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In the News

Sunk Costs - HS2 may not run through to central London

Graham Watson

27th January 2023

The ill-fated HS2 might be on the point of another blow - with rumours that the London end of the line might not be destined for central London but may stop in Ealing - in the suburbs.

BBC news covers the story here

One justification that's going to be given is that passenger can alight and use the Elizabeth Line on the underground to get into central London, but the real reason is the rising costs associated with the project - not least in a high inflation environment.

But you might reflect on the construction process - had the project started on time and proceeded on time, it would have been completed by now!

Either way, it seems to be another blow to the potential for the project to boost Britain's supply-side.

Geoff's comments

Hundreds of small contractors on the project are saying that rising costs mean they are at risk of going bust as the HS2 project continues. Delays and cost over-runs will grow. I'm a strong believer that smaller rail improvement projects would be a more effective use of the billions of pounds sunk into this project. It is time to be more ambitious about attempting to open up more branch lines serving local communities. sadly the Ghost of Beeching continues to hover over the industry.

What is HS2?

HS2 (High Speed 2) is a proposed high-speed railway in the United Kingdom. It is intended to be a new high-speed rail network that would connect London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds, and other major cities in the UK. The proposed route would use existing rail corridors and also new tracks, and would be designed for trains capable of speeds of up to 250 mph (400 km/h).

The goal of HS2 is to reduce journey times between cities and to increase capacity on the rail network. The project aims to reduce travel time from London to Manchester and Birmingham by around half an hour. The project also aims to reduce congestion on existing rail lines and improve connections between cities and other forms of transport, such as airports and bus stations.

The project was first proposed in 2009 and was given government approval in 2017. However, the project has faced significant opposition, including from environmental groups and local communities, due to the potential impact on local communities and the environment, as well as the high cost of the project. The estimated cost of the project is around £100 billion and it's due to be completed in 2040.

Graham Watson

Graham Watson has taught Economics for over twenty years. He contributes to tutor2u, reads voraciously and is interested in all aspects of Teaching and Learning.

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