The British Government have decided to build a high-speed railway between London, Birmingham and beyond.
Excluding the significant costs related to the upheaval caused during construction, the net cost to British taxpayers will be more than £33 billion and the overall journey time will be cut by approximately 20 minutes.
Once completed the management and running of HS2 will be passed into private ownership and is expected to generate £34 billion ticket revenues over 60 years (£570 million per annum). It is unknown what profits the private company will generate for distribution to its shareholders or the level of remuneration to be paid to Board members and senior executives.
Unrealistic claims made by the pro-HS2 lobby:
Claim: £47 billion “benefits” will be generated over the next 60 years.
Reality: Against all the odds the existing network has generated a level of financial “benefit” over very many years. If the existing network were left exactly as it is, it would be illogical to suggest the financial “benefit”, over the next 60 years, will be less than that forecast after building HS2 at huge expense.
Claim: Phase one will “support” 40,000 jobs.
Reality: None of the setup jobs (construction and operational) are likely to be new on the grounds that UK already has a Construction Industry. The government attributes 30,000 of the total to “jobs growth” in regeneration areas linked to railway stations (which by and large already exist). Growth is not happening now so why would it suddenly start simply because the journey time from London is 20 minutes less. The argument is nonsense and the figures wishful.
At worst the HS2 project is a cynical diversion from hard Transport issues. All relevant government resources should be trained on remodelling the existing networks with the objective of making rail travel the first choice for every journey made in the UK. To do anything else at this time is delusional and a project the scale of HS2, sheer vanity.