Bluespace Thinking: An Evaluation of the HS2 Strategic and Economic Cases

Malcolm Griffiths of Bluespace Thinking writes:

The Office of the Rail Regulator has published passenger usage figures up to the end of September 2013. They show that there has been zero growth in long distance rail demand over the last year although GDP growth has been about 3%. Bluespace Thinking predicted this reduction in long distance rail growth in April 2010. HS2 and the DfT continue to put forward a Strategic case and an Economic case in support of HS2 that is fundamentally flawed.

The Bluespace Thinking paper (which can be downloaded from the Bluespace Thinking website) was submitted as evidence to the Transport Select Committee. The TSC Chair has questioned the DfT about one of the key flaws that we have identified, the sudden increase in the assumed number of business passengers. The DfT incorrectly responded that the evidence for this increase came from the National Passenger Survey, the TSC have asked the DfT for a fuller explanation.

2 comments to “Bluespace Thinking: An Evaluation of the HS2 Strategic and Economic Cases”
  1. ORR chief tells Future of Rail conference: Spend wisely on renewing the railways today to ensure long-term safety and sustainability of network

    5 December 2013

    Richard Price, Chief Executive of the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), today gave a keynote speech at the Future of Rail Conference in London. He highlighted that demand for Britain’s railways continues to boom with 8% more trains on the network compared with five years ago. Further growth is predicted over the next five years as passenger numbers are set to rise by another 14% and freight by 22%.

    He spoke about ORR’s work to put passengers at the heart of plans for Britain’s railways over the next five years, improving safety practices and setting tougher targets to improve the day-to-day management of the railways to reduce disruption on the network.

    He said: “Spending the right amount of money, in the right place, at the right time, will reduce delays, bring down costs and secure a safe and sustainable railway now, and for the future.”

    To read the speech in full, visit:

    There is the need to determine what to do as do nothing is not a feasible approach. HS2 is not a viable proposition but some changes to the rail network are required to make journeys better. There is a growth in trains which is leading to train path capacities becoming very limited.

    • There is the need to determine what to do as do nothing is not a feasible approach

      I agree – many thanks for posting a link to this speech, which merely serves to highlight the record sums of investment now committed to the existing classic line network during CP5 (2014-19).

      From the perspective of those who support HS2, these huge spending levels undermine the claims of HS2 opponents who often try to imply HS2 is actively siphoning off funding for the classic network?

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