Thursday, 18 November 2021

HS rail rage (with modified rapture)

The plan for a High Speed rail line from London to Leeds and Manchester via Birmingham (and eventually to Scotland) was a daft idea from the start.  I'm getting forgetful of the details but I seem to remember that it was originally estimated to cost around £30bn, and has now escalated to  around £100bn.  It was sold  as absolutely essential for the prosperity of the northern economy (now re-branded as the Northern Powerhouse)

It was actually a prestige project in the gleaming eyes of politicians with happy childhood memories of playing with Hornby Model Railways who were determined to leave their mark.  Although as far as I know he wasn't involved in the original conception, our current prime minister Johnson is a sucker for such projects (hence the trip wire across the Thames, the London airport floating on a mud flat, bridge to Northern Ireland and a Garden Bridge across the Thames).

If we had to have a prestige high speed railway running up and down the country in order to promote Northern prosperity then it would have made more sense to start it in Scotland or, failing that, Leeds.

But no, it started in London, and the development of the London to Birmingham bit is already well under way.

Criticisms of the original scheme are outlined here

 A more sensible alternative is HSUK which was applauded on an earlier post, and integrates with the existing railway system rather than operating largely independently.  It provides greater connectivity to far more towns in the North and Midlands than does HS2, and at a fraction of the cost.

On the brighter side,  amazingly the voices that enthused about the original HS2 are now telling us how much better  the scrapping of the Birmingham-Leeds link and the diversion of  funds to the existing network  to building of a high speed line between Leeds and Manchester will be for us. 

 Our governments may be not much good at planning but the are masters and mistresses of PR

I hope it will pass through Dewsbury, which I further hope will be provided with a public toilet. (Tomorrow, 19th November is World Toilet Day - see last year's post).

Sadly Bradford, the Yorkshire city probably most in need of an uplift, misses out. So does the whole of Yorkshire.  In  government expenditure per head on  transport  London comes top with £903, Yorkshire bottom with £276.

No change yet there than.


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