I have continuously campaigned against a second state-funded high speed rail programme. It is slowly transpiring that the business case is collapsing. The benefit cost ratio (BCR) for phase 1 has fallen from 2.4 in March 2010 to just 1.2 today and 1.4 for the whole of the Y spur extension. A fifth downgrade is expected to be released in the summer incorporating the new, lower GDP figures. How low do the figures need to go until policy makers understand the folly of socialised infrastructure with the risk borne by the tax payer?

The BCR also relies on a successful completion of the project. But the Major Projects Authority has given the HS2 an Amber / Red rating, which means, “The successful delivery of the project is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas.”

In addition, the 2011 Rail Utilisation Strategy shows that long distance services in to Euston are at just 60% of capacity for the three hours of peak morning demand, and just 64% in the busiest hour. Whereas, Paddington and Waterloo are both over 100% in the peak hour; therefore making Euston the least busy long distance service.

Given the floundering case for HS2, every MP should question whether it is in the best interests of tax payers and this country.


  1. Charles Norrie

    Now that is wrong with HS2 is that it is a C20 solution to a C19 technology pursuing a c21 problem. What we need is a C21 solution, as China is using.

    It’s maglic, but we go one better by putting the maglev in a vacuum tube and burying it underground.

    No planning issues. No works to be seen except a nice station in Brum and London and you’ll be whisked along at up to 5000kph (no joke). And then you go on through France and eventually reach Beijing.

    And the world will be one!

  2. The business case is written by economists, I think you should be more careful about taking the BCR at face value, to quote a good friend of mine,

    “Economists and meteorologists have some things in common. They are trying to make predictions about the behaviour of complex systems. Their predictions are often wrong.” — Steve Baker MP

    I’d be surprised if it’s even got the right number of digits. What I can’t estimate is in which direction it’s probably wrong.