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HS2. Will the 50 billion pound high speed rail project end up nearer 100 billion

... and does the UK even need a 250MPH service between the South and the North?

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Otb  Male  Dorset 25-Feb-2019 13:36 Message #4736077
I've just been reading about the UK's £31 billion submarine replacement programme with a £1 billion sub coming into commission about a year ago and, now, an even bigger one, HMS Warspite, being revealed today.

And I'm thinking £31Billion being spent on new submarines and £50 Billion being spent on the HR2 high speed rail programme?

Why do governments, (any governments), rarely "treat" society by really going to town mending roads, building hospitals, employing more doctors, nurses etc … rather than always promoting big, high value projects that society could probably do without?

We all learned a lesson earlier this months with the demise of the giant "double decker", Airbus 380 passenger aircraft. That company gambled on folk wanting to fly across the planet 500 - 600 at a time … via central hubs across countries whereas, as it turns out, passengers have, instead, followed Boeing's example of providing smaller planes able to fly direct to any city without needing the extra travel of reaching any kind of central hub network.

Could HS2's high speed rail project turn into a similar white elephant? Do we actually know what benefits, (for the money), such a service represents?

It was heralded as a green, right on, environmentally friendly project though it'll release more pollution than was first thought AND be noisier than EEC sound guidelines actually allow!

Is HS2 a good idea?
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 25-Feb-2019 13:58 Message #4736081
I never wanted it.

I'm sure I will be corrected if wrong but HS2 seemed enormously expensive to cut a rail journey by 20-30 minutes, not sure if it was London to Manchester, or further north when completed.

I'm not against progress, but I wondered who would benefit from this journey. Already, it can be out of my league to travel by train long distance. I once thought I would do the right thing, leave the car and take our family of five (then) to London and I think in the 90's it was £262 return!
Would people be commuting regularly at that level and would 30 minutes actually be worth it?

There was recently a documentary showing how many new homes they will have to destroy, people not being told what their compensation will be, the devastation of some sites of Special Interest, ancient woodlands.

At the same time, we have local rail services being described as like old coaches, new housing areas not being served by what Beeching closed down in the 50's.
persona_non_grata  Male  North London 25-Feb-2019 14:10 Message #4736084
I think the country needs HS2. I think it would be an enormous asset to the country and will of course make almost everywhere north of London quicker to reach. It will also encourage tourism from the EU (If we still let them in) when they can reach UK destinations as quickly as we can reach those in France and Europe. However I dont know enough about the expenditure or the advantages to state it is worth the enormous expense at this particular time.
Every project costs substantially more than the original estimates. I think this has been the case for hundreds of years but we still pretend to be surprised and feign shock each time it happens.
I also remember the tremedous embarrassment when the first trains flew across France at 300kph and came out of the tunnel into the UK and in places had to slow to 30kph.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 25-Feb-2019 14:32 Message #4736087
I live in S Bucks and we definitey dont want it. Its tearing apart our countryside,so many people have lost their homes and businesses, and what for ! It wont be knocking 20 mins of the journey to B'ham (as they keep telling us) because you will have to change trains before you get to B'ham anyway. There will be a giant viaduct going through the Gt Missenden/Wendover valley which will be an absolute monstrocity on the landscape. Its just a few miles from here and already, they are tearing up the landscape and peoples farms and homes. I know so many people who are affected by this insane proposed rail project.

As for the £50B - I think it will be more like £150B.

Who would have thought our lives would have changed so much with the Internet revolution.We should be seeking another form of transport altogether. We need a transport revolution

I cant see how it will help the way business's are run, as most companies use Internet Video conferencing now anyway.

I think HS2 is a complete waste of money and a white elephant in the making. I think it was Osbornes baby, what a waste of time, money, energy and common sense.

As you can guess, I feel strongly about it. We live with it here, on a day to day basis, and I am one of the lucky ones , not quite on top of it.

I dont even think the channel tunnel was a good idea. Have you ever been caught on the MWay when there is a problem. Lorries are backed up on the 'car park' for hours even days. It's bliddy chaos and time wasting, and a terrorist objective waiting to happen.
fosy  Male  Leicestershire 25-Feb-2019 17:17 Message #4736097
i think V is right, it will certainly cost 100 billion plus.

was it last week there was a programme about it being a waste of money ?...some number crunchers worked out that hs2 would return £1.27 per whatever, whereas putting the money into upgrading what we already have would return over £3 per whatever [i cant remember what measurement they used but it was a standard format].

its due to be discussed in parliament soon, and i detect a growing movement against it.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 25-Feb-2019 18:52 Message #4736120
I think its a mad idea, like Lyn I'm not against progress, but all I think it will do is push another few towns into being dormitary's for London. All the while the rest of the network suffers, theres a desperate need for the line between Manchester and Leeds to be upgraded, North Wales needs it rail network upgrading, its mad that it takes longer for the train to get into central Manchester from than it does to drive. Its hell in summer when people want to come down for a day or two, there are stations at all the beach towns and people should be encouraged to use them more and not drive, its so expensive too.
Otb  Male  Dorset 25-Feb-2019 19:06 Message #4736122
Yes, Just imagine the difference if even a fraction, say, a further £10 - £20 Billion were invested in the rail networks as they stand today. (Network Rail costs approx £10 Billion per annum to run currently).

Spending a 'one off' £10 - 20 Billion would, likely, iron out all current flaws … though, apparently, we would still need to invest the price of the HS2 project to even come up to the standard that European railways already enjoy.

Meaning; If we have £50 Billion to spend on our rail network, shouldn't we be investing that cash to modernise what we've got already before adding further new layers of expenditure on entirely new infrastructure?
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 25-Feb-2019 19:33 Message #4736128

Agreed, though locally they are looking at opening up what is a pretty good cycleway to being either a Heritage railway or a busway on what is known as the Lymm Railway.

A local town, Leigh, has converted an old railway to a busway with a cycle side road and it seems to be successful and can accommodate existing vehicles going on and off the "track".
Otb  Male  Dorset 25-Feb-2019 21:20 Message #4736144
It is good to learn that some of our ancient railway heritage is still available for public use though I wonder if Beeching is spinning in his grave? (Beeching being the Chairman of the "Railways" just over 50 years go and the man who closed down most of the UK's 2,363 stations and 5,000 miles of tracks he identified in his cost cutting report!

Though I quite like the idea that my West Dorset remains an almost secret county, (when compared to Devon and Cornwall), and doesn't have a motorway at all, (or a railway station closer than 12 miles from me), it breaks my heart to know that such an infrastructure would have been fantastic to have maintained. (Yes. Our old local railway track routes here have either reverted to nature, been transformed into public wildlife walks or just become derelict, though quaint, off grid locations).
Otb  Male  Dorset 25-Feb-2019 21:27 Message #4736145
Yes Fosy,

I was surprised to learn that the whole HS2 thing is already a year behind regarding an actual "start" for construction and is, as you rightly point out, is about to be discussed further in parliament, ( HS2 Phase 2a?) though, from what V has stated, (above), the clearing of land, stock fencing along some aspects of the route and other, preliminary tasks appear to be well underway.

Or have I got that wrong, V?

Has actual, bricks and mortar style construction yet got underway?
barney  Male  Surrey 26-Feb-2019 11:48 Message #4736184
I am totally against it because I know it will go billions over budget and take years to build, look at previous projects like the dome and crossrail.
I feel sorry for people along the route who thought they had worked hard to make a nice home or farm etc and then have it snatched away for a sum that is well under what its worth.
My son in law works for a global company with offices and factories all around the World. They have installed a room with a screen that covers the whole of one wall and can seat about 50 people so they can hold conferences without having to travel around the World, now that's going green and not leaving a carbon footprint.
As usual when these projects are halfway through the Government realise it was probably not needed.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 26-Feb-2019 12:24 Message #4736185
Lots of land clearance bits which now look like huge car parking areas - massive heaps of Chiltern chalk in lots of fields along the road following route, with heavy machinery now 'parked' on it. there have also been quite a few large excavations which are now covered up - no idea what went down into them unless it was underground drilling... they were big, and now covered, to the extent that vegetation is now growing on them. In some local areas, the historians are coming up with various tactics to delay the progress, like finding ancient burial sites, which now first have to excavated and investigated, before further work can continue. This is good to delay it, but sadly in the long run, its still going to 'cost us'.

There are also many houses, pubs, businesses which are all up for sale within 2 miles of either side of the route, at far below their value. The ones on the route have mostly been compulsory purchased now... to British Rail... which I dont understand, as they are not being demolished, unless they are on the actual actual direct line route.

A number of our 'rescue' chickens came from one such place - its a beautiful country house in about 40 acres - their compensation was between £2.5 - £3M. Yes, a lot of money, but it was worth FAR more. The place is absolutely fabulous which lots of land around their land too. Its less than 1/4mile from the viaduct route, yet compulsory purchased, and we are told railway officials will eventually be living there ??? When we got the chix, we learnt all about it. The owners were so upset having to find homes for their livestock (not really farm - more pets of a country estate). The cockerall (now passed away) was 17 when we first got him and his girls. Its all vey sad.

This rail-line will also pass about 500yards from the local Chiltern private hospital. We have been told locally, that it will take 5-8 years to complete. The roads here are already at bursting point., being only 15 miles from the M25. The heavy equipment will do a lot of damage to already potholed roads in the area.

Is it all worth it, I ask.
OnlineMSE  Male  Essex 26-Feb-2019 12:37 Message #4736187
It'll definitely end up being "stick a pin in a figure" when it comes to whatever it'll cost and the time it'll take & both will end up being an underestimate.
Look at CrossRail (aka the Elizabeth Line) the new overhead/underground east (Essex) to west (Berks/Bucks) via central London service that will be operated by TfL.
The whole thing should have opened in December 2018 (11 years after being approved and 9+ years after work started) at an eye-watering £15 billion.
Trains should have started to run on the line in 2017 but that was put back a year to save £1billion.
Now the full opening date when all the lines are plugged into the route etc. has been pushed back until
"Autumn 2019" but that is apparently beyond hopeful and even by then they'll be needing another £2billion to fully complete the project.
It's the time taken for these major infrastructure projects to start and finish that eventually ends up causing these huge overspends.
Look at the fiasco of the 3rd runway at Heathrow. The current proposals have already been embroiled in the system for over 15 years. If it were to start according to latest plans approved by Government in 2018 based on work starting in 2021 with a 2025/6 for runway completion and 2028 for the expansion completion. The costs were then costed at £14 billion.
But it'll be another 2 1/2 years before the Planning Inspectorate finish their work & IF they approve the plans before the Transport Secretary can then sign off to start works.
Anyone who believes that the projected start & end dates and initial costings will have any relevance by that time is totally deluded.
I read somewhere that by the time that 1 runway and infrastructure project is completed, China would have built 54 new AIRPORTS !! and they're planning on 200 new AIRPORTS in the next 15 years.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 26-Feb-2019 13:41 Message #4736195
Very interesting Onlinemse, sets it out in B/W doesnt it.

BTW the proposed Crossrail in Bucks/Berk is now affecting house prices in this area. We have had so many For Sale properties sent to us recently for this area, and the prices are dropping on a monthly basis. Some properties £1.75- £2.75 million 6 months ago, are now down to £700k - 800k - which is unbelievable. Some lovely properties too.

OnlineMSE  Male  Essex 26-Feb-2019 21:23 Message #4736213
Really V? I'm surprised. You sure it's not because of the adverse HS2 effect.
I'm at the other end of the line, inside Greater London, that used to be the Greater Anglia Shenfield to Liverpool Street line before being taken over by TfL which will eventually now go underground at Stratford when the Liz Line fully opens.
Property prices here, pretty much along the line from east london all the way out to the last 2 stops beyond the m25 in Essex, over the life of the project have gone into orbit.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 27-Feb-2019 08:38 Message #4736226
People round this way who have the very expensive houses(estates) really dont like the idea of Crossrail near to them. But what is strange, in that particular area (Stoke Poges, Wexham, Maidenhead , Taplow etc) not so much HS2, most of these houses are not even occupied for many weeks of the year, as so many belong to people from middle east.
SQL  Male  Devon 27-Feb-2019 10:49 Message #4736230
HS2. Will the 50 billion pound high speed rail project end up nearer 100 billion
... and does the UK even need a 250MPH service between the South and the North?

Ye GODS !!!

I've never seen such a bunch of anti-progress people. Even the Luddites had a reasonable cause.

Just imagine you are back in England in 1820. No railways, the average person had only their own legs for travel. For the rich there were stagecoaches that would travel at twice walking pace as the roads were uneven cobbles for the most part.

Now if anyone had suggested building a railway anywhere near you lot they would have been shouted down and gone somewhere abroad to develop their ideas. The railways were an essential part of the Industrial evolution, Great Britain lead the world in industrial innovation and development.

And yes, it wasn't perfect there were a lot of failures and false starts. In the heady days of railway building (1840's) many railway companies began trading and a lot of them went bankrupt. But without them Great Britain would be without our vital railway infrastructure.

HS2 is not perfect and I believe the development of the infrastructure north of Birmingham is the most important sector but upgrading the rail network is vital for England as a whole. Just imagine removing ALL the motorways, there was a huge outcry over some section of the M25 and it's impact on the local areas. Without the M25 a large part of the Home Counties would now be gridlocked from early morning to late evening every day.

Progress is not without it's drawbacks, unfortunately some people don't benefit at all but the country as a whole will reap a reward.

terry  Male  West Yorkshire 27-Feb-2019 12:08 Message #4736242
Change happens whether we want it or not. My problem with HS2 is, apart from cost, it's supposed to reduce travel times by minutes, not hours or days. Are we really that bothered to arrive somewhere half an hour earlier?
From a cost perspective, I would argue for upgrading and improving our existing network. I suspect there is much new technology that could be used to achieve this and would better serve society as a whole and hopefully without booting people out of their homes or destroying natural areas of interest or beauty.
I think for me, HS2 isn't about innovation or progress, it's about someone making a quick quid or two, and that is different to the innovations of the start of the railway age - which I happen to agree SQL, made a vast difference and benefit to our society and the world...but HS2 is different.
wonderoushen  Female  Gwynedd 27-Feb-2019 18:51 Message #4736249
I'm not a luddite, I might not get on with a lot of technology, but I certainly appreciate it, my washing machine broke down last week and it was only fixed yesterday, I certainly appreciate that. I agree with terry, there are much better ways of spending that money, we keep getting told there are no magic money trees, but somehow theres nearly always enough in the pot for this sort of vanity project and I think a vanity project is all it is. Its not like its even going to make that much differnce to the travel times of most people living along its route, as for it to do those high speeds it needs to stop less often, so unless you're going from London to Birmingham I can't see how much difference ts going to make in any positive sense. SQL I think the Victorians would be appalled at what we've let happen to the railway network they created at such cost and with such pride, on some routes it probably takes as much or more time now than it did then, we've got trains that service Londons second airport, Gatwick and the major holiday centers on the south coast, that have next to no luggage space, you can hardly fit a small suitcase in most of them, it the same on the trains coming here.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 27-Feb-2019 19:50 Message #4736254
I'm not sure spending billions on one route is cost-effective when we could update hundreds of routes that serve far more population and developments.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 27-Feb-2019 20:12 Message #4736261
"Without the M25 a large part of the Home Counties would now be gridlocked from early morning to late evening every day. "

SQL, do you think its not gridlocked now - each time there is an accident, the whole area on this side of Bucks gets gridlocked and its almost on a daily basis. We are only about 15 miles from M25 and we hear & see the Air Ambulance going over, to pick up on a daily basis. All the roads come to a standstill around High Wycombe, Marlow, Chorleyood - its chaos.

I really do think the money being spent on HS2 would be far better spent on new hospitals and extra staff.
Victoriana11  Female  Buckinghamshire 27-Feb-2019 20:15 Message #4736262
Pressed 'send' too quickly..

With all due respect, I feel that the people who have commented on HS2 who dont live near here, would feel quite differently towards to situation if they did live here.
JustLyn  Female  Cheshire 27-Feb-2019 20:46 Message #4736265
I don't think people have to be personally affected to have a valid view. I care enough to project my concerns beyond my own boundaries.

It's like my sister telling me I'm not concerned about the future of the planet as I'll never have grandchildren to worry about it.
SQL  Male  Devon 27-Feb-2019 22:31 Message #4736266

With all due respect, I feel that the people who have commented on HS2 who dont live near here ...

I have lived/worked my way round the world, I don't like living in large cities but that's where I have found a lot of work and I have seen whole areas of cities redeveloped to provide better buildings/transport/employment. It seems no-one wants any change on here. I am reminded of the saying "Nobody wants change - however everybody wants life to get better".

If the existing rail network is never modernised the UK will suffer from a gradually declining rail infrastructure while most - if not all - other industrialised countries are continually improving their rail networks. The cutting of 30 minutes off the travel time from London to Birmingham may seem irrelevant to us on here, to a busy business traveller it's another 30minutes of time to use on important business.

Regarding the cost, £60 billion spread over the next 7 to 10 years is a lot of money annually. BUT the NHS budget is about £122 billion annually. So a bit of a difference. Yes everyone would like a bottomless pit of money for the NHS but it all comes from the taxpayer - so it's limited.

I personally think the rail network north of somewhere like Northampton should take absolute priority, the south-east has had the bulk of investment for many years now. Cross-rail, while providing real improvements in travel time across London and to Heathrow, has swallowed a lot of tax-payers money without any real benefit to people living north of Watford.

fosy  Male  Leicestershire 27-Feb-2019 23:07 Message #4736270

i dont know where you get 60 billion from, if you havent already seen it you might find "panorama HS2: Going off the Rails?" interesting.

"In response the transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said: “I’m very clear on HS2 – it’s got a budget, it’s got to live with that budget.”
if chris grayling says that then it must be gospel...

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