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HS2 - Is it worth it?


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#1 Martyn Sadler

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:17 AM

Peter Mandelson is one of a growing number of sceptics about the wisdom of proceeding with HS2.

 

See the following article: http://www.independe...on-8685062.html.

 

I've been sceptical all along. There seems to be some evidence that high speed rail links simply make it easier for organisations in capital cities to avoid decentralising to the provinces.

 

One of the best examples seems to be the Madrid-Seville HS link, which, on balance, appears to have sucked investment out of Seville that might otherwise have gone there.

 

Even then, HS2 may arguably benefit Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and Leeds. But not anywhere else.

 

I just don't think the cost and the disruption is worth the money, which could be far better spent elsewhere, not least on improving the rest of the railway system.



#2 Futtocks

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:25 AM

I have yet to be convinced that the benefits (if any) will outweigh the expense. Especially as the final cost of projects like this almost always rise by a significant amount from that projected.

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#3 archibald

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:29 AM

Of course it's not "worth it", but then it wasn't worth going to the moon. There was a radio programme on a while back and there was objections when the first railways were planned/extended, sheep contamination seemed high on the list of peoples concerns as well as the cost.

 

Get the damn thing built.



#4 Griff9of13

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:48 AM

IMO, no it's not worth it. The routes that it is aimed at already have a pretty quick service (London - Birmingham under 1.5 hours. London - Manchester/Liverpool around 2 hours) and HS2 will not drastically reduce these times. In fact, because there is no planned major redevelopment of Euston and the fact that most of the new stations on the line will be out of town locations and rely on the existing network to get passengers to these locations, the door to door differences to the present times will be virtually nil.

 

The £32bn could have been much better spent upgrading the existing railway network. An example; I travelled from my home town of Formby on Saturday to Manchester. A journey of less than 50 miles took 1 hour 45 minutes! Journey times between Liverpool and Manchester were better at the end of the 19th century than they are in the 21st :blink:

 

Also, as is the way with these things, the proposed £32bn will look like peanuts compared to the final cost. <_<


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#5 bearman

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:51 AM

No it's not worth it. I am a regular rail traveller and a big fan of the railways generally.
By the time that it comes on stream it will be comparable to the fastest trains in Europe but about 50 years behind them, where is the innovation in that?
Because the distances between large cities in this country are so short compared to say France the shaving off of a few minutes is not worth that expense. It would be far better to spend that sort of money in a radical overhaul of the infrastructure and design new and better rolling stock.
The system wants overhauling too.
At the moment trains are rarely late, they are no faster than they were under BR but they are more punctual. Why? Because the timetables have been tweaked to ensure that trains are not late so the the operating companies are not fined for unpunctuality.
For example trains now dash at 100mph between stops and then spend 5 minutes at each stop, that gives them a built in safety net to allow for possible delays and over a journey from London to Glasgow adds about 40 minutes to the actual travel time.
So lets not strive for the fastest trains in the world, lets strive for the best service in the world
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#6 shrek

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 11:59 AM

Also, as is the way with these things, the proposed £32bn will look like peanuts compared to the final cost. <_<

Caught a piece on the radio yesterday and I'm sure they said 1/3 of the current budget was being held back for "contingencies". But these contingencies don't include any deviation from the current route, any additional tunneling, any moving of planned stations or any additional stations being required.  So I think your bang on the money as soon as the local objections kick in and you start throwing in a few more miles of tunnels or modifications to stations/layouts its going to sky rocket.

 

Don't see the point myself, I can get to London from Wigan in 2 hours, its doable in a day, if this would bring the price down I'd be up for it, as someone who pays my own travel expenses for work I hold fire for the massive drop off in price for the return journeys after 6.30, but to save a few minutes forget it especially as I suspect this timesaving will need fares to go up across the board!



#7 Wolford6

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 12:02 PM

If Mandelson's against it, I'm for it.


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#8 Griff9of13

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 12:56 PM

If Mandelson's against it, I'm for it.

 

Even a stopped clock can be right twice a day. <_<


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#9 gingerjon

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 01:16 PM

Even a stopped clock can be right twice a day. <_<

 

If you're going to steal great lines from my twitter feed that I stole from Withnail then please acknowledge them!

 

(Or, "Wow, great minds, eh?")


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#10 Wolford6

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 01:53 PM

Yes, but Cheryl Gillan is also against it, for the sound economic and technological reasons that the new line runs close to her house.


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#11 nadera78

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 02:01 PM

The budget has already increased to 42 billion. That way they can bring in it at 41.9 and claim it is under budget, even though they've long said it will cost 32 billion.

 

Its an unnecessary project that will make some very rich people even richer and not do much else for the rest of us.


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#12 gingerjon

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 02:10 PM

Yes, but Cheryl Gillan is also against it, for the sound economic and technological reasons that the new line runs close to her house.

 

Ah.

 

The rather tired "Oh, it's just Chiltern NIMBYs argument."


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#13 Wolford6

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 02:58 PM

Can I take it that the route goes near your house as well.

 

Money's better spent on infrastructure than on Trident, stupid wars that we can't win and financing Islamist retards .


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#14 D9000

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Posted 03 July 2013 - 03:05 PM

HS2 is widely misunderstood: it isn't the answer to the question 'how do we get people from London to Brum quicker', but the question 'the West Coast Main Line South of Rugby is full to bursting, and we can't run any more trains on it'.

 

There are three answers to the problem:

 

1.   Suppress demand by increasing fares, thus reducing the number of people travelling. 

2.   Increase the number of tracks between Rugby and Wembley from four to six.

3.   Build a new line. And if you build a new line, it may as well be a high-speed one, since it doesn't cost any more to do so.

 

Option 3 is cheaper than option 2 (which would mean demolishing far more buildings, and take much longer to do, since you'd have to keep the existing line running whilst building the extra tracks).

 

I don't believe there is much case for extending the HS line any further North than Brum, as the capacity issues are not as acute on the Midland and East Coast lines (if we ignore the shocking lack of platform space at St Pancras), but I think the plan for phase 1 is still a goer, and ought to be done. Reductions of journey times will be a nice benefit, but the real gain will be the ability to run more trains.



#15 gingerjon

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 06:25 AM

Can I take it that the route goes near your house as well.


Pretty close - within half a mile I think. Underground at that point though so not an issue.
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#16 ckn

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 09:02 AM

HS2 is widely misunderstood: it isn't the answer to the question 'how do we get people from London to Brum quicker', but the question 'the West Coast Main Line South of Rugby is full to bursting, and we can't run any more trains on it'.

 

There are three answers to the problem:

 

1.   Suppress demand by increasing fares, thus reducing the number of people travelling. 

2.   Increase the number of tracks between Rugby and Wembley from four to six.

3.   Build a new line. And if you build a new line, it may as well be a high-speed one, since it doesn't cost any more to do so.

 

Option 3 is cheaper than option 2 (which would mean demolishing far more buildings, and take much longer to do, since you'd have to keep the existing line running whilst building the extra tracks).

 

I don't believe there is much case for extending the HS line any further North than Brum, as the capacity issues are not as acute on the Midland and East Coast lines (if we ignore the shocking lack of platform space at St Pancras), but I think the plan for phase 1 is still a goer, and ought to be done. Reductions of journey times will be a nice benefit, but the real gain will be the ability to run more trains.

Option 4.  Provide tax incentives for companies to invest in alternative business strategies such as working from home for those who don't need to be in the office and decentralised support offices.

 

I'd rather look for alternative positive ways to get people out of trains on over-capacity commuter trains rather than white elephant projects that will never pay themselves back.  Option 1 has been in use for ages now and just penalises people for getting to the only jobs available for their skillsets, where do the government think these magic companies will come from that will employ these people penalised off trains?  Also, where does all this penalisation money go?  Certainly not into investing in quality trains.  Going in to London for me means travelling on old, past-it, dirty and cramped trains that will not be replaced for at least 6-7 years at an absolute minimum and more likely a decade because of the faffing about with franchises in this area.


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#17 RidingPie

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 09:12 AM

Of course it's not "worth it", but then it wasn't worth going to the moon. There was a radio programme on a while back and there was objections when the first railways were planned/extended, sheep contamination seemed high on the list of peoples concerns as well as the cost.
 
Get the damn thing built.


Interestingly going to the moon was worth it! Audits afterwards showed that for every dollar the spent on the project they got two back from patents or expertise being bought by other countries. Spending in science generally seems to be worth while from a fiscal perspective.

And while we're talking about HS2 here's an article from the guardian

http://www.guardian....s2-fusion-power

where is rounds the cost up to £50 billion (although it probably will reach that amount) which is the estimated cost of getting viable nuclear fusion.

Nuclear fusion or HS2? Fusion for me, there we would see a huge return on our money!

#18 l'angelo mysterioso

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:01 AM

the railways need massive investment

this is the wrong kind


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#19 Severus

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:07 AM

the railways need massive investment

this is the wrong kind

 

In a nutshell


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#20 D9000

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Posted 04 July 2013 - 10:09 AM

Option 4.  Provide tax incentives for companies to invest in alternative business strategies such as working from home for those who don't need to be in the office and decentralised support offices.

 

I'd rather look for alternative positive ways to get people out of trains on over-capacity commuter trains rather than white elephant projects that will never pay themselves back.  Option 1 has been in use for ages now and just penalises people for getting to the only jobs available for their skillsets, where do the government think these magic companies will come from that will employ these people penalised off trains?  Also, where does all this penalisation money go?  Certainly not into investing in quality trains.  Going in to London for me means travelling on old, past-it, dirty and cramped trains that will not be replaced for at least 6-7 years at an absolute minimum and more likely a decade because of the faffing about with franchises in this area.

 

Where are these old and past-it trains for commuting into London, cos we'd like some of them in the South West, please, instead of Pacers. And, no, commuters are not overcharged. Season tickets are incredibly cheap: a 2nd class annual season from Arundel to London, including an all-zones London Travelcard, works out at £13.50 per day. For peak time travel. Bargain.






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