The alternative to HS2 becomes a “no-brainer “- suddenly it needs no subsidy

New work shows that following Networks Rail’s plans to go ahead with the Stafford Area works, 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 3 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 the 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.”


Notes to editors:

HS2AA is a national organisation making the powerful case against HS2. It is a not for profit organisation working with over 90 local groups who believe HS2 does not represent an effective answer to the UK’s transport, economic or environmental needs. HS2AA have focused on an evidenced-based approach to challenging the business case, the environmental case and compensation arrangements.

Analysis of the revised economic case for the 51m alternative is here.

An updated summary of the 51m optimised alternative is here, together with why Network Rail’s criticisms were unfounded


For more information please contact:

Richard Houghton Tel: 07803 178 037