Vested political and supply-side interests try to keep te HS2 train wreck running towards the buffers
Philippa Oldham, Head of Transport at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said in response to the Government’s updated business case on HS2:
“This business case offers welcome clarification of the benefits of rolling out HS2. HS2 provides the step change required to help to remove the bottlenecks in our transport infrastructure by increasing our capacity limits and helping to bridge the North South divide. Introducing HS2 will increase capacity for long distance travellers but also regional and local services on the existing railway – HS2 would be at the heart of an enhanced UK transport system that interfaces with every part of the UK.
“Commitment to HS2 also provides the UK’s engineering industry with the much-needed confidence to invest in future skills and will help the UK become a world leader in the development and delivery of railway technology. Over 95% of Crossrail’s budget to date has been won by UK-based businesses – and this is something which could and should be replicated in HS2.
“It is also important to note, that upgrading the UK’s railways is not an inexpensive alternative to HS2. These upgrades would likely lead to reduced operating services, travel disruptions and delays, as illustrated by the recent West Coast Main Line upgrade, which will also adversely affect business performance. The upgrade of the West Coast Main Line will also only meet forecasted demand until the mid 2020s and we would then need to invest again in a new transport corridor.
“The HS2 project is at a far more advanced stage of planning and scrapping the project at this stage would mean the waste of millions of pounds worth of work that has already happened.
“The UK national rail network continues to see growth year on year, with 1.5 billion passenger journeys in 2011/12, which represents an increase of over 50% in a decade. With this increase expected to continue to match population growth, we need strong Government leadership to ensure HS2 happens.”