.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Monday, September 18, 2023

A railway to nowhere?

Nothing better defines the incompetence of this government than the farcical delivery of the HS2 project. Massively overbudget and behind schedule, this project is becoming a financial and political millstone around the government's neck, and will most probably be an intractable burden to the next half dozen governments as well.

Rishi Sunak's solution apparently, is to scale it back in an effort to make it more affordable. but in doing so he is undermining the line's purpose and turning it into an even bigger white elephant.

The Independent reports on claims that the Prime Minister is said to be keen to axe part of the HS2 link running into central London so that it stops six miles north of Euston.

At the same time, MPs and northern mayors, along with business and transport leaders, have reacted with fury to reports that the second stage of HS2 from Birmingham to Manchester could be ditched over cost concerns:

Mr Sunak is also pushing to end the line early in the capital, so that trains would have to stop at Old Oak Common, six miles away from Euston, according to The Times.

Although discussions are still active, a senior government source told the newspaper that the PM had already “made up his mind” to axe both the line going into Euston and the Manchester link.

“Unless he can be persuaded to change course, it is a done deal,” they said, adding: “Ending the line at Old Oak Common is pretty much the definition of a railway to nowhere.”

Scrapping the Euston link would save at least £4.8bn – the estimated cost of the upgrade to the central London station that would enable it to link to the high-speed line and accommodate HS2 trains.

HS2 services were due to start running into Euston when the project reaches Manchester in 2040. But scrapping the final section would mean passengers having to get off at Old Oak Common – near Harlesden in northwest London – and take the Elizabeth line into central London.

Mr Hunt confirmed in an interview with the Financial Times that he was discussing how to address HS2 cost overruns with Mr Sunak – and he refused to promise that the part of the project serving Manchester would be completed.

“With any big infrastructure project, let alone the biggest infrastructure project in the country, you would expect us to have conversations about managing cost overruns,” Mr Hunt said.

Asked whether HS2 would be built in full, the chancellor said: “I’m not going to be drawn on the details.”

A cost estimate seen by The Independent shows that the government has already spent £2.3bn on stage two of the high-speed railway from Birmingham to Manchester, but shelving the northern phase would save up to £34bn.

Sitting on a train to nowhere pretty much sums up this government.
Old Oak Common is west of Euston, not north. It is also a stop on the Elizabeth line, so has better connections to most parts of Central London than Euston does.
It is still old tech from the 1800s.Japan had the Bullet Train decades ago.There is magna rail.Are we atuck in the past,controlled by people with money but no imagination for future development?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?