Thursday, 3 March 2011


High Speed rail link the arguments are all against.

The distances involved, the economics, the damage to the landscape and the grief to residents mean that some other way of improving North South transport would be preferable to this. Such as improving the existing service and making it cheaper than flying.

Opponents of the line have already succeeded in having various alterations made to the proposed plan, including expensive tunnels in the Chilterns: but the Government seems not to want to entertain the idea of expanding and improving existing lines, which could be done at a small fraction of the cost and with far less disruption.

Despite the rhetoric, theres only saving of a few minutes saved on the journey.
Even if these lines are built, who is to say that their effect will not be to get people more from the North to London, rather than from London to the North? Won't they take a lot of highly paid workers out of jobs in Birmingham, and Manchester, while they whizz down their taxpayer-subsidised railway to work every day in London? Why is the Government so certain that this plan will boost the economies in those cities?

HS2 is based on very large forecast increase in the demand for travel by all modes of transport. This included a 44% increase in long distance car trips by 2033 and a 178% increase in domestic air travel. The impact of HSR on getting people out of cars and plans is minimal. The forecast is an 8% shift from air to HSR and an 8% shift from car to HSR.

Will the high speed line cut carbon emissions? No.

HS2 Ltd tells us it will be broadly carbon neutral (HS2’s Report paragraph 4.2.31)

HS2 trains are fuel-hungry – planned to travel at 225mph, subsequently rising to 250mph. Trains travelling at 225mph use 50% more energy than trains travelling at 186mph.

Source: Campaign for Protection of Rural England. See Getting Back on Track page 18.

An intercity electric train (not HSR) produces 29 grammes of CO2 per passenger km but the HSR train produces 65 grammes.

Source: “To shift or not to shift”, CE, Delft, the Netherlands

The Wildlife Trusts’ website states that between London and Birmingham HS2 will impact directly on two Wildlife Trust Nature Reserves, four sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs), 10 ancient woodland sites and 53 Local Wildlife Sites or potential Local Wildlife Sites.

The construction and operating costs of phase 1 (London to Birmingham) total £25.5 billion but will only generate £15 billion of extra fares, requiring an £11.9 billion subsidy.

Hs2 is a “rich person’s railway”. The business case assumes that 30% of the passengers will earn more than £70,000 pa.

For an alleged cost of £32 billion over 21 years I want to see something that will help people, not make things worse.,,
the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) have labelled the consultation process for High Speed 2 as a complete train wreck.


Cllr Gareth Epps said...

OK Adrian, let me sum up why I disagree with the very conservative arguments you're promoting.

Firstly there is insufficient capacity on large parts of the current West Coast Main Line, which alongside the geometry of the line (it has been significantly upgraded within the last 10 years) make it impossible to convert to a High Speed line. Passenger numbers have shot up in recent years despite rocketing fares. See

You then contradict your own argument by saying that high speed rail in principle is wrong!

The real reason why HS2 is needed is that, in a world where like it or not globalisation means that connections worldwide are important. London has prospered in recent years because it's become so much easier to reach compared to the likes of Birmingham and Manchester. The predicted demand for short-haul air demonstrates this.

And I thought Greens were against air travel.....?

HS2 is needed, in short, because it will reconnect key parts of the Midlands and North and is the most sustainable way of doing that. I suspect the route will change further.... let's see.

Adrian Windisch said...

My arguments are from my perspective, a green one. Some of the quotes are from the telegraph, which is Tory, as you will know if you follow the link.

You say I contradict myself but not where, I look forward to learning more.

I am all for investment in public transport, but this sheme is not good enough. Lets have the trains just a little slower so the route can be altered to avoid the environmental damage.

Yes To HS2 said...

Thanks for using a map produced by YesToHS2 showing the full extent of HS2 services from day 1. Full map can be seen here:

Adrian Windisch said...

Cheers for the map.