The figures for HS2

I voted against HS2 and lost heavily. Parliament has decided it wants this project, and the government is now pressing ahead. It needs, however, to be aware of the need to control costs vigorously and to think again about how to raise revenue from the line when built.

The forecasts rests heavily on the assumption of dramatic demand growth for London to Birmingham travel in the years ahead. When the new line is available they will have train paths for 18 trains an hour carrying up to 1000 people on each. Their estimates think that by 2037 there will be an additional 290,000 extra trips.

HS1 forecasts were similarly elevated when the decision was made to build it, but the outturn was well below forecast. The consultants expected 20-28 million passengers by 2010. The actual was only 9.5m. As a result HS1 fell miles short of the use and revenue they were expecting.

HS2 forecasts assume that they will charge the same fares as the competitor lines that remain in place, and that the fares charged will be higher in real terms than today. It is difficult to see why this should be the case. With such a huge increase in capacity becoming available it is likely the existing train operators will have to cut their ticket prices to try to hold on to business. This will mean lower revenues than expected on HS2. If the government and Regulator step in to keep the fares up it will be difficult to attract extra passengers needed to try to fill some of the large increase in capacity.

HS1 was hit by aggressive fare competition from the established ferry companies. HS2 assumes easy pickings from air and road competition. Maybe these will not materialise as planned. The operators could cut their prices.

However you look at it, this project can only limit the losses it will incur for the taxpayer if there is very strong cost discipline, and realism about how many trains can be run on these new lines. It would be good to hear more from the operators about why they think there will be such a surge in Birmingham/London train travel and how they will promote this.


  1. formula57
    July 31, 2017

    Is undertaking this H2S foolery an example of what is meant by “strong and stable government”?

    1. Mark B
      July 31, 2017

      No ! That’s what you are seeing now !

      Ironic isn’t it ?

    2. Lifelogic
      July 31, 2017

      We are surely either governed by innumerate, unscientific, economic illiterates or it is a sign rent seeking corruption by well connected vested interests, what other explantion is there? Do any of the large beneficiaries of HS2 donate significantly to the Conservative party perhaps or employ MPs as consultants?

      What other explantions is there for all the green crap “renewable” subsidies or for Hinkley C or for the endless farming subsides and tax breaks?

      1. Lifelogic
        July 31, 2017

        Lost very heavily indeed 399 votes to 44, almost as bad as the absurdly costly and misguided climate change act. What is it about MPs that makes them suffer from this insane group think, nearly always in totally the wrong direction, on all these types of issues.

        Something about the sort of people who aspire to be MPs perhaps. They simply have no grasp of logic, reason, maths, economics, science, reality or engineering. Just dopey, greencrap dreamers. Either that or they have fallen for the paid lobbyists – or like the “consultantancy” fees some earn perhaps.

    3. Chris S
      July 31, 2017

      No ! HS2 was a Labour plan introduced by Adonis.

      The Coalition was foolish enough to continue with it despite the sky-rocketing costs.
      I suspect the LibDems were largely responsible for that. By 2015 too much money had been spent so cancelling would probably not have been a realistic option.

      All these projects cost more than can be economically justified so Governments need to be doubly sure they are really needed. The channel tunnel was a project that was worthwhile going forward with but the HS1 line wasn’t : it simply doesn’t save enough time to justify its vast cost.

      HS2 could only be justified on capacity grounds but that could be increased much more cheaply by other means such as improved signalling as we have discussed here before.

      The Conservative’s biggest mistake was putting Adonis in charge of the whole country’s infrastructure planning, despite him being responsible for saddling us with HS2 !

    4. Hope
      July 31, 2017

      JR, we had the budget in 2012 where no one with the basic numeracy skills could do as badly as Osborne. The two posh school boys were too excite about flying in the US president’s plane that they could not be bothered to check their figures even though the U.K. Economy was in a perilous state. Like their hero the creature Blaire, they thought they could spin a narrative that was different from reality. This has been true with all things EU for over forty years, why not extend. Osborne publicly made statement the deficit would be eliminated by 2015 and publicly ridiculed abacus Brown about his time as eckless sums of taxpayers’ money wasted when the deficit has still not been eliminated shows the need for radical overhaul of half wits in parliament. Overseas aid anothe elephant in the room. Public services are in a dire mess, NHS cannot cope, police cannot cope, fire brigade cannot cope, building on every inch of land we have, energy policy a complete mess. Yet the half wits still think we can waste over £80 billion on one railway journey for an EU infrastructure project. The U.K. Is leaving the EU and does not have to defer or capitulate to these unelected dictators any more. A change of mind set is required. However with EU fanatic Odonis at the helm this is very unlikely, perhaps this fits with his Nattzi type comments in wishing the U.K. Would not leave. Get rid of politicians and former politicians from these public sector jobs and quangos. They do not have a clue. They did not have a clue in office so it should be easy to work out they are not fit to run such projects.

      A clue: thousands of commuters sit on the floor or stand in isles because the current railway system cannot cope with mass immigration. One railway journey will not solve it. Even Corbyn was trying to tell us about over crowding on trains!

    5. NickC
      July 31, 2017

      Formula57, No it’s an example of corporatism, and government-knows-best bureaucratic irresponsibility. It’s on the same level as Hammond giving us fake Brexit and Gove smashing our whole road transport system. But much cheaper.

  2. Leslie Singleton
    July 31, 2017

    Dear John–It remains absurd, First, that HS2 is not being connected to HS1, which was and obviously should remain the whole point (Manchester, and North, to Milan, Madrid, Marseilles), Secondly, that the London Station (no need for a terminus) should be in central London at all (as if there are going to be hordes of Londoners walking there and in any event just as easy for most people to get to a junction at something like Watford–similar to Airports’ not being in the centre of Cities, indeed far from them–going in to London to go out again is daft in itself), Thirdly, that the Grand Central Trackbed (with its route already in place in to London and its European gauging of bridges and tunnels) should not be included in the plans, Fourthly, that so much is being wagered on hordes of businessmen clutching briefcases going to Birmingham (which in any event is only a hop, skip and a jump away), Fourthly, that now is hardly the time to waste money–Our Debt should be being reduced not gratuitously added to by vanity nonsense like this.

  3. Nig l
    July 31, 2017

    Current HMG budget £55 billion but did not contest when an FOI showed already a £6 billion cost overrun with the NAO saying that even this did not include all necessary costs to complete and now a well informed piece in the Times says it is now at £100 billion so you have lost the cost arguement. Apparently consultancy costs are umpteen times more than they would be in a similar project in Europe.

    Useage numbers were plucked out of the air to ‘make it work’.

    Forget what the operators are going to do, you talked about investment recently. Tell us tax payers who look like getting hit by Hammond again in the autumn, when we will get pay back and on the basis that both the people in government and opposition are incompetent who we can vote for in the future ?

  4. Lifelogic
    July 31, 2017

    You say “It would be good to hear more from the operators about why they think there will be such a surge in Birmingham/London train travel and how they will promote this.”

    I recently went from Marylebone to Birmingham by train in the middle of the day. The train was empty and cost only about £5 single. So where is the demand? It also had excellent wifi, phone coverate and tables so I was able to work and really did not care at all that it was slightly slower at all.

    The operators don’t really think this they are just saying it to make the project go ahead. It is an insane waste of money by the innumerate Hammond and May.

    Perhaps the most depressing thing I read in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday was that only 7% of university academics voted Conservative in the last general election. One assumes that teachers, BBC staff, most of the state sector and other similar groups were all about the same.

    True May was a daft, tedious, robotic, lefty who actually published a punishment manifesto. True Hammond tried to mug the self employed just before the election. But the only choice was her or Corbyn (+ the SNP) and his “let’s be Venezuela & look at my rubber cheques and fake promises agenda.

    What is wrong with academics that contrary to all logic, history, science, sound economics and evidence they are so foolish as to fall Corbyn? Our schools, universities and the BBC seem to be hot beds of econoically illiterate lefty loons, scientifically illiterate climate alarmists and EU “believers”. Doubless all indoctrinating even more dopes into these misguided view every day.

  5. Leslie Singleton
    July 31, 2017

    Dear John–I now read that Hammond is promising or has promised not to reduce taxes and that we are to remain (which word describes him through and through) broadly comparable, I think he said. with Europe. Weak or not weak Mrs May should dispense with the services of this creep forthwith.

    1. eeyore
      July 31, 2017

      Collusion between governments to manipulate tax rates against the interests of their citizens is an outrage. I cannot possibly accept or support Mr Hammond’s statement as reported.

      As for HS2, a government which includes this Chancellor must be capable of any absurdity.

    2. Lifelogic
      July 31, 2017

      Indeed an appalling man who nearly helped to turn the UK into Corbyn’s version of Venezuella with his attempted self employed NI muggings, his pensioner muggings, his 15% stamp duty, his £1million IHT threashold ratting, his landlord & tenant muggings and his general tax borrow and piss down the drain/back door remainer agenda.

      Just go man, take a long holiday in Singapore or Hong Kong and see how to run an efficient, pro growth economy properly. One with a sensibly sized state sector and some sensible levels of taxation. Take May, Rudd, Soubry, Grieg Clark, Greening, Claire Perry and the rest of the daft tory, remainer socialists with you please.

    3. MPC
      July 31, 2017

      Hang on, intemperate language doesn’t help. There’s a distinction between what ministers say and what is reported. Mr Hammond has confirmed on TV that we will leave the single market and customs union in March 2019. He’s talked in general terms about a Brexit for jobs and a need for some sort of transition (not far off the sort of things Daniel Hannan says). He hasn’t said free movement will continue (at least I haven’t heard him say that) – that’s a media interpretation. He’s said there are ‘no plans’ to reduce taxes, so that’s not a ‘promise’.

      I think we should be more cross with the media, the BBC in particular. On Today this morning John Humphries was talking with the Health Secretary about splits in the cabinet and the effect that’s having on Brussels when it’s the BBC which is gleefully reporting splits on the basis largely of speculation which it is publicising!

    4. Roy Grainger
      July 31, 2017

      When you look at the brutal way May dismissed Osborne and compare it to the license Hammond is given to make Remainer announcements to the media without cabinet approval you can only conclude the difference in approach is because May agrees with Hammond.

      On tax, if the Tories attempt to compete with Labour on tax and spend there is only one winner.

    5. A different Simon
      July 31, 2017

      Apparently a lot of MP’s respect Phillip H for his prowess with a spreadsheet .

      Maybe they think using a proprietary spreadsheet is what makes someone a “Project Manager” .

      Goodness knows what they thought happened before spreadsheets .

      Hammond should take his head out of his models and reacquaint himself with the real world .

      I expect a vast number of MP’s are voting for HS2 because they have purchased land and houses where they believe the stations to be in the expectation of increases in economic rental value of the location .

      This is the Conservative parties view of capitalism ; socialise the costs of building , privatise the profits and provide subsidies to the operators to ensure the maximum amount of benefit is capitalised into land prices .

      It’s actually crony capitalism , an anathema to real capitalism .

      1. Leslie Singleton
        July 31, 2017

        Dear Simon–Spreadsheets do not do a thing in themselves–Literally all they do is allow a lot of the otherwise tedious arithmetic relating to various ‘What if’ assumptions to be done easily–The assumptions that get fed in to them are man made.

    6. Denis Cooper
      July 31, 2017

      Agreed, he should go. Nobody in government was talking about the UK becoming a tax haven until he raised it as a possibility, and the opposition’s fuss about “a race to the bottom” has largely stemmed from what he said then. Now he says the exact opposite, that our tax system will continue as if we were still in the EU, just as our immigration system will continue as if we were still in the EU. He is obviously not committed to Brexit, on the contrary it is clear that he is committed to disrupting and if possible preventing Brexit. Not only is he contemptuous of our democracy he is also prepared to damage our country to try to get his way; he is a traitor to our nation and there should be no place for him in our government.

      1. Leslie Singleton
        July 31, 2017

        Dear Denis–I hesitate to jump on a bandwagon but best I remember the first (in fact immediate) and loudest to say it was (and unfortunately remains) “absurd” (precisely his word) to position May and Hammond as 1 and 2 was Jacob Rees-Mogg. But it gets worse in that instead of his view prevailing we now have Rudd apparently vying for 3. Unfortunately because he (and worse Cameron before him) are Old Etonians he is up against it. Apart from Nigel Farage I cannot think of many others who have never said a word I disagree with.

        1. ian wragg
          July 31, 2017

          Leslie, I don’t think Nigel is done yet, if the government starts to backslide over Brexit then he will be back with a vengeance.
          Aaron Banks is ready to bankroll him.

          1. Leslie Singleton
            July 31, 2017

            Dear Ian–Very much agreed–But even Nigel Farage needs a forum and that can only be a By-election–If one comes along perhaps this time his Tory opponent will have to play by the Rules

        2. Anonymous
          July 31, 2017

          Leslie – The People voted for Brexit and we got Remainers in charge. Do you not think this was deliberate ?

          1. Leslie Singleton
            July 31, 2017

            Dear Anon–Deliberate on whose part?–That we ought to have grasped the nettle with both hands is very clear to me–Instead we seem to have done the opposite

    7. Mitchel
      July 31, 2017

      Is it an attempted soft coup by Hammond,Rudd,etc?Perhaps Mrs May will continue on her long walk from the Alps to oblivion without looking back -not a squeak so far!

    8. Denis Cooper
      July 31, 2017

      We know that Theresa May is on holiday but I wonder whether the Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood is also on holiday, or whether he too just lacks the authority or perhaps even the motivation to remind ministers of the principle of collective Cabinet responsibility which is central to the smooth running of Cabinet government. With Michael Gove falsely claiming that he has agreed Cabinet support for two of his plans and Philip Hammond falsely claiming that he has agreed Cabinet support for his ideas these people are not only weakening our position in negotiations with the EU but are turning our country into a laughing stock around the world.

    9. Oggy
      July 31, 2017

      I totally agree Leslie. I cannot understand why Mrs May is not reigning this chap in. Because of Hammond’s recent unilateral declarations on ‘behalf’ of all the cabinet he is undermining them, undermining Brexit and EU negotiations and undermining Mrs May’s leadership. She needs to get a grip and get rid of this devious individual immediately before he does any further damage.

      1. Anonymous
        July 31, 2017

        It’s all part of the plan. A PM apparently committed to Brexit but she appoints a team which isn’t.

        According to Labour it’s OK for some groups to smash the place up but not for others.

        1. Anonymous
          July 31, 2017

          Those who support Brexit have been the models of patience and good citizenship – not the mob that Remainers claim them to be.

          1. rose
            July 31, 2017

            Hear, hear.

            How odd that David Jones should be sacked for making a witty quotation which exactly described the situation we are in, while Hammond and Mrs Rudd remain in place while openly betraying the country.

            Mrs May needs to dispense with them now, before they do any more damage, and the others who are acting with them.

        2. Turboterrier.
          July 31, 2017

          @ Anonymous

          A PM apparently committed to Brexit but she appoints a team which isn’t.

          Well slap my thigh who would have ever noticed that was going on?

          It’s all part of a cunning plan to ignore the voice of the people.

    10. Turboterrier.
      July 31, 2017

      Dear Leslie, They are all playing the power game try to place them in a good position for the final charge for the leadership when Mother Teresa goes off into the political sunset . They are not worth a rub any of them. They could all answer to the nickname Kipper, Two faced and gutless. Mother ought to get her children in a row and give them the choice to walk before they are pushed. Too much talking not enough listening and too many hidden agendas. The damage they are doing to this country internationally does not bare thinking about.

    11. A.Sedgwick
      July 31, 2017

      Agreed, the fact that Eire and Luxembourg are corporate tax havens is conveniently ignored.

  6. alan jutson
    July 31, 2017

    You may well get people living at a lower cost in Birmingham and beyond commuting to London with its high wages, but why do the planners of this route think people will travel the other way, from a high living cost area to a lower wage area, other than to return home.

    Afraid HS2 will be yet another pull from the regions towards London.

    The money would have been better spent upgrading hundreds of existing routes throughout the UK, where known usage is congested and inefficient.

    Yet another vanity project that will cost Billions more than planned.

    1. Lifelogic
      July 31, 2017

      Patently a complete waste of money.

      Perhaps spreadsheet Phil has just not look at the numbers or his is incompetent no other explanation unless it is corruption from powerful well connected rent seekers perhaps.

      You do not need a spreadsheet just an envelope, a pencil and about 5 minutes to see it is bonkers.

    2. bigneil
      July 31, 2017

      “Yet another vanity project that will cost Billions more than planned ” – Shoudn’t that be – billions more than – told to the public.

    3. Hope
      July 31, 2017

      The govt will not even publish all reports on the project, will not change the conflict of interest in contracts, or try to justify the vast waste of our taxes. It is a mindset in govt and civil service to defer or capitulate on all matters EU.

      But the govt claims it cannot afford elderly care or to provide university education for our children! The govt can also waste vast sums of our taxes on overseas aid for every despot in the world. Billions on consultants, billions of overseas aid given to the EU to spend as it wishes with no input from anyone in this country! In addition to our regular EU contributions.

  7. Bryan Harris
    July 31, 2017

    Good points.

    Unless there are very good reasons to go up north from London then yes, one can only agree, the return to the taxpayer will be minimal at best for HS2.

    Now, if the government were to combine HS2 with brand new super duper innovative technology parks and brand new housing in otherwise undevelopped areas close to HS2, then it might make sense – are there any such plans though?


    1. Mark B
      July 31, 2017

      Cheaper and bigger houses up north for the rich to live in and commute down to their rented flat for work.


  8. fedupsoutherner
    July 31, 2017

    I just cannot believe the insanity of what I am reading John. Surely, you despair at the state of the once great Conservative party and wonder what has become of it? If it’s depressing for us then it must be worse for you and your ilk. This smacks of Labour policy. Spend, spend, spend and don’t worry about the money. Ludicrous! To think this will cost us a fortune whilst at the same time destroy the lives of the people whose homes are closest to this folly. Whoever voted this in should hang their heads in shame. I think this could be the nail in the coffin for the Conservative party and if I could send Mrs May some advise that I think she would actually receive then I would tell her to look at the responses on your blog. She could do a lot worse- and is by listening to the idiots she is now.

    1. Mike Stallard
      July 31, 2017

      I so agree with this post. I am a natural born Conservative. Now I have to put up with a load of nonsense about LGBT, another load of stuff about being a better person and not smoking, drinking, making rude remarks…
      Meanwhile the country I love drifts into the void of Brexit (I am a Brexit voter) and the debt thickens by the minute.
      We have a super MP – Steve Barclay. I just vote for him as a person.

    2. Lifelogic
      July 31, 2017

      Theresa May is, it seems, far more concerned about vital issues like gender pay reporting, workers on company boards, back door tax increases, mugging pension pots, screwing up the GIG economy and gender policy.

    3. alan jutson
      July 31, 2017


      “if I could send Mrs May some advice that I think she would actually receive then……”

      I think there are huge numbers of people who feel exactly the same as you.

      Indeed I have thought about writing to her myself, but simply feel it would be waste of time given the huge numbers of staff she has working on her behalf, who doubtless would give a simple standard reply, before putting it in the bin.

      To his credit JR does respond to constituants correspondence very rapidly, and also uses this blog as a discussion and information forum, thus I am fortunate he is my MP.
      I am confident that he also makes an effort to try to make contact with those who matter, where and when he can.

    4. Atlas
      July 31, 2017

      Indeed, John must despair. I certainly do. Cameron’s legacy it seems is profligacy (for all that ‘long term economic plan’ verbiage) on a grand scale. HS1, HS2, Nuclear Power, 0.7% GDP overseas aid – the list goes on and on.

  9. Lifelogic
    July 31, 2017

    Philip Hammond steps back from reducing taxes and regulation according to the BBC this AM. He want to remain “in the middle” of the sluggish EU economies. Why what a dope he is?

    Not that anyone would ever expect the tax borrow and piss down the drain Hammond of doing anything sensible like cutting taxes or eliminating daft regulations and employment laws. He even thinks 15% stamp duty on houses, ratting on the £1M IHT promise, attacking pensioners and landlord/tenants and building on EU employment laws is just a great plan.

    This then using all the money to piss down the drain on HS2, Hinkley C, the dire NHS, a hugely bloated and inefficient state, greencrap subsidies to rent seekers, bonkers farm subsidies and the like are just a great plan.

    Peter Oborne has an excellent piece in the Sunday Telegraph yesterday about this totally misguided man. Let us hope he never gets to lead the party, even the dire socialist Theresa is preferable.

  10. Mike Stallard
    July 31, 2017

    In Wisbech, several millions of pounds have been spent on “feasibility studies” over the last fifteen years to reopen our rail link with Cambridge and Peterborough (two rapidly expanding cities). Nice work if you can get it.
    The rails are still in place, the line is still there. All it needs is a bit of spit and polish to make it work as it did before. So far no change.
    In 1846, a group of businessmen began a line from March to Spalding via Wisbech: 26.63 miles. It was done in a year. In 2017, reopening an existing line has already cost several million pounds and there is absolutely nothing to show for it.
    Another government project, just like HS2. And a lot of people are making a lot of (borrowed) tax payers’ money too. And both lines exist only in the imagination.

  11. Tom William
    July 31, 2017

    HS2 is based on false assumptions, ignores technological developments in the pipeline or already here, will be hugely over budget, is not demanded by the general public, is yesterday’s solution to an alleged problem and is an example of what happens when governments think they should run the country rather than let private enterprise decide.

    A massive “ground nuts scheme”.

  12. Mark B
    July 31, 2017

    Good morning.

    Parliament does indeed support it, but does the British Taxpayer ?

    The problem here is, our Parliament draws it Executive from the Legislature and, therefore, the government have at least 100 Legislatures in its pocket with many more bribed one way or another to follow suit. Too much tribal loyalty and career advancement skews our so called democratic system. That means the people, once they have cast their vote, are no longer needed and can be safely ignored.

    HS2 is part of the EU TENS Network. An idea dreamed up by the Round Table of Industrialists, taken on board by ex-EU Commissioner Jacques Delores and made EU policy. A policy that are not mandatory.

    As I keep saying. All non-defence projects that cost over £1 Billion should be put to a national referendum. Parliament can no longer be trusted.

  13. Caterpillar
    July 31, 2017

    No HS London centric, HS1 Eurocentric, HS2 England centric.

    1. Caterpillar
      July 31, 2017

      (To add to my controversial, long comment) – move Govt out of London, move national museums out of London – more England centric, less London centric.

  14. A.Sedgwick
    July 31, 2017

    Yet another example of how out of touch and dumb our collective parliament can be.

    Two quotes from the weekend press:

    It would be cheaper to move Birmingham nearer London.

    Nigel Lawson rule of thumb to get real in projects was to double the cost and halve the revenue.

  15. Ian Wragg
    July 31, 2017

    I see Hammond is busily re writing Brexit during the summer break.
    He is pronouncing his personal vision which of course remaining in all the structures of the EU but without any representation.
    Will we be fielding candidates for the Euro Parliament in 2019.
    He is getting very annoying. If Mrs May doesn’t put a stop to him we can assume he represents government policy.

  16. agricola
    July 31, 2017

    I read that HS1 has just crept into profit after I believe 29 years. Does this mean that they have paid off all the capital cost or have managed to write them down. You are better placed than me to know whether it is real profit or the result of an accounting exercise. When HS2 arrives, late and over budget is my prediction, can we wait a further 29 years before it is declared profitable. My advice with fares is to pile them high and keep them low in the hope that heavy usage will get income flowing.

    For considerably less cost you could have commuter jets streaming into an expanded London City Airport at £20 a seat, but where is the vision.

  17. Richard1
    July 31, 2017

    Mrs may should have cancelled this project – and Hinkley point – when she came in as a statement that proper rigorous rationale would be needed for projects which impose such huge costs on the public. Instead of which we will be lumbered with a vanity project likely to add £100bn to the nations debt and which will in any case be obsolete by the time it comes in use. Incredible that the machinery of modern government – and under the Conservatives! – can make such a patently foolish decision. Will HS2 require hugely overpaid members of the train drivers union to operate it and therefore be vulnerable to the kind of blackmail we see on southern rail?!

    1. fedupsoutherner
      August 1, 2017

      Richard 1

      Will HS2 require hugely overpaid members of the train drivers union to operate it and therefore be vulnerable to the kind of blackmail we see on southern rail?!

      Probably and the drivers will be paid astronomical sums of money to do so.

  18. Pat
    July 31, 2017

    You voted the right way.
    I can’t help wondering whether civil service pressure has pushed the scheme, as I believe it pushed Mr. Gove into his electric car anouncement.
    We need a Government that controls the Civil Service, too often it’s the other way round.

  19. Brian Tomkinson
    July 31, 2017

    With decisions like proceeding with this HS2 vanity project at horrendous expense and the daily backtracking on Brexit led by Euro Phil Hammond, the only thing going for your party is the utter disaster that a Corbyn government would be. What a sorry state we find ourselves in politically.

  20. Yossarion
    July 31, 2017

    We already here reports of X Rail 2, how will they justify starting a project whilst the rest of the country has had Rail and Road projects cancelled over the last decade in the name of Austerity.

  21. David Murfin
    July 31, 2017

    You only need to calculate the cost per inch to know this scheme is nonsense.

  22. Bob
    July 31, 2017

    HS2 is a scandal. Your party is complicit.

  23. Bert Young
    July 31, 2017

    The HS2 project is a disaster no matter which way you look at it . The cost , the route that it takes , the question of its likely passenger numbers and financial return , the doubt about its impact on the economy and the overall value to linking the North with the South . The existing rail links were capable of modification and if used would have meant less disruption and cost .

    The decision is typical of Government thinking that it must display initiative and imagination in the way it plans capital expenditure . There are so many more priorities on its books with far more credibility than HS2 . It is futile to list them .

    Can we please have another Margaret Thatcher to drive some sense into Government decision making .

  24. Ed Mahony
    July 31, 2017

    I really like your articles on transport, energy, planning, and more

  25. English Pensioner
    July 31, 2017

    We are building a railway using updated 19th century technology whilst other counties are looking at new ideas such as the ‘train in a tube’. Not just in the US but in Scandinavia and Australia. Once we were the world leaders in engineering and technology, now we follow a long way behind, and even have to get other countries to build the trains.
    Problem is that it’s not only Railways, but other areas like Nuclear Power Stations where we once led the world and now rely on others.

  26. ale bro
    July 31, 2017

    I think HS2 is misguided – the fastest trains in the country already all travel to London.

    What the rail network needs is faster connections between nodes outside London. Nottingham to Birmingham takes 90 minutes, and this should only be half an hour.

    The network is full of really slow routes that could be fast enough to carry commuter traffic – Manchester to Norwich / Liverpool to Hull, but nothing is ever done to speed them up.

  27. Christine
    July 31, 2017

    Do the Government not know that there is a vast swath of the country north of Manchester and Leeds? Yet we see little in the way of investment. Our rail network is left to decay and we have few airports. Bring jobs north where we have cheap housing and the space to expand. Cut airport taxes to the smaller regional airports to make them viable once again. Electrify our railways so that we can have intercity trains. HS2 benefits the few at the expense of the many. It is sucking even more jobs to the south of the country putting a burden on other services there. HS2 a vanity program to allow quicker travel for a few civil servants and politicians. It needs stopping now before the costs escalate further.

    1. Iain Gill
      July 31, 2017

      And East as well…

  28. Edward Griffin
    July 31, 2017

    It doesn’t just go to Birmingham.
    No HS2 is not designed to ferry absurd numbers of non-existant passengers from London to Birmingham. Birmingham is just the first stop. The high speed trains will be classic compatible and continue all the way to Glasgow and Edinburgh.

    It calls at lots of major cities
    London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, York, and Newcastle, Glasgow, Edinburgh

    It provides links to airports.
    Birmingham International Airport and Manchester Airport. There is the future possibility of a link to Heathrow.

    Huge extra capacity
    Rail usage is increasing quickly. This adds capacity that is much needed.

    Adds redundancy to the rail system by adding alternative routes. More reliable.

    Trunk line
    It’s a fast and high-capacity trunk line. Other existing lines will feed off it.

    Journey time reduction
    The Manchester to London journey time is cut almost in half from about 2 hours to 1 hour. If the high speed line is ever extended in full to Scotland the journey time will reduce to just 3 hours. That’s competitive with air travel.

    Job opportunities
    The benefit doesn’t come from people working on trains. That story was nonsense.
    Why does anyone locate their business in London when it’s so expensive? Access to a huge skilled labour market, and that’s where your clients are too. When we have better transport links this opens up so many possibilities. You can locate your business in cheaper cities, but still hire the employees and reach your customers. The fast train makes it viable, but only when the journey times are low, and when the journey is simple.

    New stations will be built at Euston, Birmingham Curzon Street, and the East Midlands Hub, improving the surrounding districts.

    Future link to HS1
    It will be possible to link it to HS1 in the future allowing for direct travel to the continent.

    Nothing gets sucked into London
    People getting a high paid job in London is a good thing. If they commute on the line, they will spend their money in the north. Likewise people from London will find traveling north so much easier.

    Cheap tickets outside of peak hours
    The tickets will be cheap outside of peak hours to ensure all the seats are filled, so ordinary people will be able to afford to use it and benefit from it.

    Expensive but should be worth it
    Yes it’s expensive, but who today would say that building the motorways, the existing rail network, or the London underground was a waste of money. They’ve paid for themselves many times over.

  29. ian
    July 31, 2017

    Railway fares are going up by 3 to 4 percent this year and have been doing so since i can remember, in 10 years time that will be over 50 percent rise from today price, with wages set to rise by 1 or 2 percent a year over that time, how dose that sit with you.
    I am glad that MPs are going ahead with this project, with others like it, so that people can see what a country looks like in bankruptcies, with MPs running around like headless chickening cutting pensions and anything else they can think of, and at the same time putting up taxes like your party has been doing since being in office every year, with the deficit still going up by 70 odd billion a year, if it was not for asset sales of last year of 27 billion. Spending go up by 20 odd billion a year in the budget, and in ten year time will stand at over 1000 billion a year, at a time when spending should be not going up to bring the deficit down. As for, they can print and borrow there way out of this is not true. If they do not start to cut back now bankruptcy could well be on the cards. Without taxes going up every year to cover some of the 20 odd billion that spending goes up by each year, so taxes must go up year on year no matter what they tell you along with assets sale and more borrowing, so what ever way you look at it, you are going to end up in trouble over time, because growth is not happening, if growth was happening there would no need to put up taxes or borrow money.

  30. Denis Cooper
    July 31, 2017

    It may be worth remembering that this project falls in the grey area where there may not be any explicit legal obligation under EU law but there is certainly EU influence.

    1. bratwurst
      July 31, 2017

      Well, it is part of TEN-T (Trans European Network – Transport). Part of core corridor 9, Edinburgh to Marseilles & Eire. The roads (which include most of our motorways & many major trunk roads (there is a list on the Sabre-roads website) need to comply with TEN-T specifications and are not now considered ‘UK’ roads.
      Most of the road improvements that have been announced by the Tory govt. are either core TENT-T or regional feeder roads.

      1. Chris
        July 31, 2017

        including the dreaded SMART motorways, Bratwurst, which are anything but smart.

      2. Martyn G
        July 31, 2017

        I think you are probably correct. But there are some other factors, for example, the UK A34 is, under the UN International Road Network is titled as E-05. Some EU nations do use the E-numbers but we do not, so it appears that it is optional to use them and it might well be that the EU hierarchy have merged the UN system into the TEN-T system.
        There is a sort of parallel with the UN International Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO), where the UK is a full member but the EU is merely an interested party who may be invited to meetings but have no vote or direct influence. As such – in effect powerless – EU aviation is conducted under ICAO regulations and talk of post-BREXIT meltdown with severe disturbance to flights in and out of the EU and indeed the world, seem unlikely, to say the least.

  31. Epikouros
    July 31, 2017

    Apart from HS2 not being economically sensible it will in the next decade or two become as obsolete as the canal system became with the advent of railways. The direction of technological advances implies that is the case. Your assessment of the consequences of building HS2; over runs on budget, time targets, lower than projected usage and revenue is most likely accurate. The evidence to back up those truths are as you point out plain for anyone with a modicum of common sense to see.

    The railways are an anomaly in that the private sector could not make them pay and taking them into the public sector did not solve that situation in fact exacerbated it. Then nationalisation and using the public sector for provision of goods and services has that effect of turning potentially efficient and profitable enterprises into enterprises not fit for purpose.

    On all accounts there is no case for for HS2. Undoubtedly there is political gain but what I cannot fathom. Unfortunately many politicians put much more store in deciding not on economic and practical bases but their standing in the public’s eyes, political or financial gain and in promoting their ideology. That is not a way to run a railway as they say(pun intentional) but that is how government works. Being fickle we condemn this then at the same time we support it and demand even more.

    1. Epikouros
      July 31, 2017

      This explains far better than I ever could why government virtually always makes bad decisions when planning and implementing that which is perceive to be for the public good. As is the case in their decision to go ahead with HS2. “”.

    2. fedupsoutherner
      August 1, 2017


      Just imagine if we had spent all the money we have wasted on renewables on our railway system and roads instead. We would have a better road system and an enviable rail system too which would be up to date and fit for purpose. Let’s just carry on wasting money though as that’s what the government seems to be good at.

      Less congestion on our roads would mean less concentrated CO2 levels. More people using a fit for purpose rail system would mean less cars on the roads too.

      1. Epikouros
        August 1, 2017

        Technological advances would suggest that roads will be used considerably more than they are now. Replacing human drivers with mechanical ones will mean that they will be used considerably more efficiently, be safer, with less congestion and CO2 and pollution reduced. Taking roads away from government control would add to this benefit. Perhaps a forlorn hope. For long distance travel the railways will be replaced by simpler but faster and cheaper track like propulsion systems and air travel will increase as better aircraft are brought into service.

  32. bigneil
    July 31, 2017

    I got as far as ” control costs ” – and gave up. EVERY govt project cost is fed to the public in stages – -and we still probably never hear the true cost. We either get lies or the other politicians “get-out” – – – ” we don’t keep figures on that “- -which is another lie – -EVERYTHING anyone does in this country is recorded. Our “Democratic ” country is very quickly becoming a nasty place to live – all through politicians decisions and lies.

  33. MikeP
    July 31, 2017

    I thought the idea was to move (much of) the demand from the heavily congested West Coast Main Line to release capacity for freight and local services, and therefore take heavy freight off the roads. The forecast demand seems highly unlikely unless nothing happens to reduce passenger numbers on the WCML. So the road congestion continues – but wait no-one will be driving in due course, we’ll all be forced off diesel and petrol and be car-sharing in electric vehicles or maybe hitching a ride on those flying pigs, wending our way through the fog of all the extra power station emissions?

  34. Repay
    July 31, 2017

    Who is Lobbying for HS2? Arguments for this seems weak or fanciful and there seems to be a consensus that trans Pennine rail infrastructure would yield real dividends…

    1. Leslie Singleton
      July 31, 2017

      Dear Repay–Agree entirely–Obviously flattening (not literally of course) the Pennines would be a marvellous idea. Crossing them at present is murder no matter how one tries to do it. HS2 is bonkers. I gave John the benefit of my opinion on that folly earlier but so far without his imprimatur–too extreme I guess.

  35. Dennis
    July 31, 2017

    The Chinese should be doing it, on budget, perhaps cheaper and on time if not sooner and with maglev so it can go around corners. We could learn much from them too.

  36. BobE
    July 31, 2017

    HS2 is to allow MPs high speed luxury travel to/from London at the taxpayers expense. First class, great food en route to Westminster.

  37. E.S Tablishment
    July 31, 2017

    Why would Londoners wish travel to Birmingham? Theatres? Cinemas? Pubs? Restaurants, The Changing of the Guard at Birmingham Town Hall? To avoid mass unemployment?

    So, why would Brummies wish to travel to London? ( by train )

    Cancel HS2.

  38. William Long
    July 31, 2017

    There never was an economic case for this folly, and any that there might have been reduces by the day as the need for face to face contact is eroded by the means of communication we are using now. This is not just a white elephant; it is a white dinosaur.
    The fact that you were part of a small minority is a terrible comment not just on the Conservative party but on the quality of MPs generally

    1. Turboterrier.
      July 31, 2017

      @ William Long

      Well said, smack on the money

  39. Fed Up
    July 31, 2017

    “Parliament has decided it wants this project”

    Why? Is there massive public demand for it? If not, in whose interest are they working?

  40. James Doran
    July 31, 2017

    It will need to control costs vigorously- agreed. But it won’t will it?

  41. graham1946
    July 31, 2017

    Why is the government putting up the money for this at all? If private investors had any inkling that this project would make good returns they would be piling in. As they are not, it is a sure sign of another dud backed by people who do not know what they are doing. No doubt the cost and any losses will be socialised and should the thing make any money that will be privatised, just like all the utilities sold off below value for the benefit of the City and ultimately foreigners. You are all mad. It’s about time that when major money like this is involved there should be a referendum to see if the public want such a folly. I’d bet they wouldn’t.

  42. fedupsoutherner
    July 31, 2017

    O/T I heard today on the 1pm news that Mrs May has spoken and told the cabinet that we are leaving the single market without a transitional deal and freedom of movement is ending. What a welcome statement. The cabinet had better take notice or else they are toast.

    1. Turboterrier.
      July 31, 2017


      The cabinet had better take notice.

      They haven’t up to now so why should they change.She won’t get rid of them as it means all the very experienced and able “Brexiteers” she continually ignores will be expected to be offered a position by all of us that want out of the EU madhouse. Sooner or later if she wants to survive she will have to break the habit of a lifetime and start really listening to the people.

    2. Denis Cooper
      July 31, 2017

      I could imagine there being a need for some kind of “transitional deal” on some things like trade with the EU, but not on future immigration from the EU.

      It doesn’t matter so much whether we are not quite ready to implement a new immigration policy from March 29th 2019, the important thing is that we must then be completely free to decide what our policy will be, both in the short and in the long term, rather than continuing to have any part of it imposed by the EU as Philip Hammond wants.

      So when I see Michael Fallon saying:

      “… the issue of immigration policy during a transitional deal would be “one of the details” for the Brexit negotiations.”

      I totally disagree; we should not even admit it a subject for negotiation with them, we should do no more than politely inform them what we have decided.

    3. Leslie Singleton
      July 31, 2017

      Dear fedup–Missed that so far but fervently hope you are right–If Hammond in particular doesn’t like it he, as they say, knows what he can do.

    4. Denis Cooper
      July 31, 2017

      Thanks to Theresa May taking bad advice over the position of blameless EU citizens who are already settled here that issue has become entangled with the separate issue of EU immigration in the future, so we have this sort of thing:

      But despite Downing street’s latest comments that free movement will end in 2019, the UK’s own position paper on citizens’ rights foresees a two-year “grace period of blanket permission”.

      Eh, yes, it does, for those already settled here on March 29th 2019:

      “24) To achieve this, the Home Office will provide a period of blanket residence permission, to start immediately upon the UK’s exit from the EU. This will be a generic ‘umbrella’ of temporary leave 5 applying to all existing lawful EU residents (and their families), to give them a grace period between the moment that free movement ends and the time they obtain their residence document – allowing them to remain lawfully in the UK, and continue to undertake their lawful business during that interim period.”

      Not for those who want to come after we have left the EU.

  43. Martin
    July 31, 2017

    What has really hammered HS1 was the rise of the low cost airlines, not just from the London area but with direct flights from most of the UK.

    As for HS2, I know nothing of Birmingham London travel, but some of the claims are clearly weak. Air travel will continue to dominate from say Northern Scotland to London. Now how is that third runway doing?

  44. margaret
    July 31, 2017

    It will be convenient and if I am alive when it is finished I will use it. Projections , projections , projections . As a director of an Insurance brokers I had many years of listening to these imaginings . It turned out that far from even breaking even, many firms failed , the brokers were so disenchanted with FSA ruling to cut the middle man out almost completely, that staff could not be paid and the firms went into bankruptcy.
    We will now see how many people can upset the apple cart by trying to take more money out of the project than they deserve and how calculations will change as time goes by .

  45. stred
    July 31, 2017

    Why don’t you and the dozen or so sensible Tory MPs form a separate independent party called the Conservative Sense Party? Then you could insist that the nitwits started doing sensible things like building a normal speed railway up the old Central line and improving existing ones instead. You would be able to have some influence like the DUP. At election time you would wipe the floor with Nitwit Party candidates.

    Reply I wish to work with a party which can command a majority to get things done. We went through all these arguments over UKIP who never managed to get a single MP elected in a General Election other than Mr Carswell who promptly fell out with UKIP leadership.

    1. Chris
      July 31, 2017

      You seem to be part of a Party that is intent on not getting Conservative things done. What on earth is Justine Greening doing concentrating on body parts when the education system is in dire straits, why are we determined to keep up the foreign aid contribution when our elderly and poor in the UK are denied proper medical and nursing care, to name but two areas of so many of huge concern?

    2. Turboterrier.
      July 31, 2017

      Reply to reply

      I wish to work with a party which can command a majority to get things done.

      Absolutely correct John, but what is the point of having a majority when we get the party continually tearing itself to shreds with all the various hidden agendas. For what its worth a large number of our Tory representatives may as well have stood for the opposition as it could be perceived that 24/7 its a non stop attack on everything, and anything to get a headline. Being so split just plays into the hands of Corbyn. All he has to do is sit back bide his time and watch the government implode.

      1. fedupsoutherner
        August 1, 2017

        @Turbo. Yes, look what a disaster it was when Thatcher got weasled out. All stabbing her behind her back. This is what this current government is doing to itself.

  46. Turboterrier.
    July 31, 2017

    I suggest that all those that voted for the whole project sign affidavits to the effect that like students they will repay the country an agreed percentage of the over run costs year on year until they paid back the losses. That is and would be a very fair deal if we the people waived the interest charges the country is going to have to pay on the loans to enable completion to take place. Responsibility = Accountability

  47. cornishstu
    July 31, 2017

    Time we the people had the right to Veto these over the top projects with legally binding referendum, as it is we who have to foot the bill and our children and their children. I find it frustrating that there seems so little common sense in the decisions made by those we elect as well as those in the unelected house. As I have got older it has become apparent that parliament does not work in the interests of those who they purport to serve.

  48. Mark
    July 31, 2017

    I find it remarkable and regrettable that so little attention is paid in our media to the enormous waste of resources which HS2 represents. I am grateful that you voted against the project, but until there is much more scrutiny of this kind of nonsense there is probably little hope that MPs, most of whom seem to lack even the basic numeracy required to follow the argument, we are saddled with one enormous bill after another – all of which make it hard to find the money for the things we really need to spend on.

    £100bn for HS2, plus £200bn for power generation for electric cars, plus £265bn for grid reinforcement and rapid charger points – we’re saddling our children with ever more unrepayable debt to fund it all. Even Brown found it hard to waste money at quite this rate. Why do MPs seem to think it is fun and their right to squander such eye-watering sums?

    1. Mark
      July 31, 2017

      Oops. Missing bit: …follow the argument, will vote sensibly. Meantime, we are saddled….

  49. Terry
    July 31, 2017

    Surely the question has to be asked, “Who stands to gain the most from HS2”? Then work from there to establish why the tax payer will have to pay out £Billions on yet another Government inspired White Elephant. Especially when there are far simpler and far less costly solutions available.

    HS2 sounds more like a solution looking for a problem rather than being a viable project.

    If HS1 is a reliable indicator, it had 75,000 train services last year but ended up with a £83.5 Millions LOSS. Thank goodness it is Privately owned and not the responsibility of us tax payers. It has since been sold by its Canadian owners who clearly did not think it viable after following the £100 Millions loss the previous year. It is running at a loss year in year out and it runs to big Europe.
    Now, who in their right mind would want the tax payers to fund such an “Iffy” project? Those with a vested interest?
    And why would anyone wish to travel on an expensive rail system just to save 20 minutes journey time? The whole project sounds so implausible.

    It is at times like this that I wish we had a similar system to the Swiss.
    Whereby, important projects and policies (like HS2) must pass a National Referendum before they are enacted.
    Now that is proper people power and that is why they are so successful.

  50. Jason Wells
    July 31, 2017

    What Mrs May is talking about today is ‘off the cliff’ stuff. In that case there is good reason now to put a halt to this HS2 project because of the costs and disruption to life that it will cause. Also with so much uncertainty about we have no way of knowing if it will be cost affordable into the future or that we will even need it?

    Since we are leaving the EU without a transitional period there is still no guarantees of new trade in the future to compensate for the loss of trade to the EU. So it is very likely our relationship with the EU is going to take a turn for the worst and then if the US with Trump also goes off the cliff, and who knows? well then we could become a much poorer place and very much on our own. If for no other reason then we should call a halt to HS2 and other nuclear power projects for the moment to see if we can afford it all into the future- at least until after March 2019 when we might have a better chance to see
    how we’re going.

    1. fedupsoutherner
      August 1, 2017

      Jason. You have made some very good points here. Too obvious for government though.

  51. Bert Young
    July 31, 2017

    Why are some responses not shown until much later ? . If the responses are relevant , fairly short , I fail to understand why they do not appear in a chronological order ?. Do others experience the same frustration ?.

  52. ferdinand
    July 31, 2017

    How right you are in the last sentence to say Birmingham to London rail travel, for that is what it will encourage. Greater speed to the centre of business has always been the aim of road and rail. Why did they not recognise this in their studies?

  53. Iain Moore
    July 31, 2017

    I am sorry this is off message, but I am pretty astonished about the Conservative party’s failure to even attempt to embarrass Corbyn about the Socialist policy failure taking place in Venezuela . It is the perfect blueprint of failure of Socialism, which goes from overspending, trashing the economy, hyper inflation and then on to totalitarianism. We saw it in Ghana under Nkrumah, and we see it again now in Venezuela , and this is the regime Corbyn heaped praise on , yet for some reason the Conservatives don’t want to politically profit from it , let alone point out to the young who have been attracted to Corbyn’s magic money tree as to the consequences of it.

    Is there some Conservative party rule to not embarrass Labour and certainly not do it to Corbyn, or is the reason we are seeing no effort from the Conservatives is because it is just too much like hard work?

    Reply I wrote a piece re this before the election and will return to it again soon

  54. stred
    July 31, 2017

    Forgot. 6. We are still paying enormous amounts for PFI schools, even though they are not occupied because they were too awful to keep open, or have fallen down and are not occupied while the repairs are being done.

    Sorry about typos. Spellcheck comes too late and I should do it myself.

    1. stred
      July 31, 2017

      Re 3. Matty thinks Leavers are intolerant. He is certainly right when ministers lumber us with big bills. We should not tolerate them.

  55. Ali Choudhury
    July 31, 2017

    It costs a lot and there won’t be huge benefit in terms of travelling to central London. For connecting Birmingham and the Midlands to the rest of the country though, HS2 is revolutionary. Travelling to Leeds and York from Curzon Street station in Birmingham will take an hour (down from 2 hours) and to Manchester forty minutes (down from 1.5 hours). Nottingham will be a half an hour trip, Edinburgh will be 3 hours away. Manchester airport will become much more useful as HS2 will reduce travel time from London to 1 hour and from Birmingham to half and hour.

    As a former resident of the North, travelling between cities and towns north of Milton Keynes was quite frustrating given the lack of quick rail links. More of that would be of immense benefit. It is somewhat taken for granted down south how the extensive rail links make it quite easy to live anywhere from Essex and Bedfordshire to Hampshire and Kent and be within reach of most places you could conceivably need to get to without the need for a car and to worry about traffic jams/parking etc.

    I don’t think HS1 is the right comparison, it is a fairly limited route with not nearly the same potential impact on connectivity within the UK. Competition with ferries would not affect HS2 and it would likely make domestic air travel quite uncompetitive compared to show up and go train travel – with the likely exception of the London-Edinburgh route.

    Reply You clearly haven’t used the southern rail network much – it is not as you think it is. I usually have to use a car to get between different towns in the south if I want to put together a good working day in more than one centre.

    1. Ali Choudhury
      August 1, 2017

      Yesterday was the sixth anniversary of my living and working down south (and two years since I moved to Reading\Wokingham) after a few years working in the north. There is no comparison between rail connectivity in the regions compared to the south. Between major commercial centres it is quite poor and definitely not fit for purpose. Even accounting for the semi-regular horrors of Paddington, rush hour out of Leeds was on average a far more dispiriting experience.

  56. Norman
    July 31, 2017

    “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,” (Romans 1:22). Context of the chapter says it all. It is now so screamingly obvious, yet still its roundly denied. A hundred years after Paschendael, very sad.

  57. Derek Henry
    July 31, 2017

    “However you look at it, this project can only limit the losses it will incur for the taxpayer if there is very strong cost discipline”

    Taxpayer won’t pay a penny as taxes don’t fund government spending. The accounting between HM Treasury and the BOE does not lie. They are fact.

    Taxes funding government spending is the biggest myth ever told for ideological reasons with not an ounce of truth in it.

    Brexit was all about taking back control of our money. What’s the point John if you have no idea how it works ?

    Repeat after me – We no longer use the gold standard it’s time you woke up to the fact.

  58. Lindsay McDougall
    August 1, 2017

    The promotors of HS2 are relying on both population growth and trip generation. And they are ignoring the hit that revenue on existing railways will take. The Channel Tunnel and HS1 failed to generate extra trips and it will be little different this time.

    If I can simplify the likely outcome, the Government is relying on a population increase driven by immigration that we don’t want in an attempt to justify a White Elephant that we don’t want. There is a myth that high speed rail generates business in its corridor. Perhaps it will around the stations but that idea that a train rattling through a rural area at 200 mph will generate economic opportunities is ludicrous. Frightened cows are the most likely outcome.

    There is talk of eliminating First Class carriages from ordinary trains. Perhaps the market that the Government has in mind for HS2 is a Pullman style service plus Wi-Fi, allowing businessmen to work on the train and sample luxury. If so, it’s about time they told people.

  59. alastair
    August 1, 2017

    If HS2 was providing commuter services then those assumptions might make sense, but the implication that Brum might become commuter belt for London is surely flawed.

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