please empty your brain below

Well done,DG. That was a good read this morning, or it may not have been. 😏
Could equally have replaced HS2 with Crossrail 2 or Silvertown tunnel and written virtually the same blog. Ever has it always been with major transport infrastructure schemes.

You however beautifully summed up the situation.
As its a brand new line, they could have started from Waterloo and/or Clapham Junction, Croydon, Lewisham or Gatwick and headed north, saving a lot of people south of the river from the hassle clambering through the Underground just to reach Euston.
DG your blog is always an exceptional read, except on the days that it isn’t.
Also, no one ever inadvertently makes the same gag without reading previous comments first, except on the days that they do.
I wonder what will open first - HS2 or the third runway at Heathrow?
We have to build it. the Mainlines out of London are full. Upgrading the existing lines will not release that much extra capacity. There is also no spare capacity at any of the London stations, or in Birmingham, Leeds or Manchester.

You think train tickets are expensive now. How much more expensive will they get with little extra capacity? Price rises will be the only way to throttle off demand. Unless you think a rationing system is a better alternative!
...or not
HS2's continued (potential) existence is testament to the power of commercial lobbying above all else. Everything else is window-dressing.
So....Would you say you were in favour? It's difficult to glean.
HS2 is definitely needed but not at that price. Based on global averages, it should be costing £10bn to £20bn, and at those prices, there would be a lot less argument. So why is it costing so much? Part of it is over engineering it - we have to have the best high speed line in the world, resulting in having the most expensive high speed line in the world.
HS2 is definitely needed but not at that price. Based on global averages, it should be costing £10bn to £20bn, and at those prices, there would be a lot less argument. So why is it costing so much? Part of it is over engineering it - we have to have the best high speed line in the world, resulting in having the most expensive high speed line in the world.
Unless it isn't.
Unless it isn't.
It's definitely not about speed. It's about capacity.
"...nothing could replace the historic pub they bulldozed, but hardly anybody went there anyway" ... because it was usually too busy to get in the door.

The Bree Louise has not yet been compensated fully.
It's definitely not about speed. It's definitely not about capacity. It's about votes.
I cannot work out why HS2 does not connect to HS1, it must only be about Half a mile of track then people from the North could go to Paris, Brussels etc with changing in London.
Part of the reason for the huge costs are the costs of doing anything involving London. Land prices are expensive in the capital.

But another reason is that very costly decisions have been made to pacify people. There's no real need to tunnel through the Chilterns. But someone in power decided to spend a huge amount of money to pacify a few locals in the Home Counties. Get rid of a lot of the tunnels and you'll save a fortune. I also read one experpt say the government had insisted on over-engineering some of the work, making it more expensive. There's savings that could potentially be made without ruining the whole proposition. (My prediction - they'll cut something they really shouldn't, and it will have to be recitified in the future at a far greater expense than doing it now.)

But the big question is, if not HS2 then what? There's nothing else shovel ready that will solve the capacity problems. Tearing up HS2 will probably end up setting us back a decade and the replacement will end up costing even more because we stalled and dithered.

Of course several Westminster politicians claim we should give the money to the northern rail network instead. Build HS3 instead, they say. Knowing full well that HS3 isn't ready to be built and it will be easier for them to pivot and say "HS3 really is too expensive. We should do something else" in a few years time. For that's the reality. A lot of the antis in Westminster don't want to spend any of this money on anything.

Note: I live in Manchester. Local politicians in the North have one united message. The North NEEDS HS2 AND HS3. Not one. Not the other. Both.

Of course many MPs for the Home Counties seem to think they know better...
I vaguely remember the cancellation of the HS1-HS2 link is due to disruptions to the North London line, a part of which would be directly used by the link and thus potential slots for London Orange Spaghetti and freight trains would be taken up, unless this is not the only reason, unless my memory doesn't serve me so well.
Thanks DG for clarifying:)
The Bree Louise was always rammed when I went there. Miss the pies.
We bought a house in France when the same debate was happening about the extension of the high speed TGV line from Tours to Bordeaux. The suggested route had just been released and there were ongoing protests.

That was in November 2006.

The 210 mile long new line was opened in July 2016.

At the same time a 133 mile long high speed line was built between leMans and Rennes.

The difference between that and HS2 is that the French railways live in the 21st century, not the 1930s
I used to like that historic pub, Bree Louise.
Having demolished the pub, if they do not build railway it will be a crime.
HS2 was conceived purely to comply with the EU's TEN-T high speed rail program, therefore, I am optimistic that a decision to cancel this white elephant will be made on or after 1st February.

There are no capacity problems, see recent entry on Beleben blog, and it is assumed that an impossible frequency of 18 trains per hour will run (13/14 may be feasible) and no one does any work on them, and apparently they are all full. The business case relies on these fanciful assumptions.

Existing services will be denuded, e.g. less services to Coventry, etc., and the line would run at 250mph (400 kph), an experimental speed with ground liquifaction effects undetermined.

However, the north needs northern powerhouse rail.
...unless it doesn't.
Ken - let me rephrase part of your message.

"There are no capacity problems, see recent entry on Beleben blog"
"There are no capacity problems, see recent entry on this heavily anti-HS2 blog, written by an unknown author with unproven level of industry knowledge and expertise."

I may not agree with writer Christian Wolmar on his stance on HS2. But I know his credentials and I know he has years of experience. I know his expertise and knowledge has led him to have his view. I respect him.

Some random person who won't even give their name, and whose blog barely gets any comments or traction?

Nah. Don't think I'll bother thanks.
My impression has always been that the French can do these big engineering projects quickly because they don't consult those who might be affected, while the British do.
Oh God, the Bree Louise. I didn't know. I loved the Bree Louise.
Andrew - I don't want to get into a slanging match.

For example, I checked beleben's data on the west coast upgrade where he pointed out the difference between modernisation £8Bn and upgrade £2Bn yet was falsely slated. This is a historic record.

His posts are based on sourced data. I do not have a problem with the lack of replies, those that do follow up with pertinent information.
Andrew and Ken here successfully exemplifying what the post is all about.
Excellent. My work here is done ;)
And so is mine (coming from a railway family) :-)
Well that's HS2 covered. Or not.
Regarding the link to the continent: one issue is that the short link will be hugely expensive and complex. But a bigger concern is the market for through services, which would start to fall behind the magic 3 hours when it is said that rail beats air.
The people of the north don't seem to be interested in frictionless travel to Brussels, so there is no point in the HS1-2 link, unless Canterbury Cathedral and Ashford Outlet take their fancy.

On a more serious note, I think the powers that be got it the wrong way round. They should have started with points north of Birmingham along with HS3/Northern Hub, getting the Powerhouse going, and then connect the lot with London at the end. Even so, the optimum situation would only be gained when it reaches Glasgow and Edinburgh. Maybe in another century or a parallel universe.
"Northern Powerhouse" ...only people south of Watford Gap use that term without laughing. As for HS2 imagine how many really affordable homes could have been built with the money already spent and the land already grabbed.
Even the most optimistic estimates of demand for through rail journeys between north-of-London and the continent do not exceed one full train per hour. Security rules out domestic rides on international trains. So unless an HS1-2 connection could be built very cheaply, and it couldn't, it's ruled right out.
The reason the French can get these things done is because they don’t bother consulting people and have the same population as us but twice the space.

The reason they’re tunnelling rather than slashing through the countryside is (a) Tory voters live there; and (b) the Pyrrhic victory that was Twyford Down means that nobody wants to drive unsightly bits of infrastructure through attractive scenery any more.

I think their big tactical error was to try to sell HS2 on speed initially, then to switch to capacity when that didn’t get received very enthusiastically. I’d say it’s 75% likely that it won’t go ahead in its current form.
The capacity problems are between the Midlands and the South east. Building a new line between Manchester and the Midlands would not be cost effective as the trains would have nowhere to go after they got to the Midlands. Don't forget that HS2 is effectively a link between London and the north west, bypassing Birmingham to connect into the WCML in Staffordshire, and will connect the whole of the NW to London. The spur into Birmingham will not connect with anything in the Midlands other than Birmingham City centre.
I'm not sure why there is this need for so many people to travel up and down the country. DG visits all the interesting places for us and does the write up so there is no need for us to do the same.
"watertight but debatable"
Nice work, DG.
Let's get HS2 done. Then decide whether it was worth it.
The vast cock-up called global overheating will make such projects as HS2 and LAP3 superfluous or impossible anyway, even if they get half completed eventually. There won’t be any need or sense in going anywhere will there? And no money. Today’s excellent blog pretty much summed that up for me. but then I feel that such pessimism is realism now. Time is of the essence, as always. Thanks DG.

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