Is the HS2 really at the end of the line?

Posted: 01/11/2013

That statement is questionable after an assessment was carried out by the Government to clear up if there is an alternative to the HS2 if it wasn’t built. According to the Coalition, the new data they have released from their latest assessment shows that the alternative to the HS2 may not be so appealing after all.

If the HS2 was cancelled, the alternative would be to make changes to the existing rail lines and this would potentially mean weekend closures for 14 years to complete the improvement works and this would only deliver a small amount of additional capacity compared to the HS2.

According to Network Rail, over 100 cities and towns could benefit from the HS2 with the increased capacity and improved services and the Government made the brave statement that ‘Britain cannot meet its future needs without the HS2.’ The HS2 would add 18 news trains every hours on the tracks between Leeds, Manchester and London which may be critical to the rail network which is almost certain to grow.

The HS2 has been estimated to bring in a extra £15 billion to the economy due to its productivity and efficiency by bringing businesses closer together and analysis has shown that rail way links are vital in rebalancing the economic divide between the north and south of the country. The Government believe that the benefit ratio to the cost of the HS2 is £2.3 to every £1 spent and an increase in the benefit has been forecast at £4.5 if the railway demand continues to rise until 2049.

It seems that the Prime Minster backs the scheme100% along with many other MPs as the funding to prepare for the project has been approved however, there were some Conservative MPs that voted against the HS2 preparation bill. The amount of MPs that backed the funding were 350 to just 34 that opposed which consisted of 17 Conservatives and 11 Labour MPs.

The estimate cost of the HS2 is now at £42.6 billion, do you think that a railway is worth spending this amount of money?

Amanda McGovern, Pali Ltd

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(1) Comments government, railway, high speed 2, hs2

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