This morning the Adam Smith Institute launched our latest report by rail expert Adrian Quine, calling out HS2 as the money pit of a project that it is and suggesting alternatives that the government could go for that would deliver extra capacity at a much reduced cost.
Coming as the government reviews whether to go ahead with the venture whose costs are rapidly spiralling, it’s timely to look at the economic case of number of substantially less costly alternatives to current HS2 plans that could increase capacity. These include:
Upgrading existing routes with new signalling, doubling the number of tracks, reopening mothballed lines, and timetable redesigns;
Building new sections of conventional high speed, including between the mainlines and Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham, and upgrading northern sections of the mainlines;
Maximising current infrastructure by targeting bottlenecks on conventional lines, including building flyovers at key junctions, upgrading the Chiltern route to Birmingham or reopening the southern section of the Great Central railway, raising line speeds to at least 125mph;
Upgrading stations in London, Birmingham and Manchester;
Updating train facilities like wifi, seat quality, and charging points to improve passenger experience.
The ASI report were picked up by BBC news services over radio, on Heart , talkRadio, and LBC, as well as featuring in print in The Times, City AM, the Daily Mail, the National, as well as over 120 local titles.
Now let’s see if the politicians listen.