re-diverting public funds from building unnecessary high-speed rail links between London & the North
Philip Hammond recently announced a multi-billion pound investment to install high-speed rail services between London and Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and other cities in the north. The overall effect would be reducing journey time by a only a matter of a few minutes. I believe the government needs to divert their attention to more pressing matters in green and energy-efficient transport, rather than trying to keep up with the Jones'es by building unnecessary rail systems on already adequate services.
The preferred route for the proposed High sped rail link between London and Birmingham slices through the Chiltern Hills, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Ancient woodland will be destroyed and stunning countryside lost for future generations. This beautiful landscape, a precious resource in the south east of the country, deserves our protection from yet more development in the pursuit of economic growth.
Francis Chin commented
A significant benefit of additional high speed rail links (such as HS2) is in the valuable additional capacity that it creates for both passenger and freight. This new capacity benefits not just the wider rail network, but surrounding roads by substituting freight traffic.
Unlike many infrastructure schemes that primarily benefit the London conurbation, this will help our northern cities secure and retain business and so jobs, particularly in the private sector. Leaving our nation's transport links underdeveloped simply serves to drive growth in and around London; this drives inequality, evident in the poorer employment situation in the north.
Your assertion about "already adequate services" is incorrect - capacity is already inadequate, and we must make long-term investments for the sake of a better future. A decent choice of jobs is what the country needs, and not just in London; improved infrastructure is essential for this. The less well-off would benefit disproportionally from improved economic prospects in the north, particularly as they are not free to move to London where the cost of housing, living etc. is high.
I agree. We should be investing this money in the whole network, such as the antiquated Paddington to Penzance line, which may fall into the sea at Dawlish in a few years time. Upgrading this line (electrification?) and others in a similar state should be the priority, not the high-speed link.
I believe this will ba massive mistake, have a negative impact on the countryside, wildlife and the families that live around the newly proposed route. I also feel that it will bring no economic benefit whatsoever. The jobs that I have no doubt will be flouted as a benefit will be mainly filled by cheap european labour thereby guaranteeing a profit (once again) for the fat cats. In the end the taxpayer will foot the bill and our beautiful countryside will be scarred forever, what price Englands green and pleasant land? 10 minutes earlier arrival at a train station, another "idea" thought up by people who do not seem to care tuppence what happens to the country or the people in it.
This is financial rape of taxpayer money and should be treated as an act of treason - as it is diverting funds that could save lives in other more useful projects.
The recipe is always the same :-
- announce a grand project (Millenium Dome, Millenium Stadium, Wembley, Olympics, High speed rail
- give the financial figure make it small to start with (£32billion is certianly not what they have in mind £60 billion is probably more like it)
- publicise a fake "open tender" (knowing in advance that only 2 of your buddy companies will get the contract.
- 5 years into the project announce delays,/difficulties so you can milk the taxpayer for more money
- 8 years into the project announce more delays/difficulties and state that the project costs have doubled
- 2 years before completion announce that the project has been "grossly understimated due to unforseen circumstance - more manoey demanded from the Public purse
- 1 year before completion use the "blame it on the contractors" clause and use it to extract even more money from the taxpayer
- Result in most cases - taxpayer unsatisfied - a number of white elephants produced.
This will only stop once the Public wake up to the fact that we are being conned and put a stop to it!
Conal Goodale commented
Government predicted to announce HS2 final decision this coming week, could be as early as this coming Tuesday.
Stephen Dowson commented
The government should not be investing billions of pounds in new high speed rail links, when the present network needs upgrading - including the high speed trains we already have!
The government consultation is active here until 31st July this year:
Please send them your comments!
DERRICK LOVERING commented
Strongly disagree with some of the views of Dilraj Sokhi. MORE and FASTER TRAINS, MORE and ADEQUATE PASSENGER STATIONS will drive people off the roads which are anathema. I say this as a car owner/user of a powerful car which I can ill-afford to fully insure and fill up with petrol. The best energy efficient transport system is rail. It is cleaner, safer, less stressful, and the trend of increasing car fuel prices makes us as a nation less dependent on countries the likes of Libya. In 1953/1954 there was a recruiting drive for new employees and the pursuasion at that time was that rail would undergo a massive exciting change from steam over to electrification. What happened? I'll tell you what, successive Governments bowed and worshipped alternatives which procured larger profitability. Sooner I hope, rather than later, the likes of Dilraj Sokhi will begin to see how negativity can cripple progress for the better.
Love this campaign. There is another campaign idea on HS2 gaining massive momentum (currently 4th) . Take a look and if you, like place your vote.
roger waller commented
This project smacks of Politicians vanity! We should all ask why with all the cuts are we promising this huge amount of OUR money on a rail line? Could it not be spent on other services being cut currently or in increasing electronic communication to reduce travel demands. Holland is frantically trying to avoid its HSR line being declared bankrupt. Will our "leaders" never learn?
£500 million per minute saved
£160 million per mile to build
£54 million from each constituency
£1,000 subsidy from each tax payer - that's you and me.
Are we mad?
Richard Lloyd commented
CPRE has it right in saying Hammond is fixated on the highest possible speed, to the detriment of CO2, the environment, and public money. No work has been done on lower speed alternatives. Imperial College report that 3.5 minutes will cost 23% extra energy. It's lunacy to transfer the great majority of passengers from less-polluting transport just to get a tiny minority off aircraft. As for capacity, modern signalling, taking out bottlenecks, and longer trains would be adequate for decades - WCML manages 53 carriages an hour on one track, whereas HS2 plan to run 288, with half the time between trains despite the higher speed. The sooner HS2 goes back to the drawing board, the better.
Heinz Richardson commented
It is absolutely vital for future generations that this unnecessary white elephant is halted in its tracks. The countryside that will be destroyed is irreplaceable and the introduction of yet another railway line to transport only the privileged few a matter of minutes faster is beyond belief. The money would be better invested in education and existing transport corridors upgraded appropriately. Speed isn't the be all and end all of life and at £30billion is a complete waste of money.
Conventional rail infrastructure is expensive to buy/maintain. A monorail levitation system like the Tokyo Bullet system would be better. High level , you dont hit cows, no ballast/tracks to replace & run mainly off wind turbines alongside it !!! Airtravel will soon to be unaffordable to most,fuel worldwide running out !!! Needs to be nationwide plan for the future !!! Foolish trying to upgrade existing infrastucture from the days when trains only had to do 60 MPH...if only the nation adopted Brunels wider track system you may have had a chance !?!? Lets make the girders from British steel too!!! Bring back manufacturing before it's too late !!! SOAPBOXY - sorry !!!
stuart seager commented
Its just not worth spending the money at this time of all times, and coupled to the destruction that will be caused to some of the uk's finest landscape, it beggars belief that the coalition would consider backing the project. Money would be better spent funding smaller scale local projects to drive local economies.
Graham Martin commented
I'm actually quite baffled by the discussion on here, which represents a wholesale failure to understand High Speed rail. The time savings are likely to be considerably higher than most people are suggesting, especially on the longer journeys to Manchester and Leeds.
Also, the new services will move passengers out of seats on existing services - a vast improvement for anyone trying to travel on trains between other stations on the existing lines. There are plenty of passengers to go round. Also, maybe if some business men made it to Leeds we could get some investment going in Yorkshire, please?
I've noticed people peddling the "West Coast upgrade" idea - take a look at the departures out of Euston and you'll realise we will soon need another 2 tracks just to cope - or we could build a separate high speed line and focus the current line on intercity and regional travel.
In most of Europe, there is a 4-level rail strategy (hi speed, intercity, regional and local). That's an integrated transport system, not lumping everyone on the same wretched regional-ish service like most British railway companies try to push on passengers.
Helen Dobson commented
A new rail link which will cost billions, benefitting few, inconveniencing many, tearing up great swathes of this green and pleasant land, and which moreover, will ignore the existing infrastructure which could so easily be upgraded? In these times of austerity? Sounds crazy doesn't it? It cannot be allowed to go ahead.
L Richards commented
What a waste of money we don't have when there are a million more important things to spend our money on, rather than cutting up our beautiful countryside for the sole purpose of cutting 20 minutes off the journey time between London and Birmingham.
Anna King commented
It seems a farce that the government can justify the cost whilst they are making so many cut backs to public spending not to mention the cost to the environment.
Steve Copley commented
Totally crazy waste of money. Politicians spending taxpayers money on what they perceive to be high profile pet projects when the country desperately needs improved local infrastructure and economically
and environmentally viable investments. HS2 is classic politicians spin.
Alison Shedd commented
33 Billion is a disgraceful figure for saving 30 minutes off a train journey. Improvements to internet and phone lines would be more beneficial to the economy and the environment. High speed trains are far from being "Green", as they use more power than our regular trains. The fuel needed for the concrete for this "link" is shameful. The loss of Britains beautiful counrtryside can never been replaced. HS2 will crucify this country.