High Speed Rail is just a vanity project, okay?
The £32 billion high speed rail network that is being planned currently is being accused of being a big fat waste of everyone's money according to a right wing think tank.
Did you even know there was such a thing as a right wing think tank? Well, they do! And this one is called The Institute of Economic Affairs and they're being very dismissive of the superfast train (to be sung to the tune of 'supermatch game' from Blankety Blank) which is being backed by the big three that make up British politics.
The project is due to be finished in 2026. Please note we're legally obliged to say 'but it'll probably be late, cuh, typical British rail!'.
The IEA says that they've found “serious flaws” in the case for the production of this line and they reckon that the Government is being stupidly over-optimistic concerning the economic benefits of it, which have been crowed about. The IEA also think that it won't be nearly as 'green' as claimed, saying that the trains will consume “disproportionate levels of power” from the National Grid.
“High Speed 2 is another political vanity project – like Concorde and the Millennium Dome – being ploughed ahead with complete disregard for properly thought-through commercial prospects or the mounting opposition to it,” said Richard Wellings, co-author of the report and the Institute’s deputy editorial director.
“Its environmental credentials are questionable, its projected passenger figures suspect, and its proposed regenerative effects highly dubious. Proceeding with HS2 plans is a recipe for disaster and, as always, it will be the forever-embattled British taxpayer who will end up footing the bill for this latest white elephant.”
Eager to pooh-pooh this claim, a Department for Transport spokesman says: "The Government's proposals for a new high speed rail network would deliver £44 billion in economic benefits for the country and support broader job creation, regeneration and economic growth. The alternative, according to the IEA, would be for the Government to stop investing in the railways, close many of the railway lines that currently exist and sit on its hands as ticket prices get higher, performance deteriorates and crowding increases."
"This Government believes in supporting the railways as a way of driving economic growth, improving connectivity and providing a cleaner and greener alternative to short-haul aviation and more journeys by car. In short, high speed rail is not something this country can afford to ignore."