HS2 WILL SUCK BUSINESS, JOBS AND TALENT OUT OF THE REGIONS – AND WILL NOT EASE OVERCROWDING.

HS2 ACTION ALLIANCE

COMMENT

 

March 2, 2014.

 

HS2 WILL SUCK BUSINESS, JOBS AND TALENT OUT OF THE REGIONS – AND WILL NOT EASE OVERCROWDING.

 

Regional cities will be milked of talent and business if HS2 goes ahead – and the project would do nothing to alleviate overcrowding on local commuter trains.

 

Commenting on the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group report claiming Britain’s transport infrastructure would collapse without high speed rail, Iain Macauley of HS2 Action Alliance, the national HS2 opposition group, said:

 

“Several authoritative reports, produced by renowned economists and transport experts have said the same thing: London would be the main beneficiary of HS2, regional benefit would be tiny – or even negative – and as for dealing with an ‘impending capacity crisis’, that’s complete rubbish.

 

“There is not, and will not be, a WCML capacity issue based on current services. Regardless: how on earth is a high speed non-stopping line between Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham and London going to ease suburban London queues, or help the 100,000-plus commuters who stand every day travelling into the likes of Paddington from the west of London, which is at 99% capacity at peak times, or from Surrey and Hampshire into Waterloo – which is at 91% capacity?

 

“Those are Network Rail’s own figures – the same figures which state that Euston runs at 60% capacity during peak times. What’s more, West Coast Main Line (WCML) intercity services run at only around 50% capacity during peak times – figures the Department for Transport has given in court – and is in decline. HS1 is the least busy: it operates at a third of its originally forecast capacity.

 

“Even the mature French and German high speed rail services operate at only 76 passengers per day per kilometre – HS2 is projecting 221 passengers per day per kilometre on fares higher than current ‘classic rail’ charges.

 

“Even research commissioned by HS2 and then buried, and which examines into areas which have been and done the high speed rail thing, say that HS2 would be a suction tube as London draws in more and more business, and hoovers up the workforce who have no option but to go where the money is.

 

“You don’t have to travel far to see the evidence, and the future: the TGV line led to the relocation of business headquarters from Lyon to Paris to such an extent that journeys from Lyon to Paris have increased more than from Paris to Lyon.

 

“And while Lille has been cited as a success for high speed rail, the high speed rail support lobby in Britain has conveniently overlooked the fact that Lille and the surrounding area benefitted from massive regeneration funding – hundreds of millions of Euros to turn it from a failing industrial region to 90% service industry – alongside the development of high speed rail.

 

“None of the proposed HS2 destinations in Britain have the wealth to invest to the extent required to capitalise on the HS2 vanity project. So, far from becoming part of a Manchester-Liverpool-Birmingham ‘supercity’ as Greg Clark has claimed, the regional population centres will become superfactories for talent who’ll step out of education and buy £300 one-way tickets to London.

 

“When was the last ‘supercity’ born in Britain? Not even oil has created a supercity. There is one supercity – and that’s London.

 

“London is a must-have-presence location for corporates, and is established not just as a local, regional and national draw for talent, but an international draw.  The UK is probably more capital-centric than any other nation in Europe, and that doesn’t change by opening a new railway.”

 

Ends

Further information:

 

Iain Macauley

im@pressrelations.co.uk

07788 978800

 

http://www.hs2actionalliance.org/