High Speed Rail is just a vanity project, okay?

19 July 2011

trainThe £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."

TOPICS:   Travel

6 comments

  • Oops
    http://stophs2.org/ HS2 implementation has already began, areas along the Central Line have been re-enforced and widened. Please read the facts at the stop hs2 website, and decide for yourself.
  • PlatPlat
    http://www.campaignforhsr.com/ In response to the IEA findings, Professor David Begg, Director of the Campaign for High-Speed Rail, said: "I am hugely disappointed and shocked by the IEA’s analysis of high-speed rail released today. This is a weak regurgitation of weak research carried out by the Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) in February, which has not stood up to public or industry scrutiny since. "Just like them, the IEA declare that the scheme will cost £1k per taxpayer. This is grossly disingenuous, as it fails to account for fare revenues, private investment and generated taxation that will offset the public investment. "The IEA have completely failed to grasp the wider benefits of the high-speed rail project, which will create jobs, boost investment and spread the economic wealth of this country to places outside of the TPA heartlands of London and the South East. "I would expect better from an otherwise reputable think-tank than to parrot misinformation and repackage the propaganda of opponents to the project who are clearly motivated by a mixture of small-state ideology and ‘not-in-my-back-yard’ attitudes."
  • Morwoo
    Nothing like an unbiased resource to get informed!
  • Andrew
    How is a slightly faster railway going to deliver "£44 billion in economic benefits" other than the £32bn of benefits to the companies building it? Would an increase in rolling stock and improvements to the current tracks not make much more sense? Then people all over the country could travel quicker and easier and not just the people using 1 line.
  • Late a.
    When I'm commuting I'd settle for a train that was not cancelled, late or full. It can go the same darn speed it does now, as long as it turns up on time & gets me there. If I were being really ambitious I'd ask for a seat too, but asking that much would be stupid. Fortunately I now tele-commute most of the time nowadays, and the train helped me make that decision. Greener too.
  • Dick
    Why not cut the budget and use IKEA instead.

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