We have commented adversely on HS2 before. Cutting 2 out of 3 of Coventry’s fast trains to London and Birmingham as proposed by HS2 cannot be compensated by any amount of tinkering. Now it’s been admitted that the costs would be vastly more than HS2 claimed, the government has rightly commissioned a review that promises to examine every option from carrying on and spending more than it’s worth, to scrapping it totally.
Unfortunately the “independent” review was carried out by the original chair of HS2 so he could hardly criticise the bad decisions made during his tenure. The government declined to publish the review before the election but leaked details include a recommendation to go ahead despite the ludicrous cost. Boris Johnson let slip during the election campaign that it would be built.
The problem is that people in HS2/DfT who made bad decisions in the early stages cannot afford to admit they got it wrong. It will take courage to change the personnel and start again on an integrated railway worth building.
We could have agreed with the EU a derogation of the rules for interoperability that dictated continental “fat” trains and a disastrously segregated railway, due to our uniquely small loading gauge, but since we’re leaving EU anyway the government can blame EU for the mess that HS2 is in and start again with a sensible plan.
Fortunately there is an “oven-ready” plan to get everything that HS2 promised (and largely failed), and much more, with less cost and less destruction.
Colin Elliff, a retired rail engineer, treated CovSoc members to his alternative proposals a couple of years ago. See www.highspeeduk.com It may be that Colin’s time has come after 10 years of campaigning against the painfully inept HS2. Coventry hopes so.