Posts Tagged HS2

HS2 – Time to get organised

It was interesting to hear your comments about the HS2 ‘Town Hall’ meeting in Wendover.  As you said, this is not only going to blight the area, it is going to waste a lot of money.  The Washington Post did an article on high speed rail in China (HT International Liberty), emphasising what a disaster these projects tend to be:

High-speed rail is a capital-intensive undertaking that requires huge borrowing upfront to finance tracks, locomotives and cars, followed by years in which ticket revenue covers debt service — if all goes well. “Any . . . shortfall in ridership or yield, can quickly create financial stress,” warns a 2010 World Bank staff report. Such “shortfalls” are all too common. Japan’s bullet trains needed a bailout in 1987. Taiwan’s line opened in 2007 and needed a government rescue in 2009. …the Beijing-Tianjin line, built at a cost of $46 million per mile, is losing more than $100 million per year.…

Despite this it sounds like the MP has made a calculation that whatever happens, the majority of people will continue voting Tory and so it’s in his personal interest to toe the party line and ignore what his constituents want.   In the absence of a system of open or party primaries, I like the idea of fielding a single issue candidate against him.  It could be that a tie-up with UKIP might be useful, but whatever is decided, it’s important that people start organizing now to put pressure on the government.

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HS2, Wendover and Cricket – It’s all for the greater good.

 I have a wonderful memory of Wendover from a couple of years ago, sitting on the cricket pavilion watching Billy playing cricket.  As a long term ex-pat living in a city surrounded by desert, it’s a quintessential image of what you would like England to be.  Ernest young boys in cricket whites, green lawns, oak trees and further off, the rolling wooded hills of the Chilterns.  Which is why it’s so distressing to hear that the government is going to ram the high speed rail line through the town. 

There is something about high speed rail which seems to attract big government statists.  Obama in the US has similar plans for throwing billions at high speed rail too.  Yet a report from the Tax Payers Alliance shows that this could become a white elephant, saving only 30 minutes from the London to Birmingham journey.  They argue that the estimated £30bn in HS2 expenditures would be better spent on updating the existing crumbling commuter network or on other more productive activities.  Indeed they argue that the project destroys 4 jobs for every 1 created.  However despite this, the government is still going ahead.   Witterings From Witney  suggests that the government is just following EU policy.   He argues that transport is a shared competence with the European Union and that the government is merely following European plans for a unified transport network.  This was defined in the 1992 Maastricht Treaty which first laid the plans for a Trans European Network – Transport (TEN-T).

“Establishing an efficient trans-European transport network (TEN-T) is a key element in the relaunched Lisbon strategy for competitiveness and employment in Europe. If Europe is to fulfil its economic and social potential, it is essential to build the missing links and remove the bottlenecks in our transport infrastructure, as well as to ensure the sustainability of our transport networks into the future. Furthermore, it integrates environmental protection requirements with a view to promoting sustainable development.”

And he argues that High Speed Rail is an essential part of that program.  You can read what they say here.  Especially given that TEN-T’s High Speed Rail network seems to miraculously mirror the Conservative’s plan for HS2.

Hey Ho.  Billy’s cricket field is a small price to pay when you consider the glory that is a Unified European Transport Policy. 

If it’s true, did anybody vote for this?

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