Posted 6th August 2018 | 7 Comments

HS2 needs £43bn invested in related transport links

[Revised version, 7 August 2018]

THE chair of the national infrastructure commission says £43 billion should be spent on local transport networks in areas to be served by HS2, so that the most can be made of the scheme.

Former Network Rail chief executive Sir John Armitt said the money would be needed to avoid the possibility of ‘inadequate transport links’ connecting with the new line.

The likely cost of all the planned phases varies according to the source, and also whether rolling stock is included, but one recent estimate by the Cabinet Office is reported to have suggested a total of £80 billion – without additional funding for related transport. The official total for HS2 itself is currently £56 billion.

In an article in the Sunday Telegraph, Sir John said: “HS2 is the most significant investment in the capacity and connectivity of our transport networks for a generation or more. The potential impact could extend 100 years or more, and its upfront costs should be considered in that context.

“But this also means we cannot simply construct a new high speed rail line and leave it at that: to get the biggest bang for our buck we need to think about the whole journey.

“All this would mean the UK’s cities outside London receiving a £43 billion boost in funding up to 2040.

“Recent reports suggest that HS2 Ltd has spent £4.1billion before construction and since 2009. With £1.6 billion of this said to be for requisitioning land and property, time will tell whether this is the right level of investment – if indeed the figures are correct.  But as with any project keeping a keen eye on the figures is key.”

He explained: “In July we published the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment, looking at how to best meet the country’s infrastructure needs over the next three decades and across a range of sectors including transport, energy, digital technology, flood risk management, waste and water supplies.  It includes support for Crossrail 2 increasing capacity between north and south London, but also for Northern Powerhouse Rail, which would improve links between HS2 and cities including Sheffield, Hull, Liverpool and Newcastle.

“But once people set foot on the platform and start their journey into the city they are visiting, they would currently face gridlock on the roads as they try to get from A to B.  Alongside investment in rail links across the country, we need to better fund improvements to transport within our great cities.”

Some transport schemes have already been associated with HS2, such as a proposed extension of the Nottingham tram system to Toton, which is the site of a projected hub station to serve the East Midlands.

In a statement, the National Infrastructure Commission has since added: “We need to invest both in our intercity links and in urban networks which is why we have proposed devolving powers and funding to cities across the country helping to improve local transport connections.

“This, on top of HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail and Crossrail 2 in London will help boost economic growth.”

The additional spending has prompted a quick reaction from opponents, such as Tory MP Cheryl Gillan, who represents Chesham and Amersham, She has consistently argued against the scheme, which involves a route through the Chilterns,

She told the Independent: “One of the major problems has always been that the connectivity is not there. But I don’t think anybody expected it to be twice the cost of HS2. This is money that wouldn’t be going into schools, the health service and making the existing railway system efficient and effective. It’s time for the government to re-evaluate from top to bottom whether this project is value for money for the taxpayer.”

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    Ah £80 billion now where have I seen that before ? Ah yes it's the same amount the discredited IEA report used way back when HS2 was yet to go through Parliament and was proved to include many schemes that had nothing to do with HS2 and some which hadn't even been agreed !

    Passengers using HS2 will simply board a HS2 train at a new platform at Euston Station and arrive at a new platform at same Manchester Piccadilly Station as they do today only they will arrive 1 hour sooner !

    In Birmingham they will arrive at new Curzon Street Station which is next to Moor Street Station and it seems that if New Street Station gained a new entrance at opposite end of its platforms then passengers would only be 100 metres from Curzon Street Station!

    I don't remember Railways getting funding when Motorways were being built in fact quite the opposite so can't see why roads should get funded unless their users pay just like rail passengers do !

  • Tim Price, Bramcote

    It's already a 30+ minute journey from Nottingham to the current Toton Lane tram terminus. Add a few more minutes to the HS2 interchange, on trams that are nearly all standing room only during the day, and any benefit from using HS2 to the East Midlands is gone. To make it work a major upgrade will be needed to the lines connecting Nottingham and Derby, to Toton, along with a fast, modern and frequent connecting service.

  • David Starkie, London

    I note Armitt's afterthought (after Crossrail 2) "...but also for Northern Powerhouse Rail..." This sums up the London-centric nature of thinking. The first part of HS2 is intended to feed the London economy. Re-balancing the regions is just a fantasy.

  • david c smith, Bletchley

    I agree with Andrea - the present HS2 project has high costs per mile in return for a low extra benefit ( Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds are close enough to London for existing train services to already have the"lions' share" of the market ).

    As for extra capacity, this could be acheived for a fraction of HS2's price by reutilising the ex Great Central route south of Nuneaton / Rugby.

    It seems the only very high speed project that might make sense in this country would be London to Northeast England and theScottish Central belt,via an East Coast Alignment where new day return opportunities could make a "sea change".

  • Andrea, Chesham

    It just proves how badly designed the route of HS2 was in the first place. Why would anyone design such an expensive piece of infrastructure that failed to take the passenger from A to B, but left him stranded for his onward journey? Take Toton, for example, what is the point of travelling by ultra-high speed from London to Toton, only to have to change onto a tram in order to get to Nottingham? Why not just travel by direct train from London to Nottingham, thus saving an immense amount of money?

  • Tony Pearce, Reading

    Unfortunately I live near London and have to use Trains, Tubes and the M25/M4 regularly. I am convinced that this part of the UK is just full, and we just can't squeeze any more people in. The thought of all these extra Rail Passengers trying to get onto the Tube at Euston seems to be a recipe for disaster. One of my hobbies is to visit Arsenal Football Club at home and go by Tube. That is a horrific experience for anyone. If that happens at Euston with luggage we are going to end up with problems and not just time delays.

  • Michael, London, EU

    It is the 10th Anniversary of the Chinese HSR network creation and China has constructed almost 20,000km of LGVs! In the past decade in the UK, we have not even broken ground on HS2, HS3, HS4...HS24... HS36. The Necessary LGV network required to make no two cities anywhere in the UK or Ireland more than two hours travel time by train.
    In the long procrastinated time it is taking to plan the very curvy, wavy. far too many tunnels etc HS2 - not a single person nor article has mentioned the local connecting infrastructure until NOW.
    A prime example is Toton 'Parkway'. It is only a few km to the city centres of both Nottingham and Derby and with track re-alignment, electrification, and minor works at each station, the wider HS1/2 rolling stock could travel from Paris, Ashford, LGW, LHR, Toton, and terminate at Derby and Nottingham. By extending the track geometry a few extra KMs from each of the HS2, 3... stations, they can serve City Centres and be far more viable than beet root field station locations like Ebbsfleet and Haute Picardie.
    Ebbsfleet is just metres too far south to have a proper interchange with the North Kent Line. Having the edge of city centre stations like Manchester are ok but they Need to have a same gauge and track geometry lines into the main city centre stations. By having HSTs call at Toton Parkway and then carry on and terminate at Derby and Nottingham, it gives each of these (and all others along the route with termination points) a minimum of a Half Hourly Service possible due to the Parkway stations being only calling point stations. It relieves the platforms from the congestion that will obviously occur otherwise.
    Additionally, HS2,3,... 36 etc should be build such as France LGV Sud Atlantic. The Main LGV is a straight as possible for future higher speed trainsets and all the calling points/stations are a branch off and on that can be taken or skipped based on the service pattern. HS2 passes very near Coventry but does not call at Coventry. Why is there not a flying spur off and on in each direction so trains that call at all stations or trains that need to be moved out of way of faster longer distance services can be routed by Coventry and similar cities.
    And PLEASE look at the video of the route of HS2... too many curves, too many up/downs, too many tunnels, etc. Put HS2 on pillars 10 to 15m above ground level so all the 'nature' can pass under and the passengers get a prime view of the so called 'area of natural beauty'. I have been to every county in UK, Ireland, France, etc etc... and if anyone plopped me down in the chilterns, I would not be able to say I was in the chilterns as opposed to any other man-made landscape. Yes all our landscapes are Man-Made as it was only 12800 years ago the British Isles were under several Kilometres of ICE/Glaciers. If a NIMLE (not in my little Englander) does not want to view the pillars and viaducts - let the local community do a crowd fund raiser to clad the concrete with Portland stone or marble or granite etc. Pass the onus onto those who complaineth the most.