HS2 Questions

Examining the issues around the proposed High Speed 2 route

Why ignore the £2bn alternative to HS2?

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Why does the Government ignore the £2bn alternative to HS2?

Is there an alternative to HS2? If we are going to run out of capacity do we need HS2 even if (as many argue) the economic case doesn’t stack up?

Apparently there is an alternative, though one the Government is saying little about. It’s called ‘Rail Package 2’ (RP2), was commissioned by the Department for Transport and produced by Atkins. It has a higher Net Benefit Ratio that HS2, it meets even the HS2 forecast increase in background rail demand (itself nearly twice that of the Network Rail forecast), and it costs £2bn instead of £34bn.

 RP2 addresses five infrastructure pinch points and includes changes to the rolling stock including train lengthening from 9 to 11 car sets. It’s a less crowded option than HS2 and yet increases capacity by 135%.

 Add to this the possibility of 12 car sets (with some platform extensions) and capacity increases 165%. Substituting standard class carriages for one or two first class carriages – demand for first has declined sharply in the light of new civil service rules – and yet more seats are created. The planned introduction of ERTMS (In-cab signally will also increase capacity and speed.

 The Net Benefit Ratio is 3.63 compared with a stated but much disputed NBR of 2.4 for HS2. The cost is £2bn, compared with £34bn for phase 1 and 2 of the HS2 project. In these times of Government cut backs, why has this alternative been given such a low profile?

 Full details of the alternatives are given in a new paper by HS2 Action Alliance, available at here.

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Written by hs2questions

February 15, 2011 at 9:52 pm

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