Some recent news items on HS2

A  longer selection than normal of HS2 news items, also including some from August in case you missed them.

Daily Mail: Ministers braced for savaging in ‘damning’ HS2 report by Spending watchdogs

Public Accounts Committee’s ‘damning’ verdict on High Speed rail project
Scheme branded ‘ludicrous’ and ‘will not deliver value for the taxpayer’

Ministers are bracing themselves for a savaging by spending watchdogs over the ‘value for money’ of the Government’s controversial flagship High Speed rail project.

Parliament’s powerful Public Accounts Committee chaired by Labour MP Margaret Hodge is set early next week to deliver its own ‘damning’ verdict on official plans and costings for 225mph HS2 line linking London to the Midlands and the North.

Daily Mail: Now the Treasury warns on HS2 costs and says high-speed rail link could be scrapped if price continues to rise

The High Speed Rail project could still be scrapped if costs continue to soar, the Treasury’s top civil servant has warned.

The government has not signed a ‘blank cheque’ for the railway line linking the capital to the Midlands and North, Nick Macpherson, the permanent secretary at the Treasury told MPs.

Institute of Directors IoD calls on government to abandon HS2 project

The Institute of Directors calls on the Government to abandon the high-speed rail project after its members say the scheme is “not worth the money”.

Members of the Institute of Directors have given the thumbs down to government plans for HS2 with IoD Director General Simon Walker slamming the scheme as “a grand folly”.

Spectator: Ed Balls: ‘There is no blank cheque for HS2′

Here is the transcript of what he said:

‘We have consistently supported plans for a new north-south rail link, but it’s got to work, it has got to be value for money. As Alistair said today, the government’s approach to this has been completely chaotic. He’s drawn one conclusion… I think the best way for me to say that to you Carol is there’s no blank cheque from a Labour treasury for HS2, it’s got to be value for money.

Telegraph: Kill HS2 say Tory activists

Conservative Grassroots, representing dozens of Tory association chairmen, believes the proposed high-speed train link between London and the North is a “hugely expensive white elephant” that will result in the “destruction of the countryside”.

Standard: £50 billion HS2 fund would be better spent on improving railways, says Tony Travers

A leading London academic has claimed that the estimated £50 billion fund for the high-speed rail link from London to the North of England will not provide value for money for taxpayers.

Tony Travers, an expert in Government and advisor to the mayor, said the public cash for HS2 would be better spent on improving the railways and other transport projects.

Daily Mail: The HS2 rail link IS going happen says George Osborne

George Osborne vowed yesterday that the controversial High Speed 2 rail project will go ahead despite fears over soaring costs.

The Chancellor said he was ‘passionate’ about the planned high-speed rail line which will link London to the North of England and West Midlands.

Mail on Sunday: Train bosses’ own research reveals the REAL impact of HS2 link that will affect 500,000 people and blight villages 25 miles away

Information obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveals HS2 will blight the lives of more than 500,000 unsuspecting people along a 40-mile-wide corridor through the heart of Middle England.

According to HS2’s own information, during the seven-year construction phase, huge convoys of trucks will rumble through dozens of peaceful towns and villages far from the line itself, bringing chaos and congestion in their wake.

Mail on Sunday Comment: Halt HS2 monstrosity in its tracks

Government Ministers will always be predisposed to multi-billion-pound vanity projects that offer a tangible achievement for which they can claim the credit. HS2 is no different. That is why its only real supporters sit on the front benches of the three main political parties.

It is only the politicians (and the contractors) who extol the dubious economic benefits of spending £50 billion to shave five minutes off the rail journey between London and Birmingham; the politicians who have wilfully ignored the concerns  of the majority who are opposed to this ludicrous plan.

Daily Mail: HS2 link ‘could cost families £3,000 and denies economic logic’

The controversial new high-speed rail line will cost every household £3,000 and ‘defies economic logic’, an independent report has warned.

Senior Tories were braced for a revolt against HS2 after a study found its price tag had soared to £80billion, double the official estimate.

The report, released today, increased the pressure on David Cameron to abandon the scheme.

Mail: Cost of HS2 rail line could balloon by 70% to £73BILLION say Treasury sceptics

The cost of the controversial High Speed 2 rail line could reach £73billion, senior Treasury officials have warned ministers.

In a sign of the growing opposition to the project within parts of the Treasury, officials have stopped using the latest £42.6billion estimate in favour of the higher figure.

Some believe the cost of the flagship project is out of control and are warning that it cannot be justified.

Telegraph: Tory peer Lord Ashcroft calls on David Cameron to ‘scrap’ HS2

Lord Ashcroft, a former party donor and an influential figure in the Conservatives, said that Mr Cameron “must scrap HS2 and scrap it now”.

His intervention came after Alistair Darling, the former Labour chancellor and transport secretary, warned that the UK’s rail network could “fall apart” because of the spiralling cost of High Speed 2.

BBC: Newspaper review: HS2 rethink for Darling

Former Labour Chancellor and Transport Secretary Alistair Darling has written an article for the Times in which he reveals he is now against the proposed HS2 high-speed rail link.

PR week: Google cedes ministerial hobbyhorse status to HS2

Google is so last year, according to an analysis of the companies and projects most frequently mentioned in ministers’ speeches.

Telepraph: High Speed Rail 2 could remain on critical list for some time, says David Pitchford

David Pitchford, the head of the Major Projects Authority, said the HS2 scheme is likely to remain an “Amber/Red” scheme because of the uncertainty around it.

The Authority was formally set up in 2010 with a mandate from David Cameron to turn around the Civil Service’s record of delivering projects.

Daily Express: Let’s get rid of potholes

A POTHOLE crusader has called on the Government to ditch expensive “vanity projects” like the High Speed 2 rail link and commit £40billion to repairing Britain’s crumbling roads.

We are Barnsley: HS2 Officials Apologise After Misleading Information

HS2 OFFICIALS have apologised for the ‘inevitable concern’ caused after misleading information was sent out.

Proposals for the preferred phase two route of the high-speed rail link were announced in January, extending the network north from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds, passing through parts of Barnsley.

Express and Star: HS2 in shock snub by Legal & General

Financial giant Legal & General, which controls £441bn of investments, is looking to plough £15bn into UK infrastructure projects.

But its chief executive has ruled out financing the controversial high speed rail speed project because it offers ‘little economic benefit’.

The comments were today welcomed by Staffordshire anti-HS2 campaigner Trevor Forrester who claimed it showed support for HS2 was dwindling.

Camden New Journal: Rail pioneer Robert Stephenson’s “last surviving masterpiece” faces axe in HS2 plan

HS2 bosses have announced plans to demolish what is believed to be the “last surviving trace of a civil engineering masterpiece” by the railway pioneer Robert Stephenson.

An original 1833 wall and below-ground brickwork arch in the “Camden Cutting” – where the train tracks come out at Parkway en route to Euston – is believed to be part of a feat of engineering considered at the time to be “on a par with the Pyramids”.

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4 comments to “Some recent news items on HS2”
  1. In today’s ST Mr McLoughlin says

    The Conservative begins with a startling admission. Ministers were “wrong” to try to sell HS2 to a sceptical public on the basis of its speed and shorter journey times. He goes further, describing the 20-minute reduction on a journey between London and Birmingham on HS2 as “almost irrelevant”.

    I am speechless!!!

    • Should we believe any they say in this tissue of fibs and PR .
      Westbourne Communications were the ones who highlighted the capacity campaign…..not ministers or civil servants or HS2 ltd. Their design was all for speed but the CHilterns and ‘Nimby’ protest was offset by the capacity concept*

      MOREOVER THE WHOLE ROUTE LONDON – BIRMINGHAM. had to be straight for massive and expensive very high speed. This was the argument for the route and why the Chilterns AONB and other special sites had to be sacrificed and open for future development as it is now blighted.

      If speed is no longer the reason revise the route and follow motorways (if the HS2 is necessary at all).
      I think we smell a rat. Surely this is about a land grab and public money to cronies!

      HS2 started as a political ploy and has become very dirty politics.

    • I agree John, Mr McLoughlin’s comments are unbelievable. Yet even though he states that the government case has been based on journey time savings that he thinks are irrelevant, he still seems to think it is worth going ahead with HS2. Once you get rid of these (over-inflated) time saving benefits the overall benefit is tiny in comparison to the cost.

      It makes you wonder what the new Benefit Cost Ratio figures that HS2 Ltd will publish in October will be based on. They can hardly be based on the time savings now that Mr McLoughlin has declared them irrelevant.

      Mind you, I suspect that in HS2 Ltd’s offices there are a lot of people who now have as low an opinion of Mr McLoughlin as any anti-HS2 campaigner.

  2. hs2 does not inspire commuters who want regular local and regional services to cities and back. Double deckers are required even for some of London tube lines but not planned. Excuses in the face
    of obvious realities. Freight can benefit from larger loading gauges. With the UK rail population densities on a few links to destinations beyond the limits for single level trains the UK misplanned the solution
    and move on. You did not solve the daily rail problem.

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