Why are people opposed to HS2? (And other HS2 discussion)

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ABB125

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As the title says.

I am a supporter of high speed rail in general, but I believe that the current plans for HS2 are far from perfect. Nevertheless I am a (reluctant) supporter of HS2. However, many people are opposed to HS2. Why is this?
Reasons I can think of include:
  • Causes fairly significant environmental damage (although significantly less than a motorway!)
  • Is built for speeds twice as fast as what we currently have
  • Isn't a rebuild of an existing alignment
  • Exists entirely so that businessmen and well paid bankers and executives can get to London quicker :)
Is there anything I haven't thought of? Replies from both sides of the debate are welcome.
 
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Bensonby

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Because the perception is that the benefits are marginal (slightly shorter journies between already well-served major cities) compared to the huge amount of disruption and cost, and a major lack of investment elsewhere.
 

Mag_seven

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I'd much rather the money was spent elsewhere on the network in particular on a rolling programme of electrification (amongst other things) that benefits the whole country not just the South Eastern bit.
 

yorkie

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  • Causes fairly significant environmental damage (although significantly less than a motorway!)
They don't realise that high speed rail will reduce domestic flight use, so is better for the environment. It will also release more paths for freight and regional trains.
  • Is built for speeds twice as fast as what we currently have
People think that speed is the only reason; they do not realise that the ECML and WCML have severe capacity restraints.
  • Isn't a rebuild of an existing alignment
Some people think that if the money was not spent on HS2 the same money could be spent reopening lines for other purposes, and they underestimate the costs of rebuilding using existing alignments and overestimate the benefits of reopening lines. That's not to say other lines should not be reopened as well as HS2 but that's for discussion in other threads!
  • Exists entirely so that businessmen and well paid bankers and executives can get to London quicker :)
As above; some people mistakenly think it's just for speed and not about releasing capacity on existing lines as well as catering for future increases in demand.
 

ABB125

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I'd much rather the money was spent elsewhere on the network in particular on a rolling programme of electrification (amongst other things) that benefits the whole country not just the South Eastern bit.
A rolling programme of electrification is definitely a good idea (so obviously won't happen), but upgrades to existing alignments haven't got the best track record (no pun intended) in this country. Better to go for new build.
 

ABB125

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They don't realise that high speed rail will reduce domestic flight use, so is better for the environment. It will also release more paths for freight and regional trains.

People think that speed is the only reason; they do not realise that the ECML and WCML have severe capacity restraints.

Some people think that if the money was not spent on HS2 the same money could be spent reopening lines for other purposes, and they underestimate the costs of rebuilding using existing alignments and overestimate the benefits of reopening lines. That's not to say other lines should not be reopened as well as HS2 but that's for discussion in other threads!

As above; some people mistakenly think it's just for speed and not about releasing capacity on existing lines as well as catering for future increases in demand.
I have to agree with all of that, it's a shame others can't see the benefits of high speed rail.
 

ComUtoR

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Some people think that if the money was not spent on HS2 the same money could be spent reopening lines for other purposes
It isn't just a diversion of rail funding away from other lines. That may be more of an enthusiasts/rail users/internals view. I get the impression that people do not want to see huge amounts of funding going to the railway in general and that money could be better spent elsewhere, such as the NHS. People do not see a holistic view of the benefits and may only see the benefit going to a very small part of the country and only to those who would use it and an ever increasing burden to the taxpayer.
 

ABB125

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It isn't just a diversion of rail funding away from other lines. That may be more of an enthusiasts/rail users/internals view. I get the impression that people do not want to see huge amounts of funding going to the railway in general and that money could be better spent elsewhere, such as the NHS. People do not see a holistic view of the benefits and may only see the benefit going to a very small part of the country and only to those who would use it and an ever increasing burden to the taxpayer.
Good point, although the NHS benefits due to reduced illness caused by pollution because of the modal shift to rail.
 

Gems

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A total waste of money. It will go the same way as every other government sponsored capital investment project. The diggers will start digging, and the bills will roll in, bills multiple times the estimates.
 

ABB125

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A total waste of money. It will go the same way as every other government sponsored capital investment project. The diggers will start digging, and the bills will roll in, bills multiple times the estimates.
According to one of the fairly senior managers/directors whom I have contact with (I won't say who!), the reason all the bills are going up at the moment is because HS2 want to transfer all the liability (for what exactly I'm not sure) to the contractors, who are happy to do this - at 3x the price.
 

Gems

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According to one of the fairly senior managers/directors whom I have contact with (I won't say who!), the reason all the bills are going up at the moment is because HS2 want to transfer all the liability (for what exactly I'm not sure) to the contractors, who are happy to do this - at 3x the price.
Why am I not surprised.
 

LNW-GW Joint

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Most of what I have heard today is about the "certainty" of cost overrun, and "we want the money spent on the existing network".
DfT and HS2 Ltd have been absent from the PR again, so the antis have another field day with their hyperbole.
Meanwhile the project itself is scratching around at access points rather than boring tunnels or other photogenic things.
HS2 boss's salaries are under scrutiny as well, being several multiples of the Prime Minister's.
Big contracts are still not let (months late).

Somebody was on today demanding contracts should force British steel to be used to build it (forgetting that Scunthorpe provided steel for new French LGVs).
Southern MPs are grumbling, and in the current murderous atmosphere at Westminster may be tempted to get the axe out on HS2 phase 2.
Luckily both Con and Lab front benches are still in favour, for now, but it's a long haul to Royal Assent.
The wider railway doesn't help by demonstrating its incompetence on current projects (electrification, timetables, Crossrail, introducing new trains etc).

If DfT published a spec for the improved services on the classic lines after HS2 was built, it would help.
It would get the debate away from "just for the rich" and demonstrate the benefits of the new capacity to existing users.
 

PR1Berske

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I won't repeat everything I've said on the subject. But my objection lies on the following main points.

1. It costs too much. No project, none, should have such a large and apparently unstoppable budget. HS2 itself cannot confirm what it will ultimately cost. That is not acceptable.

2. We don't need it. The WCML is not congested to the extent that it once was. There are other solutions to building a line going into Birmingham with no immediate stops.

3. London doesn't need it.

4. The North cannot wait. The proposals for extending into the north is too little too late. The amount of money spent on getting to Birmingham in the 2030s could be spent on the north *now*.

5. HS2 has no justification. First it was about speed, then congestion, then reconnecting the North, then it was about something else. Its lack of purpose is exactly why the budget is spiralling. Its lack of purpose is exactly why enthusiasts struggle to get behind it.

I know that works have begun at Euston. These can be allowed to continue without HS2 being built. Bring those works to a close and then scrap HS2. It's never too late to admit it was a terrible mistake.

Mark my words. HS2 will be an economic horror story fuelling only London Euston. To save our nation, to rescue the North, HS2 must be axed.
 

Robertj21a

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Too much expense and too much upheaval for limited benefit.
It would be more acceptable if most of the UK had good quality rail services already.
 

ABB125

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I won't repeat everything I've said on the subject. But my objection lies on the following main points.

1. It costs too much. No project, none, should have such a large and apparently unstoppable budget. HS2 itself cannot confirm what it will ultimately cost. That is not acceptable.

2. We don't need it. The WCML is not congested to the extent that it once was. There are other solutions to building a line going into Birmingham with no immediate stops.

3. London doesn't need it.

4. The North cannot wait. The proposals for extending into the north is too little too late. The amount of money spent on getting to Birmingham in the 2030s could be spent on the north *now*.

5. HS2 has no justification. First it was about speed, then congestion, then reconnecting the North, then it was about something else. Its lack of purpose is exactly why the budget is spiralling. Its lack of purpose is exactly why enthusiasts struggle to get behind it.

I know that works have begun at Euston. These can be allowed to continue without HS2 being built. Bring those works to a close and then scrap HS2. It's never too late to admit it was a terrible mistake.

Mark my words. HS2 will be an economic horror story fuelling only London Euston. To save our nation, to rescue the North, HS2 must be axed.
I agree to an extent with point 1. (Same argument should apply to the NHS in my opinion.)
I don't think any of the timetable planners would agree with point 2.
3: it's not (or at least shouldn't be) about London.
Point 4, yes, but the capacity arguments used by those against HS2 (add more carriages etc) apply so much more in the north.
Point 5, whilst I believe that HS2 does have a point, I agree absolutely with what you have written about changing objectives.
 

swt_passenger

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As the title says.

I am a supporter of high speed rail in general, but I believe that the current plans for HS2 are far from perfect. Nevertheless I am a (reluctant) supporter of HS2. However, many people are opposed to HS2. Why is this?
Reasons I can think of include:
  • Causes fairly significant environmental damage (although significantly less than a motorway!)
  • Is built for speeds twice as fast as what we currently have
  • Isn't a rebuild of an existing alignment
  • Exists entirely so that businessmen and well paid bankers and executives can get to London quicker :)
Is there anything I haven't thought of? Replies from both sides of the debate are welcome.
One of the things that leads to loads of flimsy objections being posted is the tendency for people to launch threads just like this one every few months. It’s been happening ever since the project was first announced...
 

MarkyT

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Because there are hidden interests lobbying heavily behind the scenes against all rail projects the world over. Many believe air, petrochemical and automotive interests are involved through shadowy pressure groups who never reveal the real source of their funding and the same groups are often linked to climate change scepticism as well as small government libertarianism, free market fundamentalism and increasingly religious conservatism and nationalist populism. These people generally consider rail and all publicly funded transport but one small step from full blown soviet Stalinism!
 

Mag_seven

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One of the things that leads to loads of flimsy objections being posted is the tendency for people to launch threads just like this one every few months. It’s been happening ever since the project was first announced...
Yes we should all just fall in line and say how wonderful it is - a bit like Brexit. ;)
 

swt_passenger

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Yes we should all just fall in line and say how wonderful it is - a bit like Brexit. ;)
I never suggested we should fall into line. Just that this thread will be just like many others, a repeat. I think going “round and round in circles” was why everything to do with HS2 was moved into its own forum for quite a while.
 
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PR1Berske

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I can't find it at the moment and my lunch break is soon over but there was a thread asking why HS2 is treated differently by enthusiasts which could be a useful addition to this thread.
 

Bald Rick

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The problem with business cases is they can be put together to give the result that you want.
A myth often perpetuated on this (and other) fora.

In the realms of publicly funded transport projects, the business case is a statement of hard facts based on research.

What is true is that the politicians who take the decisions can override the results of the business case if they don’t like the result. (For this reason, the Northern Pacer fleet is being replaced). But the Business case stands as a statement of fact.
 

WatcherZero

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A lot of the naysayers, particularly those that say you should spend the money upgrading the network instead fail to understand the economics of construction. It actually costs far more to work on an existing open railway than to build a new one from scratch due to the inefficiencies (wasted hours every day unpacking then repacking construction equipment and isolating line side equipment), economic effects of disruption and compensation required, loss of existing capacity and need for alternatives such as rail replacement, increased planning and timetabling complexity, and the cost of renovating, patching up and adding capacity to existing structures that could be centuries old as opposed to a purpose build new structure with lower ongoing maintenance costs (e.g. you have a 100 year old rail bridge that is not strong enough for faster or heavier trains and not wide enough for extra tracks so you are required to build a second smaller bridge alongside and renovate the existing bridge to strengthen it costing more than it would to build a brand new bridge from scratch). Finally people gravitate towards living close to railway lines and existing alignments are normally heavily residentially developed on either side, so to widen an existing alignment far more housing demolitions are required compared to building a brand new alignment where you can thread it between towns and villages to minimise the number of properties required for demolition.
 

Essexman

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It's been poorly marketed to the general public.
People see it as 15 minutes off London to Birmingham at the cost of a huge amount of money.
Should be stressing the capacity issue, benefits of high speed network and reduced need for internal flights.
In my view it should kill off internal flights, as has happened to an extent in parts of Europe, and taxes should be imposed on such flights justified on environmental grounds.
Build HS2 instead of a new runway at Heathrow.
 

vtiman

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I have followed and supported HS2 all the way.

The debate around hs2 reminded me of the AV debates and was in a way a precursor to the referendum debates.

Those against hs2 like those against the EU made up a load of stories, myths and outright lies to make their case. The most vocal were many now Brexit MPs and StopHS2.

I would prefer people to be honest and say there’s no station near me or I’ll be affected by noise or worst of all my family home or business will be demolished. Hs2 did make many changes costing more so those same people then complained about the cost increase.

Then we had the it will only save a few minutes then 20. No mention of the actual 35 although this wont be the case. The savings are a whole hour off Leeds / Manchester to London Services. So around 40 per cent less.

The main reason for hs2 was capacity. The previous CEO now says hs2 should’ve been renamed and I agree. I have read all the initial reports. The trains which will seat around 1000 seats are clearly not intended for a few rich elite businessmen.
Exorbitant current ticket prices are partly caused by lack of capacity as well as policy

Trying to double existing routes would have been difficult and disrupt train services and lose passengers thereby increasing road traffic. We saw from the wcml upgrade the pitfalls of this approach.

A new bypass route can avoid far more disruption and losses of housing, businesses and amenities as these are right next to the existing lines. Try doubling Welwyn Viaduct for example. I would support this even though it is very near to me.

The seats released by Very limited stop intercity transferring to HS2 can then be used to provide more seats on commuter and regional trains and will allow places like Watford Jn and Stevenage to have more trains calling as changing trains slows the journey.

Other downsides are obviously loss of wildlife and flora and fauna and of course irreplaceable ancient woods. These are serious issues not to be lightly dismissed.

But remember what we heard sometimes even on this forum but mostly stop hs2.

They playedvrecordings at about double the actual noise levels. Hs2 would be a concrete slab many the width of Wembley. There would be no foliage.

There would be nuclear power stations along the route in the Chiltens and the power lines would’ve given people terrible life ending diseases. I have not made any of this up.

When I made comments they could also sometimes be deleted or occasionally people could be nasty but you have to make allowances for people who are going to lose their homes.

I do believe that the second
Phase of HS2 needs to be planned with HS3 and renamed ASAP. I understand that the northern sections had a better bcr than the first section which remember we ARE NOW building. We need to get it to Crewe ASAP.

Cancelling HS2 now would be pointless and with any hs3/np it’s would take years before work started. And the money probably wouldn’t be spent on Rail as the industry would have blown it. No guarantee the Tories would have spent it on worthy projects like the NHS or education or cycle ways.

They are too busy wasting billions and wrecking the economy for you know what.
 

The Planner

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2. We don't need it. The WCML is not congested to the extent that it once was. There are other solutions to building a line going into Birmingham with no immediate stops.
Is this your mythical "smart timetabling" solution again?:rolleyes::rolleyes: find me the capacity that deals with the next 20 years south of Rugby, ta.
 
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