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Old Joe’s Almanac: HS2

Old Joe’s Almanac: HS2

🕔20.Dec 2013

I was tempted, when writing this profile, to make it as negative on HS2 as possible as this would undoubtedly garner me the most hits for any post in this series. This may be an indication of the year HS2 has had, and is set to continue having, unless something drastically changes.

Whether you’re a NIMBY, a train-spotter or most likely an apathetic commuter reading this sitting on a crowded train to London, we can all agree it has been a bad, bad year for the high-speed rail project.

Firstly, the government can’t quite seem to settle on the best strategy to sell the project to the British public – time? Speed? Capacity? Northern regeneration? Because the French have one?

Secondly, nobody is quite sure about any facts to do with the project because somewhat hysterical hyperbole has been allowed to escape into the ether. The result is most people know very little about the project, and what they do know has most often been through a lens of misinformation.

Politicians and the commentariat, wanting to sound serious and sober, now take any opportunity to hit it with a big stick in order to provoke a response from a naturally thrifty electorate – “It will cost billions! BILLIONS! And you’ll be old when it’s built!”.

There’s no calm and reasoned discourse about the actual issues (apart from on the Chamberlain Files, naturally), and so HS2 future looks set to go from bad to worse.

But just so you know, dear readers – Phase 1 £21.4 billion and Phase 2 £21.2 billion, including contingency – not a ‘blank’ cheque. Now go, spread the word.

Mind the step.
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About Author

Benjamin Mulvihill

Benjamin Mulvihill

Research Assistant at @rjfpa and blogger for @ChamberlainFile.

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