The paltry time savings of HS2

Many high speed projects across the world lead to large time savings compared to using classic rail: but this won’t happen with HS2!

It is typical for new high speed rail journey times in other countries to take less than half of the time of the conventional rail journey: often as little as a third of the conventional rail journey they replace.

In contrast, the HS2 Economic case, published in February 2011, lists a number of UK journeys and their time savings after completion of HS2 phase 1 and 2. Not a single journey they list is reduced to half the time.

In minutes, the reductions in UK journey times are very small compared to other countries.

For example the HS2 Consultation document (p38) says the Tokyo-Osaka journey reduced from 7 hours to 2 hours 25 minutes, a time saving of 4.5 hours. In contrast the largest time saving in the HS2 Economic case (p10) is one hour, with one example journey (Newcastle to London) being only 15 minutes faster.

All of this at a far higher cost per kilometer to the UK then other countries spend.

7 comments to “The paltry time savings of HS2”
  1. Finmere,

    Your posts make a lot of sense. I do find it strange that the pro HS2 lobby counter the arguments against HS2 by continually calling us nimbys or well off toffs, just look at the comments on the Aylesbury Today (Bucks Herald) link, Same old names, same old claptrap. It is time for people to realise that we cannot afford HS2 , financially, enviromentally or even morally.

  2. Will someone please tell me why we need growth? And how present policies would enable growth? Banks pay no, or derisory amounts of, interest, our pensions are being squeezed/reduced, prices are going up, how, with what is left, can we spend more? All a mystery to me.

    • @Sheila Malham: “Will someone please tell me why we need growth?”

      Can I suggest Sheila that you take a trip to your nearest sink estate and ask a representative sample of the approx one million young unemployed (you won’t have to try too hard to find them!) effectively thrown on the scrap heap for their views on this apparent preoccupation with policies promoting economic growth, amongst our political élites?

      Should make for interesting reading – that is if you make it out alive!

    • Governments need growth in order to generate taxes so they can balance the books, pay debts and spend money on their pet projects. The government continues to spend more every day than it receives in revenues. Our national debt is increasing by £350m per day. In less than 3 years the government has racked up more debt than in the whole of the last century.

      GDP has been the main economic indicator for many years, and up until recently it has increased year on year. It is a taken for granted assumption in economics that growth will continue forever. This assumption was challenged in the 1970s by the club of Rome who predicted that there were limits to growth When you think about it, it’s obvious that output, consumption and population cannot continue to grow ad infinitum.

      You are right to query how can we possibly spend more when there’s nothing left. You can’t draw water from an empty well.

      We are seeing the emergence of a new economic reality in which GDP remains constant and gradually falls back to a sustainable level. Instead of seeing ever rising standards of living, they will gradually decline. Politicians and economists are perplexed that ‘the recovery’ is stalling. They keep trying the same old remedies but they’re just not working. To them it is unthinkable that we have actually reached the limits to growth. Everything they learned about economics was learned in an unusual period in economic history, a period unlikely to be repeated again.

  3. Speed! Let’s go faster and faster, do everything quicker, much quicker, and fill all our time as productively as possible. WHY?

    So much is missed out on when everything goes fast. The quality of life is so much better as a modest pace. At my mature age I know that when my parents told me that life speeds up as you get older, they weren’t wrong! I am operating my life at a constant sprint, but feel I am going nowhere – except when I relax during my annual holiday everything becomes a whole lot clearer and more pleasant. I am not alone.

    Now, Mr. Hammond not only wants us to get from Birmingham to London at break-neck speed by train, he also wants to increase our motorway speed to 80mph to make us more economically productive. Our climate change target is not being taken seriously is it? Physics says that more speed requires more fuel, more fuel produces more carbon emissions. Our climate is destined for a change for the worse.

    Labour, Liberal-Democrat and Conservative politicians, who are all trying to impress the electorate, need to accept that HS2 is unable to deliver its initial promises. They should cut the losses so far incurred and concentrate on building a healthy economy within our environmental and financial limits. I, for one, would have far more respect for our Government if they admit they are wrong, rather than see them bungling on regardlessly with destructive misconceived projects such as HS2.

    • It’s insane that on the one hand energy and climate change ministers have signed international agreements on co2 reduction and energy conservation, and on the other hand our transport minister wants to burn up more fuel travelling at ever increasing speeds.

      You are right to say that our carbon reduction targets are not being taken seriously. If they were Philip Hammond would be arguing for a reduction in speed limits, not an increase.

      All this talk about journey times and economic growth is just nonsense. Growth has hit the buffers and there’s nothing that governments can do to bring it back. This is unthinkable to politicians and the electorate who have yet to come to terms with the new economic reality. At least Vince Cable warned us that we are facing the economic equivalent of war.

      I agree that we have to learn to live within our environmental and financial limits. Our future economic survival will require reducing the need for transportation by moving producers, workers and consumers closer together – i.e. localisation. The reverse of globalisation.

      HS2 will never be built because in 6 years time, when actual construction work is due to start, people will have realised that the economy is not going to ‘recover’ and come to terms with the fact that the country is really skint. Falling employment and personal income, and falling government tax revenues will give politicians some really ‘hard choices’ and grand infrastructure projects will be a thing of the past. You can’t spend your way out of debt. With all their think tanks and highly cleaver people you might ask why they can’t see this now and stop throwing good money down the drain. I guess they want to perpetuate the illusion.

      This short video sums it up nicely. They’re lying to us.

  4. Just want to say a big thankyou to those who have been fighting the cause at the conferences.I have given to the funds in small amounts and will add a bit more as I hope it will help in a small way to aid those who are on the front line.Let us hope common sense prevails and the majority win the day.If they dont the country will be ‘going to the dogs’ is the expresion Ibelieve.

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