Stop HS2 response to McLoughlin speech

Stop HS2 response to McLoughlin speech.

Today at Conservative Party Conference, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin claimed that HS2 was essential and that he would ensure it comes in on time and on budget.

In response, Stop HS2 Campaign Manager, Joe Rukin said:

“No-one is buying the idea that HS2 will come in on time or on budget, not even the new Chair of HS2 Ltd, David Higgins, who said he isn’t sure it will. On top of that, the official cost of the project went up by £10bn this summer and there is a bill before Parliament asking for an unknown amount of money just to be spent on design. That’s because the consultants, who recently signed an open letter saying they wouldn’t go over-budget, were already over-budget on design work back in January. Even here in Manchester, the City Council recently publicised what they want to do to Piccadilly Station for HS2, which proudly said  would ‘cost billions’ but they they hadn’t got a budget.. Where is that coming from?” 

“David Cameron has said that cancelling HS2 will be ‘Betraying the North’, but he is betraying the North by promoting a project which will clearly suck more economic activity to London. That is why, after the name ‘HS2’ has become too toxic, that they are calling it a North-South railway, because it’s about getting from the North to the South. Many of the delegates to the Tory Conference will have come up on Cross Country Voyager Train, one of the worst excuses for a train there is on the network with 4 carriages leaving so many people standing, even on weekends, as I was. Try telling those passengers, who will get nothing from HS2 that longer trains are not  needed to alleviate capacity constraints, when so many passengers are facing crush-hour conditions at the moment”

“Whenever there is any criticism of HS2 not, the Government put their fingers in their ears. They have now been there so long now that it seems they must be touching in the middle!”

Stop HS2 chair, Penny Gaines said

“It’s easy to say the words on time and on budget, but it’s much harder to put them into practice.  If the government were at all confident in the ability of HS2 Ltd to build this railway, they would not be putting through the HS2 Paving Bill, which gives a blank cheque book to HS2.

“But whatever happens, the incoming chair of HS2 is already planning his exit strategy.  He has said he doesn’t expect to stay in the role for more than two years, and that he doesn’t know if the existing budget is realistic.  However as he is the fourth chair of HS2 Ltd since 2009, he is just copying his predecessors by planning his escape, with enough time to dump any problems on his successor.

“The big question is not whether HS2 can be built to any arbitrary budget or by any specific date.  The big question is whether HS2 is the right thing to build – and the evidence is that it is not.  We call on the Conservative ministers to step back and look closely at HS2, and then cancel it.”

6 comments to “Stop HS2 response to McLoughlin speech”
  1. HS2 the “heart bypass to our transport network” more like the heart attack waiting to happen. Why do the pro HS2 supporters insist it will benefit the country! Only very few people, mainly business men, will use the route. For the everyday traveller the current networks will be cheaper, slower maybe, by only 20 – 30 minutes.

    Currently business’s insist that their employees save money by travelling as cheaply as possible and given a choice they will instruct their workers to leave earlier and save money as the current networks will always be cheaper than the “white elephant”. In these days of austerity for most businesses the savings made by cheap travel have a major effect on profit and loss, the government must be deluded if it thinks that once out of recession the floodgates will open with employers giving their workforce an open chequebook for travel expense! Think again before we have a ghost train running from London to Birmingham!

  2. Once the construction carving and caving has started, what happens when the £42.6 billion is all spent and HS2 is incomplete; if costs rise beyond the Government’s expectation?
    Does the project stop with the job half done?
    Will a new project with a new name and a further massive budget continue the job, using more of our taxes to keep it going infinitum?

    HS2 must not be constructed at any price, based on cloudy assumptions that cannot be clearly explained and modelled to prove its worth – under, on or over budget!

    • Gloria, to answer your question, members of the team fronting HS2 fronted a little scheme in Edinburgh a few years ago for an Edinburgh tram. It was supposed to run from the Airport to Leith. It was supposed to cost £330m. In the end, it has been an unmitigated disaster for Edinburgh and the Councils budget. They are still trying to sort it out now, 4 years past the date it was supposed to be finished.

      In the end it has cost £1 bn (x3 of the original cost) to finish the project and that was taking into account several major budget cuts on where the line was going to run and now doesnt. The people involved jump ship or were given handsome pay offs.

      These people are Locust.

      HS1 promised the world and look at how successful its been. Financially bankrupt, overly expensive to maintain, heavily subsidised by the taxpayer, most trains empty because the passenger predictions are woefully over estimated and 3 times over budget to construct. To cap it all, they have cut or slowed local and regional services to encourage more people to switch……………but the Kent people cant afford it and are now “modal switching” onto buses……………its not progress, its hands in the cookie jar! HS2 will be the same!

  3. The Guardian reports that McLouglin says it would be a disaster if HS2 did not go ahead. This shows real promise, all he has got to do is omit one word from that statement and it would be the most accurate thing a politician has said for a long time. The word he needs to leave out of that statement is, of course, NOT.

  4. HS2 is a flawed project which will not deliver the benefits the government claims. Only a 50% in increase in capacity on the East Coast and 50% increase on the West Coast will be achieved and The Chiltern Route between London and Birmingham is not logical as the government has rightly scrapped the spur to Heathrow.

    A direct service, from the Midlands and The North to the continent, is not a viable or attractive option. Living in Yorkshire and want to go to Paris? The train will travel from Leeds to Birmingham (actually the wrong direction) pass Aylesbury, Hillingdon, Ruislip to Acton and then through a Victorian Tunnel around north London to Stratford etc – a one hour flight from Leeds- Bradford will always be a better option – so much for reducing carbon emissions!

    Why destroy over four hundred homes in Euston, why have years of disruption at the station, operating at capacity at busy times, and why damage the environment in Camden whilst building the London Terminal of HS2 when there is a simple (probably more cost effective) alternative at Tottenham Court Road.

    The £1bn new CROSSRAIL station, four storeys below ground, will offer direct services to Heathrow (28 minutes) and to Paddington, The City, Liverpool Street and Canary Wharf as well as connections to the Central & Northern Lines.
    Six terminus platforms and two ‘through’ platforms – enabling trains to operate to Clapham Junction and the south of England – is the future.
    From those platforms FOUR tracks, in tunnels for eight miles beneath NORTH LONDON, following existing transport corridors to the north, follow the M1 where at J19 the tracks diverge.
    One route follows the M6 to Birmingham and on to Manchester. The other route continues following the M1, serving East Midlands Parkway, to Leeds.

    Using 140mph Tilting trains this route design enables 24 trains per hour to operate – 12 on each route. HS2 only permits 12 per hour between London & Birmingham and only after the line diverges north of Birmingham will a 100% capacity increase be achieved.

    HS2 is not value for money and will mean by 2030 government will have to re-visit capacity issues to the north.
    and spend more billions!

    The alternative route (East & West Coast 2) allows for the construction of a link from Hertfordshire, via Stansted Airport, to Kent and HS1 for the Channel Tunnel.

    Government might like to consider the following:- a 100 mile journey at 225mph (HS2) = 34 minutes. At 140mph (East & West Coast 2) = 44 minutes.

    Besides failing to deliver benefits HS2 requires ‘straight’ tracks for speeds of 225mph – the suggested alternative allows the tracks to follow physical features and avoid built-up areas making construction costs far less!

    Time to reconsider the route to the North?

    Mike Rawson

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