Coffee House

Whips relaxed as HS2 bill faces small rebellion at second reading

25 April 2014

2:39 PM

25 April 2014

2:39 PM

The High-Speed Rail Bill pops up in the Commons on Monday – with two attempts to kill it off planned. Michael Fabricant and Cheryl Gillan – whose constituencies would both be affected by the proposed route – have both drawn up motions which call for the House of Commons to decline to give the Bill a second reading.

Fabricant was sacked from his position as Vice Chair of the Conservative party for pushing ahead with his motion (and a number of other things, too) and has the support of Sir Edward Leigh, Jeremy Lefroy, David Davis, David Nuttall, William Cash, Caroline Spelman, Bob Blackman, Chris Kelly and Andrew Turner. Gillan, who left the Cabinet in 2012 partly so that she could focus on campaigning against the line, has a cross-party group of MPs supporting her motion, which may make it more likely to be called by the Speaker. Labour’s Frank Dobson, Kate Hoey, Kelvin Hopkins and Natascha Engel, and Green MP Caroline Lucas have all signed Gillan’s clause, along with Tories Andrew Bridgen, Tim Loughton, David Nuttall (again), Caroline Spelman (again), Philip Lee, Dan Byles, Chris Kelly (again), Christopher Chope, David Davis (again) and Andrew Turner (again).


The Conservative whips are not going to any particular lengths at the moment to quell a rebellion, which is expected to lead to between 30 and 40 MPs either voting for whichever fatal motion is called, or simply voting against the second reading of the Bill itself.

But I also understand that when he was chief whip, Patrick McLoughlin told the Prime Minister that there was insufficient support for HS2 without Labour’s backing for it to pass through the Commons. Some of the tweaks to the route, including speeding up its construction in the North, have been attempts to seal in Labour support. The Opposition is unlikely to change its mind on backing the second reading of the Bill in spite of its wavering in recent months and so the Tory whips can to a certain extent leave MPs to vote as they please. They also know that Labour’s support and the inevitability of the Bill passing second reading will mean that the rebellion is contained to those who really care about the Bill, rather than spreading to those who just want to cause trouble for their leader, as it could do if a defeat was possible.

Gillan is also keen to see her proposals for a new longer tunnel under the area of outstanding natural beauty in the Chilterns discussed in the Hybrid Bill Committee. She says:

‘It’s a very sophisticated tunnelling option that will protect the whole of the AONB and this is this scheme that we hope will be adopted by the Hybrid Bill Committee. The costs could in the end by quite neutral as we’re going to be saving compensation payments to people whose houses would have been affected by the line.’

Gillan and backbench colleagues will be making forceful speeches at second reading on Monday afternoon. But do watch out for government ministers who suddenly find they must travel somewhere sufficiently far away that they cannot possibly make it back for this or any other vote.

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Show comments
  • NBD

    if the UK continues to grow at 2% p.a. then by 2030 the current infrastructure, which is already inadequate, will be incapable of supporting the UK economy. The UK Treasury in its “cost benefit analysis” for the M25 motorway – prior to it being built – concluded that it would be a “waste of public money” – enough said in terms of the Treasury, as it now funds widening the M25 to 5 lanes in some parts. Forecasting is difficult but we will need certainly require more capacity along the spine of the country as the existing lines are a;ready creaking at times. As the new chairman (David Higgins) of HS2 has comprehensively explained (if never properly covered by the negatively HS2 biased BBC) – the usual British way of patch up and make do – owing to the current alignment of track, the size of bridges and viaducts etc – especially on the West coast line. So the best option is a new line. – so why not construct it properly and be the envy of the world regarding 21st century infrastructure – rather like St. Pancras was 150 years ago. A sum of £42Bn spread over 14 years seems in line with the cost of Crossrail 1…..and Crossrail 2. As someone who has lived in London for many, many years I am surprised that there appears to be little backlash against these projects and the cost. Currently the amount spent per head of transport in the UK is £5 in the North East of England and £2,500 in London – and this is before Crossrail 2! The HS2 scheme will not only provide the best method of supporting the economy but also provide excellent infrastructure outside of the South of England. Public money is required for HS2 as this is the proper financial structure. The private sector does not tend to provide long term finance and this is a long term project. As the late Alistair Morton (in charge of the Channel Tunnel project) explained – the main reason the scheme had financial difficulties was that Mrs Thatcher insisted that there should be no public money so it was financed using short term private finance – interest rates rose rapidly – and the finances suffered owing to the incorrect finnacial structure.. The new mantra in the UK is about a return to engineering and rebalancing the economy etc, so why not showcase the best of British civil engineering with a project to be proud of with HS2 and 21st century travel.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      If you want to showcase proper civil engineering, I’d suggest not forcing through a vanity project absent proper civil engineering analysis.

  • In2minds

    The politicians want HS2 the public don’t, the politicians should beware.

  • Mark McIntyre

    NO2 HS2 – relax and carry on – slowly !

  • HS2PoisonedChalice

    We shall see whether the intention is to build a railway or to break an AONB. The option to tunnel through the Chilterns is the obvious solution to opposition in the Tory heartlands of Buckinghamshire and could placate many of the projects fiercest opponents. Of course there would still be the horrendous cost to the taxpayer and widespread disruption through the remainder of the route, but it would at least demonstrate that HS2 isn’t simply the forerunner of a developers charter to dig up an AONB.

  • mopdenson

    The momentum for HS2 has been driven by self interest, not National interest. Building contemporary infrastructure without environmental conscience is unforgivable. The current plan for HS2 is flawed. Is HS2 the best way to spend £50bn of taxpayers money? I believe the answer is NO.

    • HookesLaw

      our Country needs the infrastructure spending.. You r figures include a massive extra normal contingency

      • Alexsandr

        not HST. with just a fraction of the HST money we could make our railways world class,

        • Tom M

          I’ve long since given up the idea that we have the capabilities to make anything world class.

          • padav

            Then take a trip on a Eurostar on HS1 @Tom M – a world class rail line underwritten by UK taxpayers – that’s UK as in ALL of us!

            • Tom M

              That tells me a lot about you. The Eurostar, something of a branch line of the French TGV from Lille. Have you actually seen what the Eurostar connects to? Have a look at the French TGV network and compare that with the 50 miles or so of high speed track into London (and remember how long it took to do) .
              Compare raliway network’s technology and speeds in Japan (Tokaido Bullet) or China (Maglev) and look again at this siding we call Eurostar.
              Get a grip.

              • padav

                Have you actually seen what the Eurostar connects to?

                errrrrr……..yes, in fact several times – I usually take the Eurostar, transit through Lille Europe and board trains for other European destinations

                It is your defeatist tone avoiding the real point here. There’s a big factor involved in why the UK is always 20 years behind – you only have to look below the line when any article about HS2 appears, full of ill-informed claptrap and whingers who believe the hype whipped up by a very small number of self interest driven (ie. the new line comes near them!) campaigners with the sole aim of poisoning public opinion – and boy have they been successful on that front!

                Actually, if you care to check, most of the Shinkansen trains in Japan are restricted to 300km/h (186mph in old money) operating speeds and I’m not quite sure what relevance the 30km or so of Maglev operating between Pudong and Shanghai Airport has to this debate? On the several thousand km of High Speed Rail trackway in China, again most trains are limited to 300km/h, for a mixture of energy saving and safety reasons.

                The fastest scheduled train speeds can be found on certain sections within the French LGV network. The train I was on a couple of weeks back was running at about 320km/h on the LGV section between Lyon Part Dieu and Marseille St Charles – trains on the LGV Est phase I (and phase II) when it opens in a couple of years also run at 320km/h. New lines opening up soon, such as the LGV SEA between Tours and Bordeaux may see the advent of even faster running speeds, up to 350km/h?

                HS2 is designed to facilitate 400km/h running speeds (again on specific sections only) although this theoretical upper limit won’t be approached until energy saving technology advances to enable these speeds on a regular basis. When it opens it is currently planned to operarate HS2 train services between 320km/h – 350km/h

                Please don’t presume to lecture me on this topic, particularly when your grasp of the facts is not as firm as you pretend?

                • Tom M

                  I think it was you who commented upon my observation that I doubt if we, that is the UK in general and the government in particular, could achieve anything world class and then you went on to describe the world class networks in France and the rest the world. I think that means you also believe that world class train networks at any rate all exist elsewhere. QED I think.
                  You make particular reference to the length of the Chinese Maglev line as being only 30Kms implying that it shouldn’t be in the world class category..
                  Might I remind you that the UK end of the Eurostar isn’t all that much longer than the Maglev line and it only replicates things done long before and elsewhere. Nothing much new there at all. A comfy train journey the Eurostar certainly is (I travel the TGV as well. The new extension being built going from Tours to Bordeaux passes my house and the next phase will see it on it’s way to Madrid) but world class? When the UK rail network bears comparison with the Franch TGV nework, for all the reasons you stated, speak to me again.
                  Just as a small historical note. I think that the UK, as far as railways went, lived in a bubble between the 20s and the 50s. We used to pride ourselves on our wonderful locomotives, rolling stock and networks in total isolation from the continent.
                  Such direct comparisons as were made between French locomotives, for example, showed the UK variety to be poor contenders. The most efficient locomotives in the steam world were French. The fact that we interested ourselves in claiming things lik a steam speed record with Mallard amazed the French. They had moved on. The results are now plain to see.

    • padav

      Why not come clean @mopdenson – you are hostile to HS2 simply because you live in Great Missenden, bang next door to the planned pathway of this much need infrastructure project! By the way, the real budget for HS2 construction is actually £28bn

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Heh. If you ever get around to betting that number, you better bet the over, lad.

  • rtj1211

    Good to see Gillan being constructive in her objections, coming up with alternatives which are cost neutral.

  • Alexsandr

    they should forget this unnecessary vanity project
    West coast inter city ridership is flat now
    the worst rail congestion is lines into Paddington and Waterloo.
    Small capacity improvement can help. They are building Norton bridge flyover soon. They then need Colwich and hanslope. Also they can get 8 coach units like those ordered for Thameslink because an 8 coach unit has more capacity than 2 * 4 car ones. (Less cabs, disabled toilets etc) They are making 5 coach units on SW trains too for the same reason.
    and if they want to help the midlands and the north they need to look at the infrastructure and the trains. getting trans-pennine quicker would be a good scheme. and having a plan for getting rid of the pacers is another. But the Manchester-Liverpool electrification is in trouble because the class 319’s may not be released by thameslink in time. and the promised refurbishment may not happen. Useless DfT again.

    • Kurt Stephens

      Alexsandr – the WCML tracks (not necessarily seats) are the busiest in Europe, no one disputes this fact.

      You are only talking about Virgin trains passenger numbers which rose 4.4% in 2012 and 0.6% last year – still a rise and not flat.

      You ignore London Midland, who are also seeing strong passenger growth.

      But the simple fact, that no one disputes, is there is a chronic capacity issue on the tracks meaning there are problems serving new markets…
      Virgin already cannot run services to Blackpool and Shrewsbury despite there being the passenger demand to run such services – what affect does this have on the economies of these towns?

      The lack of paths on the WCML also means that there is no room for additional paths for freight, hence why the Rail Freight Group are so strongly in favour of HS2.
      Not having capacity to move a growing amount of freight by rail in the north clearly is not good for the economy.
      Also consider what impact the continued growth in the population of places like Milton Keynes will have. As the population of such town grows there will be ever increasing demand for more and more services to these towns, without additional paths either these passengers cannot be served – bad for the economy, or paths are taken from services further north – bad for the economy.
      HS2 solves this track capacity issue by removing many of the intercity paths from the WCML, leaving commuter and freight services, with many extra paths on the WCML for growing demand for new services to places like Shrewsbury, Blackpool and Milton Keynes on the WCML whilst those places like Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield etc will all run on the new tracks.
      The reason that HS2 is a dead cert to happen is simply because no one has come up with a credible alternative that delivers that extra track capacity to the busiest railway in Europe.

      • realfish

        Excellent post Kurt.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Yes, he seems to think so, too.

      • HookesLaw

        You talk far too much sense for the luddite cultist kippers. Once stuck in their fantasy bubble they have nowhere else to go

      • Alexsandr

        I think you will find the routes out of london going south are more congested
        They could add capacity to the west coast route by running all trains with 12 on. the pendos are only 11, some 9. and virgin run 5 coach voyagers too. and LM dont run all 12 coach trains.
        There are alternative routes. freight could go via Bedord, then through Hinckley to reach the WCML. Nuneaton is all grade separated now
        they could also use the ‘new’ lines between willesden and watford for freight. they only have 3 trains an hour north of harrow and wealdstone.
        There is also the Chiltern route which could be used for freight or more passenger services. Chiltern only run up to 8 carriages.

        but if you want to benefit he north, do stuff in the north to make travel there better. speed up trans pennine, decent new trains -not hand me downs.

        and HS2 is designed wrongly. If it is to succeed in brum, it should run through new street, not be a long walk away at curzon street. (A very scary walk through an underpass)

        and will people from nottingham and derby really use connecting trains to get to Toton in favour of a through trains form their city centres? same in sheffield and its station at meadowhall.

        • realfish

          ‘…If it is to succeed in brum, it should run through new street, not be a long walk away at curzon street. (A very scary walk through an underpass)’

          While the buffer stops will be at Curzon Street, the HS2 station entrance will be adjacent to Moor Street, passengers carried there on walkways and an extension to the tramway

        • Kurt Stephens

          Again you are talking about seat capacity, sure there are lines into London with higher average seating usage, but none with the tracks as full.
          Your plans would add about 40% extra seating capacity for about £20bn and would lead to 14 years of weekend closures on the WCML.
          HS2 adds about 140% extra seating capacity for about £42bn with far less disruption (although granted some disruption) to existing services whilst connections are built etc.
          The reality is though you are not talking about introducing any new track capacity in a credible meaningful way.
          Have a look at the map at the back of the first link I provided. Almost all the WCML is full, there is no spare capacity into Manchester from the south, Brum from the east etc.
          Come up with a costed, credible solution that deals with the capacity constraints on the busiest railway in Europe, that deals realistically with all the areas on the line that are under capacity constraints and people may take the anti-HS2 side seriously.
          Alas, so far the idea that some freight could be diverted around Bedford (but then brought back to the already full WCML lines!!!!!) is somehow a solution is laughable in the extreme and sums up perfectly why those opposed to HS2 have lost the political argument – they have failed to address the issues that need addressing, rather simply ignored them and hoped that they would go away and there would NEVER need to be any new freight, commuter or long distance railway paths on the WCML.

          • Alexsandr

            but the wcml is not full north of rugby. It is mostly 4 track to crewe, but the lm service is far less than south of MK and 3 virgin trains an hour have turned off to the w mids.
            the only busy bit then is between stafford and norton bridge where they are building a flyover and resignalling.
            i have come up with ways of increasing capacity but you dont like them. And you have not addressed the fact that the wcml is not the pinch point but commuter services are south of the thames and in the north.

            • Kurt Stephens

              Well someone, no doubt an armchair expert, does seem to disagree with those consultants (and everyone in the industry) that the WCML is full.
              Seemingly Crosscountry services etc that fill up the tracks between Manchester and Stoke don’t count?
              Your suggestions are not credible.
              Tell me, how many extra paths do your suggestions lead to and between which places?

              • Alexsandr

                suggest you get a copy of the april 2014 issue of industry magazine modern railways, read and learn.

                • Kurt Stephens

                  Suggest you simply tell those of us on here which additional paths your plans would your suggestions add and between which places.
                  Or is the reality that your suggestions don’t actually add any new paths given the constraints either side of your suggested improvements?

                • Alexsandr

                  if you have trains with more seats you dont need more paths for more capacity. but the argument that the WCML needs loads of additional capacity is now in doubt. read roger ford as i suggested.

                  grade separation at hanslope would prob add 1 path per hour. And add reliability. the new flyover at hitchin is supposed to be a great sucess.

                  and getting freight to use electric traction would help. so many freights are diesel hauled.
                  but you have failed to answer that the wcml is not the pinch point that needs fixing. There are places on the network more in need of improvement.
                  like slade lane junct that needs a flyover.
                  trans pennine needs a real speed up

                • Kurt Stephens

                  So you plan to spend £20bn on the WCML to upgrade it to allow for longer trains, giving 14 years of disruption then in the end actually reduce services to some places!!!
                  Wow, and people claim HS2 is controversial. Sure that would go down really well with those places you plan to cut the services to.
                  Much freight of course passes through areas with no cables, so whilst desirable to have electric traction not very practical.
                  Still, you have not stated where on the network these capacity enhancements would help.
                  How does grade separation help the capacity issues south of Milton Keynes? Reality is even if you could run an extra 1tph in that area where does that train go then since the tracks are full all the way down into Euston?
                  There are places all over the network that need upgrades, hence the DfT are spending £38bn on the network in the current investment period, improving Transpennine services with Northern Hub and electrification etc.
                  As I said, the reason you have lost the political argument is because you simply ignore a very real issue that is affecting the economies of places like Blackpool and Shrewsbury today and will affect far more into the future.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  How has he lost the political argument? Call Me Dave is pushing this HS2 business, and his head is going to be mounted on a spike in 13.0 months time. All his political arguments are going to be mounted up with him.

                  Some of the reason for that mounting is that engineering studies in hand do not give support for this fiasco’s first premise, that speed is at issue and necessitates a massive upgrade in the form of a parallel system of new concept. When that was shown to be a sham, the supporters suddenly decided that capacity was the reason for it all, but it was then shown that capacity issues can be addressed at far less cost than the (currently lowballed) costs for this version of HS2.

                  Most people seem to recognize that this is all a scam. Check the polls. That’s the surest measurement of the “political argument” you’re imagining has been “lost”.

                • Kurt Stephens

                  rewritten history, the HS2 command paper that setup HS2 Ltd had the first
                  priority in the list of goals as capacity, not speed.


                  With this always being the case, like many other consultants the best easy to
                  achieve the greatest capacity increase was always to separate out the intercity
                  paths from the slower commuter and freight services, mixing such traffic is
                  very inefficient.

                  WCML with all the bends is clearly not ideal for intercity travel at speed and
                  capacity as the trains need be shrank the gauge to have tilt, also building a
                  new freight commuter line alongside WCML would require expensive and numbers
                  demolitions every served to access town centre.

                  So if you’re going to build a new intercity line, the best way of separating
                  the trains, to create capacity which was obviously number one goal for HS2 Ltd
                  right back to March 2010 when they were setup, then you want to attract as many
                  people onto it as popular, trading as many away from the older network,
                  creating as many new passengers, to pay for it as much as possible, by making
                  as attractive as possible.

                  Reality is designing a track for 400km/h has very little (less than 10% has
                  been quoted) cost difference and design difference than designing conventional
                  speeds, if you’re going to invest something like this may well future proof and
                  build as good possible. Those higher speeds will one day, when extended to
                  Scotland, hopefully mean the internal flights we see between many cities will

                  So yes, the political argument has been lost by those opposed HS2, all major
                  parties fully support HS2 since they all know capacity is a serious economic
                  issue for town cities along WCML (and ECML) whilst those who have opposed HS2
                  not tried ever deliver a credible alternative what HS2 have provided to address
                  the number one goal that was set over 4 years ago by the government of the day
                  and is still ignored today.
                  Look at the reaction from northern towns and cities when it was suggested that Labour may dilute it’s support for the scheme last autumn, those areas understand the importance and have ensured that those in the Labour party understand the need to back the scheme for capacity reasons whilst the Tories will enter the next election with this as a manifesto commitment and all realistic Cameron replacements after a Tory defeat are also strong HS2 supporters.

                  Reality is many like yourself, opposed to HS2 will have never even bothered
                  reading HS2 command paper from 2010, then act surprised when their solution is
                  something you not expecting.

                  The games nearly up, Monday and Tuesday will highlight this in

                • padav

                  Many thanks @Kurt Stephens for stating the obvious (it needs to be done more often) – common sense, objectivity and rational debate were the first casualties of in the HS2 war of words – the anti-HS2 brigade are never going to listen to factually driven conclusions like yours; not when they can sense the prospect of hard hats appearing on the horizon to spoil their little bit of (perceived) paradise in the not too distant future?

                  When the Hybrid Bill passes its 2nd reading on Monday (or is it Tuesday now?) and enters the committee stage, much of this hot air nonsense will evaporate. The Hybrid Bill cannot reach Royal Assent during the present Parliament anyway so it will be for the incoming post May 2015 administration to finish the job.

                  The passage of the Paving Bill has at least prepared the ground so no major delays will be encountered in the construction timetable.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  No, sorry, but the clue is in the name, lad. It’s High Speed 2, not High Capacity 2.

                  With that in mind, that you seek to dissemble on even the political selling features of this HS2 scam, we can safely ignore the rest of your post, as merely additional fluff. And since you HS2 scammers seem so well capable of fudging the truth from the beginning, we are safe to assume that your cost estimates are lies as well, and will cost far more than is currently claimed (and current costs still outpace more affordable capacity fixes readily available, absent your scam).

                  Again, Call Me Dave is pushing this scam, and his head is going to be mounted on a spike 13.0 months from now. So much for your nonsense re a “political argument” as having been “lost”. Mounted heads are the means by which political arguments are settled, lad.

                  Oh, and check the polls, lad. You seem not to understand what the People think of this, even if you bubble denizens are in love with it. Far cheaper means are available to alleviate the capacity issues than those scams that you High Speed scamsters have conjured up, and the People well know it.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Oh and by the way, lad, the study you linked is not a capacity analysis, and your assertion that it is so is a lie. It is a sales brochure for your HS2 scam.

                  Let me know when you can link to capacity analysis of the existing system presented side-by-side with your scam.

                • Kurt Stephens

                  So where is the analysis of the study that shows the flaws in it?

                  Also, if it is a sham, why did the Office for Rail Regulation not permit Virgin to run new service to Shrewsbury and Blackpool?

                  Or are you a person who believes that the WCML has infinite capacity?

                  You see, no one has managed to convince those decision makers that the WCML does have infinite capacity – hence why those opposed to HS2 have lost the political argument.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  It is up to you to provide the capacity analysis, lad. It’s not in the study that you lied and said contained it.

                  Stop lying, is my first suggestion to you. And refer to my second paragraphs above. That is what you are obligated to provide, after you cease lying and decide to support your position.

                • Kurt Stephens

                  If the links I have provided are lies and scams it is a shame for those opposed to HS2 that no one has bothered to highlight within these documents where the lies actually are, highlighting the reality.
                  That would undermine the case for HS2.

                  Alas, for those opposed to HS2, as far as I am aware no one has done so.
                  Anyway, will leave you to your beliefs, no idea what they are based on, but clearly we are never going to agree so have fun, but please do not be too upset or surprised when your world view is replaced by one based on the reports you deem to be a scam.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You even lie about a post I made an hour ago, lad. Are you that far gone?

                  I made no reference to the truth or accuracy of any reports, laddie. I said you are lying about them.

                  I said you are a liar.

                  You lied and said your link was a rail capacity study, and it isn’t. It’s a sales pitch for your scam. It is only that, and not what you lied and said it was.

                  As mentioned above, after you quit lying, you are obligated to provide the capacity and economic analysis for the rehabilitation of the existing system, and put it side by side with your HS2 scam. You haven’t done so, you have only lied and said you have.

                  Oh, and watch as pretty soon here, heads begin being mounted on spikes. That’s what the People tend to do, when such as you lie to them.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You lie so easily, we must assume you are a politician, lad. Pity, that.

                  I’m a civil engineer. We don’t lie. We do enjoy exposing lying politicians, however.

                • Kurt Stephens

                  So you just chose to ignore the goals that HS2 was setup to achieve then?

                  I see a pattern, ignore when you do not want to deal with the reality.

                  So far, as far as I can tell, you have not suggested doing anything to deal with the track capacity issues that HS2 was setup to achieve back in March 2010, just ignore them and pretend that they do not affect the economies of the places impacted like Shrewsbury, Blackpool and anywhere that moves freight?

                  Nothing, no alternative credible suggestions in over 4 years.

                  Then you talk about the political side, well, the only opinion poll I am aware of that was not commissioned by anyone with a vested interest was the one in the Guardian…


                  That being the one that had more people in favour of building it than not building it.

                  Even if you do not want to accept that opinion poll, just look at the recent responses to the Environmental Sustainability consultation, just 22,000 responses, of which the vast majority were simply people sending in campaign postcards – why such low response rate given the supposed mass opposition to this scheme that many claim?
                  Finally, if Cameron is no longer the leader of the Tories after the 2015 election why not share with us who you think will be the next Tory leader posting the links that suggest that the next Tory leader will oppose HS2?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re not saying anything new or relevant in your first couple sentences, lad, so again I’m going to have to skip everything beyond that, as it’s surely a waste.

                  You scammers lied from the beginning, and we must assume you’re lying now.

                  As I said, the polls are quite clear on this, as to the politics. The People recognize this as a scam. You’ll find out shortly, as we begin taking the real polls, the only polls that count, following which certain heads will begin relocating to new locations on top of pikes.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You’re not saying anything new or relevant in your first couple sentences, lad, so again I’m going to have to skip everything beyond that, as it’s surely a waste.

                  You scammers lied from the beginning, and we must assume you’re lying now.

                  As I said, the polls are quite clear on this, as to the politics. The People recognize this as a scam. You’ll find out shortly, as we begin taking the real polls, the only polls that count, following which certain heads will begin relocating to new locations on top of pikes.

          • Alexsandr

            14 years of weekend closures to build a flyover at hanslope. dont be silly
            they could run longer trains now if they had the stock. You keep talking of paths. but passengers dont buy paths they buy a place on a train. if the train is longer and/or has less wasted space on (say) 3 disabled toilets in a 12 car train, or lots of cabs cos the train is made up of short units, then you get a passenger capacity improvements.
            ask the DfT why they didnt extend all the pendos to 11 cars and why they didnt go for the 12 car option.
            If the it of the WCML between euston and MK is full then fix that, dont build a £50m new rail line between london and manchester. You could get the Tring stoppers out of euston by sending them down crossrail which is probably where the worst congestion is. small bit of railway between old oak common and willesden would fix that. You could use the ‘new lines’ for fat as watford. and the increase in reliability of grade separated junctions further north would help too. (More trains on time unaffected by delays in the opposite direction, easier timetabling)

            The HS2 scheme is flawed is so many ways. If we are going to improve the rail system then dont do it in this damn silly way.

            • Kurt Stephens

              14 years of disruption to lengthen trains to 12 carriages on the lines you are talking about, at a cost of £20bn.


              Do you not remember how expensive and disruptive the last attempted WCML upgrade was? Did we learn nothing how disruptive and ineffective patching a Victorian railway is?

              To run 12 carriage trains on the line you need to rebuild depots (often without any room to do so), lengthen platforms (often without any room to do so), you need to move all sorts of signals to allow for the longer platforms, you need to move all sorts of junctions to allow for the longer stations and moved signalling.

              All on a railway that you want to be running normally.

              So, if you can do this in less that 14 years costing less than £20bn (with a P95 optimism bias) then fire away.

              How does running extra seats, after 14 years of disruption and £20bn of cost provide a single new service to the likes of Shrewsbury and Blackpool? Or are you simply continuing to ignore this?

              How does it add a single extra path for the growing freight demand?

              The tracks are full between Euston and Milton Keynes, also between Brum and Coverntry also between Stoke and Manchester.

              There is a common factor here, the parts of the network that are full tend to be on the WCML.

              Look around the world, where people have the option they separate fast services from commuter lines and freight.

              You do not find ICE trains running on the S-Bahn network in Germany, you do not find freight trains on the TGV in France.

              Isn’t it incredibly telling, over 4 years since HS2 Ltd was setup to deal with the capacity issues on the WCML and ECML, despite all the vocal opposition, not one of those groups opposed to HS2 has actually delivered a credible, costed alternative? Unless you can provide a link to such a website that includes cost, impact and benefit of course?

              Reality is there are significant constraints on the WCML (and ECML) that are affecting the economies of places like Blackpool and Shrewsbury already today in 2014.

              The idea that nothing is done to create capacity so that no new passenger services or freight can travel between these places and the other places served by the WCML hampers growth in these areas – those opposed to HS2 ignore this over and over again.

              Those opposed to HS2 seem to think that there will never ever be any need to run any new services into Manchester from the south, Brum from the East, London from the Milton Keynes direction, Leeds from the East etc etc.

              All those cities can never grow their rail usage as demand would lead to in an unconstrained market? Not good for their economies in my opinion.

              So show me this credible alternative, tell me exactly the cost, the disruption and the impact and then we will have a sensible discussion.

              Sticking a single flyover near Milton Keynes simply shifts the problem to another bottleneck and solves none of the problems of lack of paths.

  • asalord

    A new railway for England. Westminster wastes more Scottish tax-payers’ money on an English vanity project.

    • Alexsandr

      Unlike Airdrie-Bathgate, alloa, Whifflet electrification, paisley canal electrification, and now dunblane/alloa electrification and galashiels reopening. The scots seem to be doing quite nicely thank-you.

      • realfish

        In addition

        December 2013 – Haymarket Station Capacity enhancements open to passengers
        Summer 2014 – electrification of Whifflet lines
        May 2014 – Introduction of electric services on Cumbernauld route
        December 2016 – Introduction of 7 car electric services on Edinburgh- Glasgow via Falkirk High route
        December 2016 – Edinburgh Gateway Rail /Tram interchange opens to passengers (by December 2016)
        December 2018 – Electrification of Stirling, Alloa, Dunblane line services with journey time improvements for passengers travelling to Edinburgh or Glasgow
        December 2018 – Edinburgh Glasgow Electrification (EGIP) – 42 minute fastest journey time and introduction of 8 car electric services on Edinburgh – Glasgow via Falkirk High route
        (Date TBC) – Rebuilding of Glasgow Queen Street Station
        2019 – electrification of 75km of the Shotts Line between Holytown and Midcalder junctions
        TBA – Aberdeen – Inverness major upgrade
        Borders line re-opened

        • Alexsandr

          the scots are going to do the borders line badly – not enough double track to make the service reliable, and not fixing portobello junction where the borders will meet the ECML. They are building in delays.

      • In2minds

        Indeed, not that there is any vanity tied up in the Scottish independence movement!