Stop HS2 submission to the APPGHSR inquiry

Last month, we reported on the All Party Parliamentary Group for High Speed Rail inquiry into the future capacity requirements of Britain’s railways.

You can download our submission here. The submission deadline was Tuesday.

In the submission, we discussed the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) inquiry into “Increasing Passenger Rail Capacity”. In it, they had concerns about the DfT’s knowledge of existing rail usage (the PAC called it “inadequate” and “sketchy“) and they concluded there was “little external challenge to its [the railway industry] vested interest in its own growth“.

We looked at alternative ways to deal with capacity issues. These included increased use of smart ticketing (we note that Justine Greening told the House of Commons last week that she intends to extend smart schemes ticketing to reflect “working practices today and the fact that people work flexibly and part-time” in the 21st century).

We also discussed remote working, including the Department for Transport’s ‘Anywhere Working’ initiative, which is funded by a business consortium including Microsoft, Regus, Vodafone UK, Nuffield and Nokia.

We discussed the difficulty of transport forecasting.

We noted the opportunity costs of building transport infrastructure. We looked at the disruption it can cause: HS2 Ltd say that they will take 7-8 years to rebuild Euston for HS2 platforms, and there will be disruption to the roads etc that HS2 will cross.

There are two ways of looking at railway capacity, as the Transport Select Committee reported last year. One is to build more and more railways, copying Victorian view of the world.

The other is to look forward into the 21st century, and new ways of using new digital technology to communicate.

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