The HS2 is becoming a steamroller gravy train for those who have invested so much time, effort and personal prestige into the project. It is becoming one of those projects “too big to fail”, “too far down the line to stop”. Though the idea of a faster and easier rail transport is a good one, this HS2 project is tremendously flawed.
It is true the WCML from Rugby to Euston is becoming saturated. It is true the MML needs to be upgraded from St. Pancras to Yorkshire. It is true the line from East Midlands Parkway to Leeds needs a lot of new construction. It is also true that most of HS2, especially in stage 2, is not justifiable.
-The Birmingham through station is out in the wilds miles from anywhere – why not use the airport station?
-What justification is there for the branch to Manchester and Wigan? Absolutely none for most of its length which some curve straightening and fourtracking could solve. The only part necessary is from Manchester airport to Piccadilly. The airport station is not even at the airport but a considerable distance away.
-The line from Birmingham to East Midlands is an improvement but really justifiable?
-The stretch to Leeds, though more necessary than others, does not even enter Nottingham nor Sheffield but stops out in the boondocks.
I could go on but will limit this to say that we should demand comparative figures for parallel stretches of the new HS2 and the cost of upgrading the classic lines to near HS standards. Then we would see whether parts are necessary or viable or not. I suspect the “powers that be” are too afraid to provide that information and might even doctor it to suit their agenda.
The real benefits for Scotland would be new construction from Oxenholme to Glasgow on one side while from Newcastle to Edinburgh on the other. Then noticeable speed gains would be seen.
At the moment HS2 gives the impression of being built just for speed. With so few stops the passengers seem to be an inconvenience. Whatever is built should be for the users – the paymasters – the passengers. Build for the benefit of the greater good for the greater number, not just a few.