 120 million – or it MAY NOT be !!. But if it does turn out to be 120 million ( and I use that figure in a totally arbitary way ) , and we havent invested today for that future…..etc etc.

    The other way of looking at this is …….when Churchill was walking around London the day after VE day in 1945, do you think he had a picture of what London would look like in 2005???. I seriously doubt it…..but of course doing nothing in 1945 was not an option, as London was semi flattened…..

    Bit of an extreme analogy I know……

    Its a conundrum in which there are more unknowns than knowns…….simply because the unknowns are in the future. To be fair ,if I was to state 10 reasons for HS2 and ranked them 1 to 10 as the most vital to the project going ahead, this would actually rank at around 9 or 10.

    • Actually, most people should answer “no” – if they can think of one thing that is better then the answer is no. But “don’t know” is a valid option as well.

      Options that might improve rail capacity is to encourage non-travel (like Norman Baker should be doing in the Dft), another is to change season tickets to more of an Oyster card scheme (suggested by the Public Accounts Committee) and another is to make improvements to the WCML, as suggested by HS2 Action Alliance, Virgin Trains and Centro.

      • So you acknowledge the fact that increased rail capacity is needed then…..which is the same view that the pro HS2 campaigns have…

        Encouraging non travel might be seen as an infringement of basic human rights by some people!!!!

        Not quite sure of the link between Oyster card and capacity – Oysters have been proven to reduce paper tickets. And until fairly recently, they couldnt be used at all anywhere on the Network Rail system – I suspect commuters all over the UK will end up with a version of that in their own areas in the future.

        Improvements to WCML are ongoing – there are projects contained within both CP4 and CP5 which have no relation to HS2 whatsoever. As many times stated however, you cant make a 200 mph train go round a bend with a max speed limit of 70mph….

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