HS2 – It was always going to get the green light

Class 66 Diesel Locos at Seaforth Container Terminal

I’ve been amused by all the chatter about the potential for government to stop HS2 in its tracks when the reality was they were never going to do that.

Yes I know, they held a review of it and made a lot of noise about cost but that was to keep the issue off the political agenda surrounding the General Election. The Tories wanted to be seen to have a foot in the camp of those who oppose HS2. You could say it was cynical political manipulation as that’s what I call it.

HS2 and the associated new line from Liverpool across the north are vital if we want decent passenger and freight carrying railways with capacity because there’s precious little capacity left in the present rail network.

Take Liverpool and it’s expanding port. One of the big issues is that there’s no capacity to get freight to and from that port and it’s because of pretty much the same reason that passenger services east of Liverpool are in a mess. There’s no capacity for the number of trains needed to be run, simple as that.

So do I celebrate High Speed Rail and the associated east west line across the north? Yes I do because it’s a common sense decision that had to be made. My only reservation in this daft process was that government may still be in Brexit mode i.e. doing things without taking account of facts, but maybe they’ve got enough of promoting fantasy land on their plate for now so they gave in to the experts who they studiously ignored over Brexit.

Now we need investment in other lines in the north such as:-

* Ormskirk – Preston:- just hand it over to Merseyrail so they can run trains right through to Preston
* Southport – Wigan- Manchester:- Get it back to being a decent reliable service as it was until the 1960’s
* Burscough Curves:- Reinstate them so there can be trains between Southport and Preston and Ormskirk and Southport

The Burscough Curves are in West Lancashire. This historic shot of them is from when they were in place, in 1960’s.

3 thoughts on “HS2 – It was always going to get the green light

  1. Lynda Glennie says:

    Just off to Manchester where, over just three days, will travel on train, metro, bus, tram, bicycle – our left-leaning family all support HS2.

    On manipulation, am enjoying the (fake) news that Downing Street adviser disapproved of HS2 – cleverly allowing PM to be seen to be leading the country all on his own in brave new project!

  2. Laurence Cox says:

    We need to see the decision on HS2 for what it really is, baling out the big construction companies like Balfour Beattie, Keir and Costain because if we are going to spend a large amount of money on infrastructure over the next 20 years we need companies that are big enough and strong enough to take on major projects. When Carillion went bust it illustrated just how weak our construction sector is.

  3. Phil Holden says:

    I also agree with HS2 going ahead though, as you know Tony, I would have reduced cost by sticking to conventional speeds. The supposed benefit of marginally quicker journeys is illusory. I also can’t help reminding a great rail enthusiast that railways are essentially irrelevant. Only 11% of passenger km travelled in the country are by rail and only 9% of the km-tonnes of freight. Make that an expensive irrelevance: 55% of public spending on transport goes on rail. But it’s worse than that: vehicle and fuel duty raises £33bn in tax, which just about matches the transport spending. So road users subsidise those eye wateringly expensive rail tickets.
    All the schemes being discussed will make hardly any real difference.
    Apart from commuter lines into a few cities railways are an expensive distraction really.
    Stats from Dept of Transport’s Transport Statistics Great Britain 2018

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