‘HS2 have not learnt from HS1 mistakes, say MPs’
Source: Graeme Phillips (personal view)
There are various reasons why I don’t think this adds up to what is claimed.
The CTRL is underused for a variety of reasons. Firstly, Eurostar has a monopoly of rail journeys betweenEnglandand France/Belgium.
Secondly, the Channel Tunnel’s safety authority is a law unto itself when it comes to the Technical Specifications for Interoperability regulations imposed on operators (hence why Deutsche Bahn’s attempts have been delayed two years on account of firefighting equipment that isn’t all that necessary), putting off competitors.
Thirdly, there are not many major cities along its route (though the Javelin services are getting increasingly crowded in the mornings).
The only light at the end of the tunnel (bad pun I know) is that the Gotthard Base Tunnel (even longer than the Channel Tunnel) should be open in a few years. Hopefully, we will see it run more or less without incident and people will realise how irrational the Channel Tunnel’s safety authority is. They seem to be good at not preventing incidents, yet applying enormous amounts of red tape in areas that don’t prevent accidents.
Anyway, as far as HS2 goes, none of the three factors mentioned are at all relevant, as it is a relatively uncomplicated national railway without any extremely long tunnels. Also,LondonandBirminghamare undisputedly large population centres, unlike many of the places inKentserved by HS2.
Anyway, if HS2’s opponents are worried about the cost of it, they should persuade the NIMBYs along the route to stop advocating for silly tunnels that are not necessary from an engineering point of view. Tunnels are considerably more expensive than above-ground railway lines, so it is gross hypocrisy to say the line is immoral because of its cost, yet demand expensive and unnecessary mitigation measures.
Tell us what you think – have your say below, or email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org