We’ve all know about HS2, that £50bn and rising vanity project of not only the government but town planners, business leaders and any other vested interests. HS2 is a plan for such groups to feast in the spoils to come from the desecration of the swathe of England it will cut through as it shaves off the amazingly useful amount of about 20 minutes in a journey to the North West. You know that 20 minutes a business person so desperately needs that he or she doesn’t somehow get from wifi supplied trains already. I know, the logic amazes me as well.
The principal argument used in this gargantuan waste of public money is that it will add capacity to the train service.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but this is still one train whizzing up and down from London to Manchester – ok I know there will be another one going the other way, but don’t be picky when we already have at least two trains an hour from Euston to Manchester Piccadilly, umpteen trains to Liverpool, Preston, Warrington, Glasgow via Cumbria (for those that don’t know, these places are all in the North West – I know Glasgow isn’t but you’re being picky again), so how is this substantially adding to capacity?
Add into this planning and foresight conundrum a desperate need for housing around our major conurbations. Bear with me, this is railway related as well. You know, the simple matter of build 5000 houses here or there and don’t give a twopenny toss about the infrastructure around them. God forbid we think of hospitals, schools and roads in all of this super duper planning. Let’s just make the local commute from Wilmslow to Manchester or St.Helens to Liverpool as much of a pain in the proverbial as we can.
Meanwhile, thanks to the far sightedness of our urban planners – you know the ones who built the M1 with 3 lanes each side when they expected and planned for a dozen cars a day to use it and, heaven forbid anybody ever considered the two car family. The little wifey in those days was expected to stay at home, clean all day and have a good meal for the conquering hero when he came home from work! You can’t beat forward planning can you? Please ladies, don’t kill me for that, the planners were all men with about as much understanding of feminine ambition as anyone had in those days that there might be female astronauts one day or astronauts at all. The moon, we’re struggling to get a bloody road from Coventry to London for God’s sake. They commissioned a pen pusher called Richard Beeching to decimate the rail network and close a goodly proportion of the local branch network.
Amazingly, despite this planning travesty, I am given to understand that there still remain the best part of 40,000 miles of unused rail track in and around our major cities. Where is the real volume of capacity requirement for our rail network? In and around our major cities where hundreds of thousands of commuters a day are forced to use inadequate roads to spend at least 3 hours a day round trip sitting in gridlock trying to get to work and back. But we want to spend £50bn+ to save a few business people 20 minutes on a journey to Manchester?
You be the judges.