Posted 9th October 2019 | 3 Comments

9 October: news in brief

Adam Smith Institute says ‘scrap HS2’

RIGHT WING think tank the Adam Smith Institute says the government should look again at HS2, after confirmation that the costs of the project are rising. The Institute says the money should be invested in alternative rail projects, including upgrades of the West Coast, East Coast and Midland Main Lines, as well as the rebuilding of the Great Central Railway as far as Rugby. The ASI is still in favour of a new station at Old Oak Common, to provide more capacity in London for trains from the north of England.

Reader Comments:

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  • david c smith, Bletchley

    The ideas of relatively high speed (up to 200mph) and of capacity relief are, in the right circumstances, fine, but it seems to me that it may have been a mistake to mix them together in Britain ; we end up with a series of short - ish , very high speed lines, linked together , to give roundabout routes, end to end.
    The only route in GB that is long enough to justify very high speed is from London to NE England and the Scottish Central Belt , which could be built relatively cheaply utilising a mixture of resignalled existing ECML stretches and about three new - build cutoffs (with 200mph limits), enabling a "sea change" in day - return potential and competitiveness with Aviation.
    Apart from this one route, the more general capacity enhancements could be best achieved through conventional track upgrades, in particular a rebuilt Great Central south from Rugby / Nuneaton.

  • Melvyn Windebank, Canvey Island, Essex

    Best remind Adam Smith of the WCML upgrade where billions were spent and yet without tilting Pendolino trains the railway is still just a 100 mph railway and a very full one !

    HS2 provides a brand new railway built to 21st Century standards and large enough for duplex trains or continental gauge sized trains as now used on Eurostars to extend north of London.

    So where are you going to build extra tracks on existing railways with buildings along both sides ?

    HS2 is the cheapest solution and it's speed is no different to when Brunel built the GWR capable of unheard of speeds of 50 mph in the days of horse travel !

  • david c smith, Bletchley

    I'm politically non - partisan, but can see sense in this proposal. If, as the Adam Smith institute believes, a market forces approach rather than monolithic command & control is a better way forward, then all costs and benefits need to be present in the market place, including "hidden" costs and benefits.
    Perhaps the role of government should be to inject incentives into the transport market so as to rectify the above shortcomings, and then let the various TOCs,FOCs, and other bodies interract, rather than trying to micro - control ? ,