Transport Watch UK Focusing on UK's Traffic & Traffic Systems

The peculiar sources of the benefits, 5th November 2015

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/sites/ on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/sites/ on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/sites/ on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/sites/ on line 149.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/sites/ on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/sites/ on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/sites/ on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/sites/ on line 25.

 More evidence on how government “cooked the books” to justify HS2

The previous Transport Watch press release showed that the percentage on business, assumed by HS2 in its latest economic analyses, is far above that suggested by survey data.  Without that boost the scheme would fail the cost benefit test, but it gets worse.

The table below sets out the sources of the supposed benefits in £(millions).

Phase 1
Full Network
(1).Improved Access
(2) Reduced crowding
(3) Quicker interchange
(4) Reduced waiting
(5) Reduced walking
(6) Reduced train time
(7). Improved reliability
Benefits to road users
Total excluding Wider Economic benefits
Contentious Items total [(1)+(3)+(5)+(7)]

Astonishingly only circa 50% of the benefits are due to reduced train time, a factor not hitherto noticed by the Transport Committee of the House of Commons or by the Economic Affairs Committee of the House of Lords. 

Transport watch points out that out that several of the other items are implausible.

  • Why on earth will access, item (1) above, be better.  It may well be worse. Stations may be more remote.  
  • The trains are immensely long, up to 400 metres.  The new platforms will be relatively remote from other services.  Hence, Interchange may be worse, item (3) above, and walking, item (5) may be extended rather than shortened.  Certainly that is the case at Euston.
  • Improved reliability, item (7) above is supposed to generate £5.5 billion for the full network.  For heaven’s sake; surely the trains can be made to run on time without building a vastly expensive, heavily loss making, high-speed rail network?

Striking those contentious items out would remove benefits worth £5bn from Phase 1 and £12bn from the full network. That alone would destroy the economic case for both.

Paul Withrington, director of Transport Watch comments:

“The more one digs into the detail the weaker that case becomes.  It is insupportable that £50 billion should be hazarded on such fragile grounds”.

“The supposed benefits put forward by HS2 Ltd do not stand examination.  At the least a risk factor should be applied in case the forecast passenger do not arise and in recognition of the fragility of the other assumptions.  An overall reduction of as little as 20% would destroy the case which, even in its present optimistic form, is desperately weak.

For more details, or to arrange an interview, please contact Paul Withrington on 01604 847438 or [email protected]

© Transport Watch UK 2011 | Webdesign by 1PCS