HS2AA Response to Greengauge21 “Capturing the benefits of HS2 on existing lines”

Report ignores costs and funding for any new services

16 February 2011 – Greengauge21 issued a report yesterday (15/2/011) ‘Capturing the benefits of HS2 on existing lines’, presenting a superficially attractive wish list of improved services everywhere on the existing rail network.

This is not a statement of what will happen. The report makes no mention of the costs of these new services or how they will be funded.

Obviously new services could be introduced now – if money were no object. The reality is that additional services – with the costs that go with them – are not affordable, nor in most cases value for money.

Commenting on the Greengauge report, Bruce Weston, Director, HS2AA says:

Cynical

“Greengauge21 is being deeply cynical with this report. They know the country cannot afford the money to create and operate new loss making rail services. They know that the real effect of HS2 would be to reduce demand on the conventional network, which, in order to avoid spiralling subsidies, would then be cut, as they have been in other countries where high speed lines have been built.”

Taxpayer bill

“ As a pro-high speed rail pressure group, Greengauge is promising the earth, in terms of more and better passenger and freight services. But such promises will only be delivered if the taxpayer picks up the bill – fares already only cover half the cost of the railway, and planning for more subsidy looks even less sensible when it is realised that trains are predominantly used by the better off.

30 years

“And when would we enjoy these additional services if they were provided? After HS2 is built – that is after 2026 for the first part of HS2, and about 2030 for the Y. This means in at least 20 years time! It is hard to believe that such plans will then look other than quaint. Even today, the world is already being transformed by digital communications, and domestic travel is already close to saturation.”

ends

Note to editors:

 

HS2 Action Allianceis a not for profit organisation working with over 70 local groups, which is challenging the case for HS2 and working to get Government to take the right decisions.

Aims

  • Communicate the facts about HS2 clearly and accurately.
  • Provide a channel for local groups to share information and analysis, and pool resources to maximise effectiveness.
  • Question, evaluate and where appropriate challenge the economic & environmental case for HS2.
  • Identify and promote alternatives to HS2 that are in the national interest.
  • Seek to minimise the adverse impacts of HS2 on individuals, communities and the environment.
  • Work with local action and community groups, other interested organisations and businesses, to improve Government decision making on HS2

For more informationplease contact: Richard Houghton 07803 178 037 or richardwhoughton@gmail.com