High Speed Rail 2 moving too fast

Will High Speed Rail 2 yield all the advertised benefits?

Photo credit: Jon Curnow

Photo credit: Jon Curnow

On 25 October 2012, Patrick McLoughlin, Secretary of State for Transport, announced the launch of a Property and Compensation Consultation for Phase 1 of High speed rail network.

The proposed plan formulates the building of a new high-speed railway line between London and the West Midlands. The railway will carry 400m long trains seating around 1,100 passengers. Trains will potentially travel at speeds up to 250mph – faster than any operational train in Europe.

Cities benefiting from the extended anticipated route plans are Manchester and Leeds with stations in the East Midlands and South Yorkshire also planned.

When will it open and how much will it cost?

Construction is set to begin around 2017 once parliament has approved the project. The additional lines to Manchester and Leeds would start being built around 2025 to be opened by 2033.

The project cost is estimated at £32.7bn with estimated benefits valued at £47bn.

What does HS2 mean for passengers?

Travel times between cities will be cut without an increased rail fare. Birmingham-London journey times will fall from 1hr24m to 49m. Manchester-Birmingham and Leeds-Birmingham will fall to 19m and 57m respectively.

What are the arguments against HS2?

More than 70 groups oppose HS2. One of these, StopHS2, disputes that the North and Midlands will lose out to London, rather than benefit, as trade is more easily directed to London. Others argue that it will cut through the picturesque English countryside, and further
increase unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.

How is York impacted?

Travel time from London to York would be cut to 83 minutes, a reduction from the currently quickest journey of approximately 120 minutes.

James Alexander, leader of the Labour-run City of York Council, said the project was key to securing the city’s economic future. “This commitment to the next phase of the HS2 programme means that York is set to realise real economic benefits upon its completion.” “With access to the country’s capital in just 83 minutes, York will become an even greater hub for tourism and business.”

It is worth it?

Richard Westcott, BBC transport correspondent, comments “This project is now at the heart of the government’s growth agenda; in a bid to convince voters that there is an ambitious plan to help rebalance and boost our sickly economy. But there are still plenty of critics who claim the government’s economic case for building a super-fast train line simply doesn’t stack up. And that there are far better ways of spending £33bn to stimulate growth.

One comment

  1. “there are far better ways of spending £33bn to stimulate growth.”

    You can’t say something like that and not mention any of those ways (or at least simply list a couple). Clearly, this isn’t simply for growth, though that is how its success will be measured. It has several other long-term benefits. Now, don’t get me wrong; I do not disagree with what you sain and do understand – maybe even agree – the arguments against the proposal. I just don’t think you can say something that are plenty of of critics or say there are better ways to allocate the money. I realize it may not be in the scope of the paper/article (if not, then maybe the title should be something different), but you should at least briefly state those arguments.

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