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HS2 costs - best use of taxpayer money?

Infinite Chaos

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The HS2 high-speed rail project could cost more than £80bn - almost double the current estimated cost of £42.6bn, a free-market think tank has said.The Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) expects lobbying by local councils for extra infrastructure and design changes will inflate the cost.
It wants HS2 to be scrapped and the money spent on other transport schemes. Link.
Interested to know what other UK / European posters think about such major transport schemes. The UK Govt (including previous Labour Govt) have pushed for the HS2 project to rival and add to the netork with some of the other high speed rail systems in Europe.

Ex-Chancellor Alistair Darling has warned of a potential "nightmare" on England's existing railways if the multibillion-pound HS2 line is built.He was in the cabinet when the high speed rail scheme was approved in principle but has now changed his mind.
A rise in its budget from £32bn to £42.6bn would drain cash from other lines, he said. Link.
I was for the project a year ago as it would boost the economy but now, with costs projected to be around £80 billion - I think it should be scrapped and the money spent elsewhere on the travel infrastructure of the UK. Interesting that the Darling interview has costs still at the £42 billion mark but even there - the former chancellor has changed his mind about the project too.

I think £80 billion on the East Coast, West Coast and link to Wales would do much more good for the whole country.
 

PeteEU

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Well I smell someone speaking in someone's ear...

Let me guess, soon someone will suggest you invest it in new airports ..

The principle of a high speed rail road is a brilliant one. The problem as I see it, is that the cost is being pushed up and up for no reason what so ever. There is no transparency what so ever in why 45 billion or more is needed. Sure it will cost money, and lots of money, but 45 billion?

Like it or not, high speed rail would kill off the internal airline business in the UK, and that is a threat to a lot of people. We have seen it in Spain, where high speed rail took 90% of the passenger traffic from Malaga to Madrid. And the airlines know this, and that is why they have used a lot of money and influence to torpedo any and all high speed rail projects they can find world wide.

And it looks like the British government and politicians have fallen for that lobbying..

I would rather spend 50 billion on a high speed rail system then on new airports and nuclear weapons. High speed rail benefits everyone. But then again, considering the insane prices there is on rail travel in the UK, then one might question everything. You all need to get that **** under control and down.. gezz.
 

Andalublue

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I think £80 billion on the East Coast, West Coast and link to Wales would do much more good for the whole country.
If you mean the East-West rail link, I agree. Constantly improving north-south links at the expense of improvement to infrastructure in and between regions means that the flight to the capital will continue, to no one's benefit.

Here is Spain there a major issue nowadays with the enormous web of privately-run, publically-funded toll roads, principally around Madrid, that are losing money had-over-fist because nobody is using them. They sucked up billions of EU subsidy and government match-funding then handed them over to private companies who contributed nothing to the construction costs. Those companies are now demanding government subsidies in order to keep these roads open.
 

PeteEU

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If you mean the East-West rail link, I agree. Constantly improving north-south links at the expense of improvement to infrastructure in and between regions means that the flight to the capital will continue, to no one's benefit.

Here is Spain there a major issue nowadays with the enormous web of privately-run, publically-funded toll roads, principally around Madrid, that are losing money had-over-fist because nobody is using them. They sucked up billions of EU subsidy and government match-funding then handed them over to private companies who contributed nothing to the construction costs. Those companies are now demanding government subsidies in order to keep these roads open.
Yea, the toll road here on the costa has had its prices go up by 40+%.. it costs over 7 euros by me now.. wtf? It use to be 5 euros during the summer (tourist prices), and 2.45 during the winter. And since there is a free alternative, which takes more time and is technically the most dangerous road in Europe, then most people choose this route.

What they should do, is nationalize the toll roads and lower the price.. bet they would suddenly see more traffic and maybe even a bit of profit.
 

Andalublue

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Yea, the toll road here on the costa has had its prices go up by 40+%.. it costs over 7 euros by me now.. wtf? It use to be 5 euros during the summer (tourist prices), and 2.45 during the winter. And since there is a free alternative, which takes more time and is technically the most dangerous road in Europe, then most people choose this route.

What they should do, is nationalize the toll roads and lower the price.. bet they would suddenly see more traffic and maybe even a bit of profit.
Yes, I never use that road unless I'm driving for work. There's a newish toll road that runs from Vera in Almería to Cartagena in Murcia. I've used it a couple of times and you rarely see another vehicle on it.
 

PeteEU

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Yes, I never use that road unless I'm driving for work. There's a newish toll road that runs from Vera in Almería to Cartagena in Murcia. I've used it a couple of times and you rarely see another vehicle on it.
When we go to Marbella, then we usually use the toll road... pre price rise. It is faster and easier.. but now, with that cost.. freaking no way, unless we are going past Marbella to Ronda or something like that. It also depends on what time of day ... rush hour.. yes, non rush hour forget it. I have never understood the idea of toll roads with high prices. The idea is to pay for the road ultimately, and that can take 30+ years no problem, so why the hell does it need to be expensive? And in this case the roads are paid for, so it is for maintenance and other costs... like manning the toll booths and of course profit margin. I bet it is the last part that is the most important, and not the user.. sigh.
 

Red_Dave

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If you mean the East-West rail link, I agree. Constantly improving north-south links at the expense of improvement to infrastructure in and between regions means that the flight to the capital will continue, to no one's benefit.

Here is Spain there a major issue nowadays with the enormous web of privately-run, publically-funded toll roads, principally around Madrid, that are losing money had-over-fist because nobody is using them. They sucked up billions of EU subsidy and government match-funding then handed them over to private companies who contributed nothing to the construction costs. Those companies are now demanding government subsidies in order to keep these roads open.
I used the Cercania system every day for a few months when i lived in Mostoles and they were normally packed by the time they got to the center (and this was during the winter), I dread to think what would happen to the Metro if they were abolished leading to even more overcrowding. I agree that the funding is dodgy as anything though.

As for the UK maybe we should be putting the money into making the fares slightly less ridiculous.
 

Andalublue

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I used the Cercania system every day for a few months when i lived in Mostoles and they were normally packed by the time they got to the center (and this was during the winter), I dread to think what would happen to the Metro if they were abolished leading to even more overcrowding. I agree that the funding is dodgy as anything though.

As for the UK maybe we should be putting the money into making the fares slightly less ridiculous.
I'm completely in favour of investment in rail. RENFE is publically-owned and investment in it, if properly monitored, is not lining private pockets with public funds. Rail is also the most sustainable form of mass transport. Public ownership also means that fares are not subsidising dividend payments.
 

Infinite Chaos

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Well I smell someone speaking in someone's ear...

Let me guess, soon someone will suggest you invest it in new airports ..

The principle of a high speed rail road is a brilliant one. The problem as I see it, is that the cost is being pushed up and up for no reason what so ever. There is no transparency what so ever in why 45 billion or more is needed. Sure it will cost money, and lots of money, but 45 billion? --
The £45 billion or even £80 billion includes covering cover for legal challenges in all the areas affected and by lobbying for extra changes by local councils. I think the actual building of a track itself will be around £32 billion. There have already been changes to the proposed route such as the requirement for ultra high speed trains to travel slowly through Sheffield because the track bends around a steelworks which MP's fought and won the defence for.

The HS2 high-speed rail project could cost more than £80bn - almost double the current estimated cost of £42.6bn, a free-market think tank has said.

The Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) expects lobbying by local councils for extra infrastructure and design changes will inflate the cost.
I "get" your claim regarding air travel however in this case I feel the money is better spent upgrading and or redesigning existing networks for higher speed.
 

PeteEU

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The £45 billion or even £80 billion includes covering cover for legal challenges in all the areas affected and by lobbying for extra changes by local councils. I think the actual building of a track itself will be around £32 billion. There have already been changes to the proposed route such as the requirement for ultra high speed trains to travel slowly through Sheffield because the track bends around a steelworks which MP's fought and won the defence for.
LOL bending and high speed rail do not fit together...seriously this looks more and more like a political "price push up" than an actual price increase due to new tech.

As for legal challenges.. its called expropriation and is done all the time for far less well worth things.

I "get" your claim regarding air travel however in this case I feel the money is better spent upgrading and or redesigning existing networks for higher speed.
Well to have a true highspeed rail, you need dedicated lines that are pretty much straight. So upgrading bendy old tracks where other trains run on.. not an option. They did this in the US and called it high speed rail, despite the average speed is like 80 miles an hour, with burst speeds on small areas of 200 miles an hour... because it uses existing rail tracks and has to wait for other traffic.
 

Infinite Chaos

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LOL bending and high speed rail do not fit together...seriously this looks more and more like a political "price push up" than an actual price increase due to new tech.
This is why the costs are likely to double. Even if there was expropriation, I'm fairly sure there would still be many costly legal battles.



Well to have a true highspeed rail, you need dedicated lines that are pretty much straight. So upgrading bendy old tracks where other trains run on.. not an option. They did this in the US and called it high speed rail, despite the average speed is like 80 miles an hour, with burst speeds on small areas of 200 miles an hour... because it uses existing rail tracks and has to wait for other traffic.
Well, we are at a point (sorry) where as a country we either agree to fund a £32 billion build at real cost of £80+ billion or we work with what we have and improve it that way. I think there are enough major sections which we can use and develop. There isn't enough empty rural space to just bulldoze brand new straight line tracks.
 

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Okay something does not make sense. I have been looking at the total cost of the French TGV network, and it is a hard number to find, but I found one from 1994.. 12 billion dollars. That is 19 billion dollars in today's money.. that is 12 billion pounds... for a network that is covers 3610 km at the time..

How can a rail system that is much less in distance cost so much more in the UK?
 

PeteEU

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This is why the costs are likely to double. Even if there was expropriation, I'm fairly sure there would still be many costly legal battles.
The point of expropriation is to avoid the legal battles.

Well, we are at a point (sorry) where as a country we either agree to fund a £32 billion build at real cost of £80+ billion or we work with what we have and improve it that way. I think there are enough major sections which we can use and develop. There isn't enough empty rural space to just bulldoze brand new straight line tracks.
Look at what I wrote above.
 

Infinite Chaos

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The point of expropriation is to avoid the legal battles.
I know that, but legal battles help fund legal firms, keep your friends companies afloat etc. Why are so many MPs former lawyers?

Look at what I wrote above.
Okay something does not make sense. I have been looking at the total cost of the French TGV network, and it is a hard number to find, but I found one from 1994.. 12 billion dollars. That is 19 billion dollars in today's money.. that is 12 billion pounds... for a network that is covers 3610 km at the time..

How can a rail system that is much less in distance cost so much more in the UK?
Lobbying, environmental protests, trains built by overseas companies, labour costs, hostile UK populace, complacency, London centric thinking etc etc.
 

PeteEU

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I know that, but legal battles help fund legal firms, keep your friends companies afloat etc. Why are so many MPs former lawyers?
True true..

Lobbying, environmental protests, trains built by overseas companies, labour costs, hostile UK populace, complacency, London centric thinking etc etc.
Lobbying yes.

Environmental protests... idiots since high speed rail takes thousands of cars and planes out of the equation.

Trains built by overseas companies.. well that is your own fault for letting your manufacturing industries die.

Labour costs.. supposedly the UK has lower labour costs than France and many other countries with high speed rail.

Hostile UK populace... they are hostile because of propaganda from right wing anti-high speed rail groups and the fact that rail costs already are nuts in the UK.

London centric thinking.. will never change so why fight it? If anything it will mean more people will work in London and live in cities that are an hour or 2 away with high speed rail.. aint that a good thing? After all you pay tax where you live, not where you work...
 

Manc Skipper

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London to Birmingham is a little over 100 miles, and Birmingham-Leeds a little under, yet somehow the HS2 project will build 300 miles of new track. But that's the least of the concerns. It's everyone involved in the process lining their pockets. Lobbying firms paid by the government to popularise the idea is one example of the way government functions have been hived off to the private sector with no discernible improvement in cost or efficiency.

The wrong side of the tracks: Lobbyists for HS2 rail line funded by the taxpayer - UK Politics - UK - The Independent
 
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