HS2 Questions

Examining the issues around the proposed High Speed 2 route

New HS2 alternative promises immediate benefit for jobs and growth

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New HS2 alternative promises immediate benefit for jobs and growth


Groups campaigning against the HS2 High Speed Train proposal have published a paper on HS2 alternatives that they say will bring immediate benefits in jobs and growth.


“Spending up to £1bn in this parliament on planning High Speed 2 will do nothing for growth” said Jerry Marshall, Chairman of AGAHST (Action Groups Against High Speed Two), which represents 74 local and national organisations. “Instead, investing £2bn into current rail infrastructure would bring immediate growth and benefits. This will also meet our West Coast Mainline capacity needs into the second half of the century.”


The document, “A Better Railway for Britain” is available on a new website, www.betterthanhs2.org .


Phase 1 of HS2 – London to Birmingham – costs £17 billion, and delivers no benefits until 2026. After that, every minute saved in journey time will have cost half a billion pounds.


“HS2 only deals with routes into London from the North. These routes are already fast, not the most congested and have a high share of the market. The new paper looks at the broader needs for developing rail and encouraging modal shift and at direct alternatives to HS2,” explained Jerry Marshall. “These alternatives can meet forecast demand, aid economic growth, and benefit more people, more quickly, and at a much lower cost than HS2. We show how it is possible to triple standard-class West Coast
Mainline capacity – and double peak commuter capacity – for a total infrastructure cost of £2.06 billion. This can be done incrementally, rather than the ‘all or nothing’ approach of HS2, reducing risk.”


As The Economist said this month:


“In most developed economies high-speed railways fail to bridge regional divides and sometimes exacerbate
them … Especially in smaller countries, upgrading existing, slower networks often makes more sense. Capacity can be increased with longer trains and extended platforms. Some spacious first-class carriages could be converted to
more compressed second-class ones; pricing may ration demand more effectively at busy times. Better signalling can increase the average speed of journeys. Britain’s non-high-speed trains, for example, are already quicker than most other countries’ equivalents. Some trains that currently run at 125mph could go faster if signals were upgraded – even if unveiling a new signal box might appeal less to politicians than inaugurating a futuristic new service. Britain still has time to ditch this grand infrastructure project – and should.”


Written by hs2questions

September 12, 2011 at 9:56 am

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