Some recent news items

Financial Times: HS2 chiefs hit out at opponents

The head of the proposed £32.7bn high-speed rail project linking London to the north of England has hit out at opponents questioning its economic case, accusing them of skewing the debate by relying on data designed to assess “a little roundabout scheme”.

Critics have had plenty of ammunition to attack the controversial plan, known as High Speed 2, citing the government’s own value-for-money assessment of the first phase between London and Birmingham as proof that the project should be dropped.


Uxbridge Gazette: HS2 are listening in Harefield

IF YOU stumble across this rather scientific-looking equipment (pictured) in Harefield this week, you might wonder exactly what it is and who put it there. The answer is none other than HS2 Ltd….

“I’ve had to find out for myself what it is, who put it there and what exactly they are recording.

“Residents had asked to be involved so that we could provide useful local knowledge on the suitability of sites selected for testing and provide contextual information to help them interpret the measurements they get.”

Birmingham Post: Judicial review of HS2 high speed rail given go-ahead

A JUDICIAL review into the controversial HS2 high speed rail line through Warwickshire has been given the go-ahead.

The High Court agreed that all five cases by action groups and local authorities – including Coventry City Council and Warwickshire County Council – should be heard.

The decision will see transport secretary Justine Greening called in December to explain errors in the public consultation which saw more than 400 responses mislaid.

Local Legal challenge set for HS2 plans

The timetable has been set for the legal challenges launched against ministers’ plans for a High Speed rail link (HS2) between London and Birmingham.

All five cases against HS2 – including one launched by a coalition of councils, dubbed 51m – will be heard together over a seven-day period in the High Court of Justice.

The hearing at the Queen’s Bench Division in the Administrative Court will commence on December 3.

Buckinghamshire County Council leader, Martin Tett, who chairs the alliance of 15 councils, said: ‘The decision is good not just for the people we represent in 15 local authority areas but for hard pressed taxpayers across the entire country.

Daily Mail: £9bn of rail improvements? We could fund three times that with the cancellation of HS2

Have David Cameron and Nick Clegg put the Coalition back on track with their announcement of a £9billion investment in Britain’s railways?

Well, they could have done, if they hadn’t also committed to spend three times that amount on another rail project called High Speed 2….

They could have improved the rail network for everyone– not just wealthy business people and rich tourists – if they hadn’t, for political reasons, decided to squander £22-32billion on a grand project called HS2, to link London and Birmingham with a train service just twenty minutes faster than the one we have now, with ticket costs to use that service anticipated to be £80-£100 a time.

Views of the World: High Speed 2: Connecting people

While a high speed rail network requires space for the fastest legs of the journey – usually to be found in the countryside – the shorter parts of the line are not without problems either: As the line connects the most populous areas of the countries, it has to go through some densely populated areas as well, which are less visible on the overview maps of the project. The following map therefore takes advantage of the fisheye perspective of a gridded cartogram that shows the proposed HS2 (phase 1) route plotted on an equal population projection map.

7 comments to “Some recent news items”
  1. I know exactly what I mean–

    WCML peak loadings
    MPA amber/red report
    Revised business case incorporating amendments requested by TSC/PAC
    Compensation consultation
    Safeguarding consultation

    I’m sure other people could add to the list

  2. * Christian Wolmar, well known transport writer and broadcaster and long term sceptic concerning HS2, writing in a recent edition of ‘Rail”, commented “the rumours of HS2’s death are greatly exaggerated- but supporters must start to defend the lin’s future with the same vigour as that shown by the anti-Hs2 campaigners.”

    He rather dismisses the four points put forward in the recent “Spectator” article…”while the predictions in the ‘Spectator’ are, as I suggest, political kite flying”, but adds…”they still demonstrate the need for well worked out contingency plans in the industry”, especially with regard to Heathrow. “confusion over the airport… needs to be properly addressed”

    As for the “Daily Wail”, they would seem to have an agenda, and their depiction of the HS plan “to squander 22-32 billion on a grand project…to link London and Birmingham with a train service just twenty minutes faster than the one we have now…” is in its selective simplicity, worthy to be described as “less than a half truth”. It is a revelation only to anyone who has not been following the script -but to anyone else it is but a poor attempt at crude propaganda.

    To gain a true picture of what is intended, from the horse’s mouth, so to speak, I suggest the interview with Prof.Andrew McNaughton ,Chief Engineer for the HS2 project, in the current edition of ‘Rail’, published last Wednesday.

    .Under the heading “HS2-VIPs-very important passengers”, he states “It is people who form the High Speed 2’s greatest challenge…its passengers.” Among the details, he discusses how to arrange for up to a thousand people to to get off and on at the terminal stations, all within a twenty minute turn round time.
    …”this is a new transport system…you’ll never get this capacity out of the existing railway…”

    So- whether you wish to enquire for the detail of his concept, to challenge his conclusions- or just “to know your enemy”(!), then I suggest the interview is well worth reading- certainly more so than that superficial gloss in the ‘Mail’.

    *** And on the matter of the spending of Money, wouldn’t you like to know the identy of the retired senior Treasury civil servant’ who boasted that the one thing in his career for which he was most proud was that he had delayed the building of London’s Crossrail for twenty years, (to give him a suitable reward?
    Any suggestions as to its nature? Regular Tube travellers might suggest something.

    • Many thanks @John Webber for this information – you actually have to buy the magazine in question to read the article. I’ll make a point of visiting the local library to see if they have a copy available.

      Unfortunately most of the debate about HS2 is conducted in a vacuum of public information and general ignorance – in this distorted environment it’s all too easy to propagate misleading information. Campaign groups viscerally opposed to the new line (again for very obvious localised reasons) are not going to make a big song and dance if such activities advance their case by effectively poisoning public opinion.

        • Really – you only have to trawl though the Mail’s usual HS2 narrative to comprehend the chasm in public understanding of this complex issuem which they are only too happy to compound with further layers of misinformation?

            • No @John, what you really mean (but don’t say for obvious reasons) is that you are looking for facts that appear to support your single remorseless goal of sabotaging a new rail line passing through your backyard and if they can’t be procured, you selectively massage them from information already available in the public domain.

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