Mystery over tunnelling costs as DfT tries to manage media coverage

January 11th, 2012 Christian Says 32 comments
One of the big mysteries of yesterday's HS2 announcement was how the Department had pulled off the trick of adding in five miles of extra tunnelling and yet seemingly the cost of the project has remained the same. Pressed on this point on Newsnight, Norman Baker was vague saying there was an extra cost,but he was very unspecific and was not pressed by the other participants in the discussion. However, buried ...

IEA report mixes the good, the bad and the ugly

July 20th, 2011 Christian Says 16 comments
There are good reasons and bad reasons to oppose - or indeed support - HS2. The report by the right wing Institute of  Economic Affairs published yesterday is a mix of both. It is excellent on debunking the business case. which it tears asunder, quite rightly. It shows quite clearly that the fundamental arguments for HS2 are based on very flimsy foundations.  I  do not buy, however, the notion that HS2 ...

HS2 opposition mounts

March 13th, 2011 Mail on Sunday 3 comments
When  the first line between London and Birmingham  was  being  mooted  in the 1830s,  a Berkhamsted landowner, Sir Astley  Cooper, called the idea ‘preposterous in the extreme’ and suggested that  ‘if  this sort of thing be permitted to go on, you will in a very few years  destroy the noblesse’ . Well it did go on, and Britain ended up with 20,000 miles of railways  ¬– without losing  its noblesse. In  fact,  ...

High speed rethink is good politics but still a fantasy

October 5th, 2010 Yorkshire Post 68 comments
THE coalition Government is learning that being in power is a very different matter to opposition. Plans have to be properly formulated and ideas have to be more than mere musings. That's why the Conservative concept for the proposed north-south high-speed line has been changed radically from the form it took in opposition. The news that Philip Hammond, the Transport Secretary, has now agreed there should be a Y-shaped route rather ...

Hammond is all politics

October 3rd, 2010 Christian Says 4 comments
Two decisions by Philip Hammond over the past couple of days. First he is apparently going to scrap the bus lane on the M4 and now he is going to announce that the S shaped route for the new high speed line has been scrapped in favour of Labour's Y shape. Both these are pure politics. Scrapping the bus lane, which was controversial when it first opened, is yet another tick in ...

Rail 652: the arguments mount against HS2

September 15th, 2010 Rail Magazine 23 comments
The launch of the compensation scheme for people affected by the High Speed Line between London and Birmingham shows that the Coalition government mean business in pressing ahead with the scheme. Real money is being spent with an initial £50m expected to be paid to people on the route although that is a guesstimate since legally the total amount cannot be capped and it could end up being much more. ...
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