Fares, rail policy and DfT news

14.05.19

Scrap HS2 and use its £56bn budget to fund 28 alternative projects, urges TPA

Scrapping the £56bn HS2 project could pave the way for 28 separate local infrastructure schemes to be funded instead with the case “getting stronger by the day” a new report from the TaxPayers’ Alliance (TPA) has claimed.

The report states that with the latest evidence suggesting the total cost of HS2 could almost double, abandoning HS2 would free up at least £50bn to improve transport links up and down the country – although critics have called the report “misleading and fantastical.”

There are 28 named local and regional transport infrastructure projects that could be funded by this money, including an £18bn modernisation of the rail network across the Pennines and electrifying the rest of the Midland Main Line for £5bn.

The total cost of the 28 schemes, which came from a UK-wide plea by the TPA for submissions, is £45.1bn, £11bn less than the current budget for HS2 – although nearly a quarter of the schemes would go towards roads or cycleway improvements.

HS2 has been under heavy pressure from politicians and protesters, and is at risk of exceeding its budget in some part due to land acquisition costs spiralling five times higher than first projected.

There has been talk that the high-speed rail project could be forced to run with fewer or slower trains, and its former chairman Sir Terry Morgan has admitted that “nobody knows” what the final cost of HS2 will be.

The TPA’s report said that thanks to “spiralling costs, environmental damage, consistent mismanagement or overwhelming unpopularity of the project, the tide is turning against HS2.”

Other schemes included the £5bn extension of Crossrail to Stansted Airport and Cambridge, a £1bn supertram network for Leeds, the Chiltern Main Line, and the £500m works on the Sussex section of the Brighton Main Line and the Exeter to Plymouth rail line.

TPA chief executive John O’Connell said: “We have long argued that HS2 is a waste of taxpayers’ money and this report makes that fact even clearer.

“Instead of spending £56bn on a vanity project, the government should heed this report. Given the number of excellent alternatives, it’s now time to scrap this white elephant.”

The High-Speed Rail Industry group however slammed the alternative HS2 plans, saying it was “the finest work of fantasy and fiction since JRR Tolkien last put down his pen.”

“Whilst the other infrastructure projects noted in the TPA report may indeed have merit, in most cases they are currently only at an early planning stage, so comparing costs is completely misleading.

“As cabinet minister Amber Rudd said last week, support for HS2 is a true test of whether people are serious about long-term investment in Britain.

“The project is already underway and employing thousands of people. We need to finish the job, and use HS2 to smash the north-south divide which has beset Britain for decades.”

The group pointed to the £21bn black hole in the TPA’s Northern Powerhouse Rail plan, and also demanded to know who had paid for this “misleading and fantastical report.”

What does the future look like for HS2? Get your answers from Mark Thurston, Chief Executive, HS2 Ltd & Lorna Pimlott Director of Sponsorship & Policy, Phase 2, HS2 Ltd at TransCityRail Midland on the 18th July, Click here to find out more. >>

Image credit - OwenPrice

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

related

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Greater Anglia brings in extra support for busy periods

21/11/2019Greater Anglia brings in extra support for busy periods

Office staff at Greater Anglia are being trained to help customers when stations are busy due to big events or disruption. Customer Action T... more >
Greater Anglia announces delays cut by almost half

21/11/2019Greater Anglia announces delays cut by almost half

Between December 2018 and October 2019, delay minutes for its Class 317 commuter trains, which run through Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Esse... more >
Metrolink contactless payment system hits millionth journey

20/11/2019Metrolink contactless payment system hits millionth journey

Transport for Greater Manchester announced today (20th Nov) that at the weekend Metrolink’s contactless payment system hit the million-jour... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. Chris Leech MBE, business community manager at the... more > more last word articles >

'the sleepers' daily blog

Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

14/11/2019Maximising efficiency requires investment in data, but it’s rewards for rail could be extensive

Rail Technology Magazine’s Matt Roberts explains the significant role data can play within the future development of the rail industry. Standing as a cornerstone of the UK transport network, the rail industry is forever striving to innovate and maximise efficiency in all aspects of its work. Data is just one such way of achievi... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >

comment

The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >
Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

02/07/2019Sunshine future beckons for South Wales Railways, says 10:10 Climate Action’s Leo Murray

Smart electrification is the way to boost clean energy resources, argues Leo Murray, director at 10:10 Climate Action. Contractors are clear... more >
Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

02/07/2019Ambition doesn’t have to be expensive, says Midland Connect's Maria Machancoses

The TCR Midlands conference is only days away and tickets are going fast for the sector event of the year at the Vox Conference Centre in Birming... more >

rail industry focus

  • 15/11/2019A workforce which reflects society

    Loraine Martins MBE, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail, joins us in the studio for the third episode of our RTM podcast, talking at...
  • 02/11/2019Monica Barbosa: Women In Rail

    Director of business development and communications at Xrail, Monica Barbosa, thinks women are missing out on exciting opportunities because the...
  • 01/11/2019The dangers of fatigues

    Working long hours, poor health, too little sleep, a demanding job and more can all make us tired and affect our mental and physical performance...
View all News

interviews

Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he wo... more >