Why the arguments for HS2 don’t stack up

The Government repeatedly tries to argue the case for HS2 using the same defeated arguments. So here is what we’ve written about them in the past.


We’ve had a number of articles about the forecasts of passenger numbers;

The Department for Transport claims the West Coast Main Line will run out of capacity in 2024 – at least two years before even Phase 1 of HS2 is in operation.  So what will happen in the between 2024 and 2026?  See  Not a Done Deal – Theresa Villier’s speech at Lobby 

Also  Capacity, again and WCML data still confidential – but 51M alternative meets capacity needs

Victorian Vision

Supporters of HS2 want to be Victorians, but complain about Victorian infrastructure:

Justine Greening, Victorians versus Today

“The thing is, the Victorians didn’t look back and copy what was going on more than a century earlier, in the 1700s. They looked at what was new in Victorian times, and that was trains – then.”

Also  LibDem Conference – Nick Clegg wants to be Victorian and Victorian railways and HS2

From Beleben, on whether it is actually Victorian infrastructure: Pesky Victorian overhead wires

The opportunity cost of HS2

Opportunity Costs Prof Henry Overman about are there better things to spend £33 billion?

“The New Economics Foundation looked at what they thought were the Government’s objectives in building HS2, and found that the £33 billion earmarked for HS2 would be better spent elsewhere.”


Alternatives Leaflet [PDF, 2011]

3 comments to “Why the arguments for HS2 don’t stack up”
  1. Caller to lbc phone in said he had heard that a passengers for hs2 would have to check in 30 mins before train departure
    Does anyone know anymore please?

  2. Alternatives would have been properly assessed within the SEA phase.
    Lord Justice Ouseley identified in court the opportunities normal available for petitioners or counter scheme proposers to engage but HS2 and DFT did not have this as an external phase only a ‘have you got an obvious interest’ in 2010/2011 but which time the Route 3 was a commitment for phase 1 with all its limitations and evolving detriments. The lack of the open opportunity for all to consider the problem and then develop some alternatives such as a more East Coast enhancement, a Middle Mainline enhancement and a West Coast Mainline enhancement would have brought forward the possibilities to compare rigourously. The CEO explained at the Stoke Mandeville roadshow that she or they were concerned about the property blight value reductions being across counties and not on a corridor. In this case Route 3 rural Buckinghamshire Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. This is a contestable matter. All options should be reconsidered including the ECML aligned approach.
    A question still is what problem, or problems is/are the Government Network Rail TOCS and any new organisation to solve. The debate is now becoming mature on the different Forum and in the media and between communities. The Government appears to be aligned with anything is better than nothing and HS2 Route 3 is advanced. The public are aligned with this is a significant expense and does not advance the local essential requirements in the community and the county or England.

  3. Today on Any Answers ( in response to a very partial any questions and indeed any answers) there was a caller who stated that next week a web site will be operational detailing an alternative proposal to HS2. This has been mapped.
    Lower speed, can avoid sensitve areas apparently and has ? 13 links to rail network between London and Birmingham.
    More-over the scheme is a new line and connects up with infrastructure.
    The BBC did not give him much time to talk……….
    any ideas who where and what this represents.
    Appears to be an HS2 competitor……………

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