HS2 should head the list of spending cuts

On Government’s own analysis HS2 does not make economic sense and is bad value for money – even aside from its over-optimistic forecasts that the NAO exposed were based on an outdated model, its plainly absurd assumption that people don’t work on trains, and its blindness to rail competition. A more realistic analysis shows HS2 delivers just 50 pence back for every £1 of public subsidy. Hilary Wharf Director HS2AA said

“The argument that HS2 is needed for capacity simply does not hold water,.The WCML currently has the greatest spare capacity of any domestic long distance service coming into London, with the now extended Virgin trains just 35% full on average (and even before being extended they only averaged 52% full in peak). And if the WCML intercity traffic were to double by 2037, as DfT claim, then there are far better, cheaper and incremental-based solutions to meet even these capacity needs. The WCML can be improved by longer trains, rebalancing first and standard class and doing works at pinchpoints on the line – the most expensive of which Network Rail now plans to do anyway. While unglamorous this solution makes economic sense, is risk-free, and unlike HS2 now needs no subsidy.”

 

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