Why are so many people mad at HS2?
For a railway line touted as the backbone of Britain’s transport network, the project is slowly turning into the type of thorny political conundrum that pisses everyone off, whatever their views on the plan.
Tweaks never work well enough for MPs who are against it.
One long-term critic said, “They should sell it and put the money in the bank if it’s miserable.”
The danger is that as the scheme’s salami slicing progresses, even those who support it begin to wonder if the government will end up spending too much money on a project that doesn’t really serve its declared purpose. That’s it.
The delayed completion of the Birmingham to Crewe section has made headlines, but two other long-term changes lurking in the announcement are also significant.
First, there is growing uncertainty about when HS2 trains will actually arrive in central London.
Priority will be given to the route from Old Oak Common in West London to Birmingham, with Euston being delivered along Manchester.
Given that the Manchester Link’s current timetable is 2035-41, this intercity connection may experience longer wait times to reach the heart of the country’s capital.
Officials say the government is still “fully committed” to Euston, but acknowledge the situation is “difficult”.
Secondly, promises to build a new line from Crewe to Manchester appear to have softened somewhat.
The existing timetable for high-speed trains arriving in Manchester has not been changed, according to government sources.
However, it is largely unclear whether this will be achieved by sending vehicles onto existing tracks or by laying new tracks.
Just upgrading your current network is risky. Placing high-speed trains on the same tracks as services that stop at lower speeds risks limiting capacity and reliability benefits.
“That’s what determines if it’s all a waste of money. Modernizing the West Coast route would have cost £25 billion in today’s money and the capacity advantage would have been swallowed up in two years.
On the positive side for the government, Tory MPs, who held a constituency along the route between Crewe and Manchester, may have breathed a sigh of relief.
That said, the negative impact of further delays on this project may outweigh the political gains.
Remember, the eastern leg of the line to Leeds was discontinued just over a year ago.
Can it really be argued that ministers are dedicated to leveling up in the Midlands and the North when the most visible signs of this concept are being continuously cut back?
The government says these latest changes are being made due to higher prices and high inflation in the construction sector.
Shifting timescales can mean being able to stay on budget in the short term.
But in the long run, even the bosses of the company set up to build the railroad suggest the delay will cost the entire project to be completed.
So where do we end up?
A heavily delayed and heavily over-budgeted railway line runs across large stretches of the existing tracks and does not even reach central London at first.
No wonder so many people are pissed off at HS2.
https://news.sky.com/story/for-a-rail-line-pitched-as-the-backbone-of-britains-transport-network-hs2-is-morphing-into-a-conundrum-that-angers-everybody-12829781 For a rail line touted as the backbone of the UK’s transport network, HS2 is turning into an angry conundrum.political news