Network Rail Announcement Means 51M Alternative Can Be Subsidy Free

New work shows that following Networks Rail’s plans to go ahead with improvements to the West Coast Main Line in a major pinch point in the Stafford Area works means that the alternative of uprating the WCML would need no subsidy. This alternative also more than meets DfT’s own forecasts for long distance demand.

51m developed an optimised alternative to HS2 that rebalanced first and standard class, lengthened trains and addressed three pinchpoints on the WCML. The most expensive of those pinchpoints in DfT’s assessment is the Stafford Bypass works, which is now planned to be done in any event.  Re-doing the sums using Government’s own figures shows how this changes the economics of the alternative:

  • Instead of requiring a subsidy (of about £1bn), it would now need none at all
  • The remaining costs are now more than covered by  revenues – which is why no subsidy is needed
  • The Stafford works cannot be that disruptive or they would not be being done.

Bruce Weston, Director HS2AA, commenting on the new analysis “This shows how dishonest the whole economics of any HS2 decision has become.  It’s simply a no-brainer to do the 51m alternative, when it costs the taxpayer nothing.  It meets all the long distance forecast demand that DfT claim will happen and does not need a subsidy from the public purse.”

The Government now has an alternative that does not need a subsidy, and Network Rail’s plan to go ahead with the Stafford works clearly shows that talk of being too disruptive was just a smokescreen.

 This is a wake-up call to MPs and the public for common sense to prevail. HS2 is a waste of money when a real, practical and a subsidy-free option exists.  There are far better ways to spend the money. And claims of additional benefits from HS2 have been scuppered by the recent NAO report.” 

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