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High Speed 2

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High Speed 2 (HS2) is a high speed rail project in the United Kingdom. Its primary purpose is to segregate ICE (Inter-City Express) trains from local stopping services and freight.[1][2]:7[3][4] By removing non-stop services from the existing network, it becomes possible to reduce headwaysWikipedia and run as many as 3-4x as many trains per hour, in addition to the 18tph that will run directly on HS2.[5]

The project has been controversial because investing in strategic national infrastructure is traditionally frowned upon by the British Government — especially when it might help poor people. Notwithstanding the usual politicking, it was proceeding fairly steadily until Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson fucked it up in November 2021 with the "Integrated Rail Plan for the North and Midlands".

The project is a case-study in many of the political challenges faced when delivering large infrastructure projects including FUD, pseudoscience and pseudoplanning.

HS2 has been dogged by poor communications, with politicians focussing on shiny new toys like 200mph trains and oblivious to less sexy outcomes like the reopening of local stations (which is the actual point of it). Compounding the poor communications, many commentators have not bothered to read the technical background[1], nor understood the existing bottlenecks which HS2 seeks to overcome. Using pseudoplanning techniques (or just screaming at the price tag, which is entirely within normal government CAPEX spending), NIMBYs have deemed HS2 a "white elephant".[6] Detractors have also claimed that costs are "out of control",[7] despite budget increases mostly being because of multiple reviews as well as respecting the "will of the people", such as tunnelling under the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.[8] Brexit tanking the exchange rate also made imports 10-20% more expensive.

Ironically, HS2 probably is a vanity project so far as most politicians are concerned — it just happens to also be a much-needed bit of strategic infrastructure! A case where they (mostly) do the right thing for entirely the wrong reasons.


UK High Speed 2 rail map

HS2 became a mainstream political topic around 2007 when a hypothetical new railway was discussed at the Conservative Party Conference. Various configurations were proposed serving different priorities. Key talking points included the replacement of domestic aviation (alleviating the need for a third runway at Heathrow airport) as well as a more general idea that the UK had fallen behind contemporaries such as France, Germany and Japan in public transport provision. The rail industry cheered, because they had wanted to segregate express traffic from local traffic for decades but policy makers hadn't been interested in funding it.

In 2009, Gordon Brown's Labour Government commissioned a report, which resulted in the March 2010 Command Paper "High Speed Rail".[1] This identified capacity release as the key priority, with reduced journey times as a secondary benefit which would create competition with domestic aviation. Politicians have subsequently gone to great lengths to ignore capacity release because local services aren't as sexy as "world beating" 225mph Shinkansen.

This initial brainstorming was later weaponised to denounce the project as "a solution looking for a problem", despite the fact that the final project solves many of those problems.

For instance, in 2013 Dr Richard Wellings of the Institute of Economic Affairs complained that this complex infrastructure project had not been designed perfectly on the first attempt and had evolved in response to feedback from stakeholders. In an evidence session to the House of Lords Economic Select Committee, Wellings described this as "deeply suspect":[9]

It started when the Conservatives first introduced the line—it was supposed to be an alternative to Heathrow expansion. ... Then it became all about the time savings; then it was about capacity. ... This makes the whole thing deeply suspect.

Having offered this damning indictment of iterative design, Wellings concluded with:

I do not know any of the details of what HS2 would actually look like

Of course, any teenager who had read the March 2010 Command Paper could have provided those details.[1] Such incredibly uninformed opinions abound in discussion of HS2, often awarded a unearned level of authority.

Fallacious Opposition[edit]

Hillingdon against HS2

Cost - World's 5th 6th 7th largest economy can't afford infrastructure[edit]

In common with other large public works, costs were pitched low to solicit political buy-in and then fluctuated upwards as political demands were imposed (e.g. extensive tunnelling) and detailed survey work uncovered difficult ground and other challenges. This provided bait for yellow journalism as "spiralling project costs" are always a sure-fire way to sell papers.

An initial estimate was £27Bn (for the Phase 1 line only).[2]:17 The budget later "rose" to £80-100Bn, but this included the full Y-Shaped network, integration with Northern Powerhouse Rail and rolling stock.

In 2016, the value of sterling fell sharply following the Brexit Referendum.[10][11] This increased the cost of imported equipment such as the German-manufactured tunnel-boring machines.[12]

"We Can't Afford It"[edit]

Apparently HS2 is the straw that will break the camel's back (if you can spot it)

By fixating on the overall project cost, opponents seek to distract the reader from the fact that HS2 is a 15+year infrastructure project and annual spending is entirely within line with other infrastructure projects. This plays off public Innumeracy, as well as a general lack of education in how the economics of monetary sovereigns differs from domestic or private business economics. Really, the UK can afford it. It's fine.

"We should spend the money improving local/legacy rail"[edit]

A common cry is that the money should be spent on improving local rail. Aside from ignoring the overriding #Capacity justification (HS2 releases dozens of train paths on the legacy network), the underlying assumptions tend to be that:

  • Upgrading or reopening old lines is cheap. This is rarely the case (see: WCML ModernisationWikipedia). Even where cost-effective, lines upgrades are usually extremely disruptive, requiring lengthy closures for works to progress. Rebuilding a line along an existing alignment can defray land purchase costs, but it is often still necessary to acquire additional land to straighten sections (with associated legal and planning expense), and "reopening" typically means fully rebuilding a line - even where old tracks exist - as the rails and sub-base will have degraded without regular maintenance.
  • We can only do one thing or the other. This is untrue. Over the HS2 build period, Network Rail will spend ~£200Bn on upgrades and improvements to the legacy network.

The call to "spend it on local rail instead" typically presumes that there is a fixed pot of money in Treasury which is currently labelled "HS2". This is not the case - infrastructure spend is typically funded by borrowing. If a positive business case can be developed for reopening a line or station, it is perfectly possible to borrow for that purpose, and such projects have - and are - being developed in addition to HS2. Recent examples include the Borders RailwayWikipedia and Dartmoor LineWikipedia, as well as projects under study as part of the Restoring your Railways fundWikipedia. The claim that HS2 is diverting funds from the existing railways is untrue.

Proponents of legacy improvements are typically unwilling to offer specifics, beyond vague claims that modern signalling will increase capacity by as much as 30% (experience installing ETCSWikipedia indicates that it typically makes operations more robust, but rarely offers double-digit capacity increases) or that electrification will allow trains to accelerate faster, improving average speeds. None of these address the requirement to achieve a 100% capacity increase by 2040 (to meet net-zero targets), nor do they address scarcity of platform space at key central stations which limits services even on lines which otherwise have spare running capacity. No one has managed to demonstrate how you could achieve a 300% capacity increase on the WCML, ECML and MML via in-place upgrades for a mere £100Bn.

Making shit up[edit]

Ever keen to fart out a blog post, StopHS2 have never shied away from simply making shit up. In February 2015 Joe Rukin claimed that "HS2 Ltd admit they will scrap all current long distance trains to Euston".[13] Joe had the chutzpah to extrapolate a discussion on "non stop services" into a claim that towns including Coventry, Wolverhampton, Crewe, Stafford and Stockport would lose their direct services to London. This was bollocks and relied on selective use of oral testimony (cherry-picking key words like "non", "stop" and "train"!), as well as ignoring the slides that accompanied the presentation and the projected service patterns provided in the 2013 Economic Case.[14][15]

Misleading use of studies[edit]

In cases where more detailed "alternative" plans have been forwarded, the economic case is not made or the plans have been misrepresented as "do this instead" when they were only proposed as adjacent or integrating projects. For instance, StopHS2 circulated the "Connecting Britain by Rail" paper,[16] presenting it as an alternative scheme to HS2.[17] In reality it was a proposal for using components of HS2 that had already been built (or were in advanced states of construction) if HS2 was cancelled. Much of the paper relies on repurposing some of the most expensive components of HS2 (such as the Euston and Birmingham stations and approaches) for local rail. In relation to the new Birmingham station at Curzon Street, they state:

Using the Curzon Street site as the hub connecting Inter-City and regional services, rearranging and improving the routes into and out of the city for trains in each type, with separate tracks for high speed, long distance trains and for urban and local services, would multiply the capacity of the West Midlands network. The infrastructure improvements needed would be very substantial, but they would be directed to the needs of everyone in the region, not just long-distance travellers.

In this, they accurately describe the purpose of Curzon Street - to rearrange the routes into Birmingham and bring high speed, long distance trains in on a separate track from urban services. This quote repeats the fallacy that HS2 only benefits long-distance travellers, when its primary purpose is to enable the segregation of traffic which will benefit local and regional journeys.

Despite containing many worthy proposals (such as restarting extensive electrification projects) the paper offers no cost estimates or business case analysis, does not argue for the cancellation of HS2, nor demonstrates that these works replace or deliver the benefits of HS2.


See the main article on this topic: NIMBY

The majority of criticism levied against HS2 has originated from NIMBYs, usually riffing on variations of "people don't care about getting to London any quicker", "we should just travel less anyway" and "we can't afford it".

In 2011, the right-wing TaxPayers' Alliance deemed HS2 "a huge spending risk" during a time of "fiscal crisis", alleging that average passenger income would be £70,000 and that this was a "railway for the rich, paid for by everyone".[18] This analysis chose to ignore entirely the released capacity benefits of HS2, or the impact it would have on local commuting amongst low-income workers. The TPA further argued in favour of austerity during a time of recession, despite mainstream economics accepting that government spending and running a deficit is the classic remedy to recession.[19]

GPEW Rail Policy

Ironically, NIMBY, environmental and even anti-spending groups frequently hedge their criticism by arguing that (or "asking if") the money should be spent on local rail instead. Aside from deliberately ignoring the released-capacity benefit of HS2, they would undoubtedly scream blue murder if you actually tried to build new urban rail, with the demolition and disruption that would entail. On finances, they prefer not to be drawn on defining a price point that they would be happy with or consider "value for money". In particular the Green Party of England and Wales claim to be in favour of high speed rail in principle. They just haven't met a scheme they approve of yet.

The Greens support high speed rail in principle because it should improve Britain’s transport system, reduce road and air traffic and help cut carbon emissions. But HS2 does too much damage to local communities and to the environment, and is too pricey.[20]

Post-COVID decline in ridership[edit]

Everyone[note 1] will work from home now so we don't need trains or good public transport.

Yup. That's a thing some over-privileged halfwits people have said. The facts disagree - by May 2022 rail ridership had rebounded to 90% of pre-pandemic levels, with some sectors (particularly long-distance leisure travel) in excess of 115%. This is despite operators running 60-70% timetables in places. The shortfall was predominantly down to reduced white-collar commuting around London. Outside of London, significant amounts of rail usage are for leisure rather than commuting and work-from-home has not had a significant impact on ridership.

Main Section: Modal Shift

Irrespective of WFH uptake or shifts in working practices, rail has a modal share of ~10% of journeys, which has doubled from 5% since 2005. Some locations, such as University Station in Birmingham had seen ridership quadruple from 2010-2019, with no scope for increased service frequency due to platform scarcity at the central Birmingham New Street station. HS2 will offload long-distance services (e.g. London-Manchester/Glasgow/Edinburgh) to the new Curzon Street station and release platforms to better serve the local and urban lines.

Nostalgic Nonsense[edit]

Just because closing a railway was a bad idea, doesn't mean reopening it is a good idea
Gareth Dennis, 2020

Predictably, proposing a new railway brings out a subset of heritage enthusiasts who don't believe any new lines should be built until all the old lines closed under BeechingWikipedia (and other cuts) have been reopened. They are typically cagey when asked how those lines would interact with a network full of long-distance inter-city trains and how they would get into central stations where platform availability is extremely scarce. The inconvenient truth is that HS2 will enable the reopening of some mothballed branch lines by freeing up track and platform space for local services.

In the case of HS2, various commentators have fully jumped the shark and proposed reopening the Great Central RailwayWikipedia, claiming that it "was built to European Loading Gauge", enjoyed a "high-speed alignment" and would be "cheaper than HS2".

This - objectively - is bollocks, a clear case of pseudo-planning and ignoring the underlying rationale for the scheme.[22]

  • The GCR was not built to "European Gauging" because it opened in 1897, 15years before the Berne Convention GaugeWikipedia was agreed in 1912 - now considered the standard gauge in Europe. Whilst the GCR was indeed built to more generous clearances than earlier British railways, it was not entirely compliant with Berne.
  • The Great Central alignment was built to bend radii of 1mile, which can support 70-95mph running. This does not meet any modern definition of "high speed" (>200kmh/125mph for legacy or >300kmh/180mph for new build).
  • Much of the Great Central alignment has been overbuilt where it passed through cities such as Leicester, whilst bridges and viaducts were razed between 1969 and 2007.[23] Rebuilding "as was" would be immensely expensive and involve huge amounts of demolition. Alternatively, the line could skirt around cities following a new - less destructive - alignment. Like, errrm, HS2.
  • The GCR does not go to Birmingham. This means there would be no capacity release around the West Midlands or on the Coventry-Wolverhampton Line. There would be no platforms released at Birmingham New Street station for increased local services. Building a new inter-city line that doesn't go to the second largest city in the country is a fucking stupid strange thing to propose.

Conduct of HS2 Ltd[edit]

Of all opposition, the most genuine and non-fallacious concerns have been raised regarding the conduct of HS2 Ltd - the government-owned company responsible for building the line. In many cases, surveyors and solicitors have been accused of behaving like a bag of dicks without due care and sympathy when dealing with landowners and homeowners subject to compulsory purchase, whose homes will be demolished during the construction process.[24][25][26][27] In 2015, HS2 Ltd was ordered to pay £4000 to a group of families near Tamworth after being "treated with contempt, delays and maladministration" by HS2.[28]



The UK rail network mixes non-stop express traffic, local stopping services and freight. This operating model is highly inefficient and results in low trains-per-hour. Low frequency spreads the fixed overheads of rail infrastructure over fewer (more expensive) seats. Low frequencies especially impact local rail services where ridership correlates with frequency and the convenience of using rail. HS2 reduces mixed running and releases capacity across the West Coast Mainline, East Coast Mainline and Midlands Mainline.

In the images below, chart 1 shows a train graph[note 2] of mixed traffic. A long wait time must be observed after a slow train departs before an express train can be dispatched. Charts 2 and 3 show segregated lines, each occupied by compatible services. This creates an enormous multiplier where each express train removed creates space for 2-3 new local services. Local services are able to serve more intermediate stations, increasing network effectWikipedias.

N.B. Segregation could in fact be achieved with a new conventional railway running at 120 or 140mph. HS2 runs at 200mph because this isn't the 1820s and most of us aren't Victorians. But traffic segregation is the end-game, not speeds.

National Network Effects[edit]

Analysis in 2019 showed that at least 73 stations would benefit from capacity increases as a result of HS2 (in its full Y-shape configuration), of which 54 were not actually served by HS2 trains.[29] This analysis did not include hypothetical or mothballed stations which could be built or reopened post-HS2.

Modal Shift[edit]

United Kingdom transport modal share from 1952 to 2014, Department for TransportWikipedia

Aside from improved services for existing riders, released capacity drives modal shiftWikipedia and increases utilisation of the railways by new travellers.

In the UK, approximately 85% of all journeys are made by car, with just 10% by rail. [note 3] In order to meet legally-binding net-zero targets[30] and to tackle urban congestion it is necessary to increase the modal share of rail to ~20% as well as sorting out the buses that Thatcher ruined in 1986.[31] Even allowing for a drop in UK commuting and overall travel (e.g. increased work-from-home), a net rise in rail capacity is still required. The environmental cries of "we should travel less" omit that remaining travel increasingly needs to be via bus and rail rather than car or air.

Claims by StopHS2[edit]

Failed campaign group StopHS2 claim in their case against HS2 that modal shift would be negligible.[32] However, their argument cherry-picks a statistic from the 2013 Economic Case that 69% of passengers on HS2 will have shifted from classic rail, with 26% being new trips (induced demand) and just 4% being modal shift from car. In a shocking abuse of statistics, this fundamentally misrepresents the primary function of HS2 by ignoring modal shift onto new and expanded local services as a result of released capacity. Passengers on HS2 will have transferred from classic rail services which no longer exist.

There is ample evidence of latent demand for such services. Glasshoughton stationWikipedia exceeded its forecast ridership within a year of opening (running additional services is constrained by platform capacity at Leeds). Borders RailwayWikipedia also suffered significant overcrowding almost immediately upon its reopening in 2015.[33] .

Reopening old stations (or opening stations for new developments which have never been served by rail) increases network effectsWikipedia and encourages more travellers to take the train. It also creates induced demandWikipedia as non-drivers such as children can make journeys which were previously reliant on being driven.

"Frequency is freedom." Intuitively, we know that more frequent services are more useful. Nobody considers the timetable for the London Underground - they just catch the next one. If a local commuter train runs once an hour, then a traveller may have an option of being 15 minutes late to work, or arriving 45 minutes early. For office workers, offset hours may be acceptable. But for many roles, shifts are necessarily rigid with handovers between teams. For a worker unable to drive, their options will be to arrive significantly early (losing time from their day) or seek alternative employment. By contrast, running two or three services per hour offers far more flexibility for travellers and encourages public transit usage - particularly where parking is difficult or expensive. More services can also improve reliability - if a service has to stop in a station to handle a passenger's medical episode, there are more alternative services for passengers to use without waiting for an hour for the next one.

By releasing capacity and allowing rail operators to increase local and urban services, HS2 enables increased urban and commuter rail usage on existing lines. This drives modal shift and supports projects such as Low Emission Zones, Congestion Charging or outright banning private cars from ultra-urban areas. Reducing urban car usage:

  • Makes the city a quieter, safer and more pleasant place to live, work and visit.
  • Reduces road wear and maintenance costs.
  • Improves urban air quality (including tyre particulates which EVs still emit) and reduces respiratory illness and associated health costs.
  • Improves urban road safety, frees road capacity for emergency vehicles and last-mile delivery vehicles.
  • Allows pedestrianisation and the reassignment of road space as cycle lanes.
  • Allows the reassignment of car parks into productive residential, retail and/or commercial space.

Reduced Journey Times[edit]

The key purpose of HS2 is to provide released capacity, improving services for local travellers and driving modal shift.

But in segregating ICE traffic onto a new railway, there is little point in going to the expense of acquiring land, performing massive civil engineering and buying new rolling stock to run an "express" line at 120mph. You might as well create a new class of service whilst you're at it. This being the 2020s, not the 1820s, the baseline for ICE Rail is 200mph (TGV, DB-ICE, Shinkansen). HS2 has a horizontal alignment suitable for 250mph running, although the initial services will operate around 200-220mph.

The fifth columnists in the UK do not approve of this because we're British, we can't do anything right[34][35][36] and we don't deserve nice things.[37][38]

In and of itself, reducing London-Birmingham journey times by 35minutes is of limited value. However, when extended to Manchester, halving journey times offers clear benefits and these increase the further the network is extended. Thanks to the hang-over of a Thatcherite approach to public infrastructure, HS2 is unable to connect with HS1 - which would have provided immediate and profound opportunities for continental services from Birmingham (and later Manchester). Due to penny-pinching in the 1990s (and brown envelopes lobbying from short-haul airlines), HS1 was terminated at St Pancras instead of getting new through-platforms behind King's Cross. This arrangement killed off the prospect of Regional EurostarWikipedia in the UK and makes it impossible to move trains from HS2 to HS1 without a number of flat-crossings, reversals and generally massacring the throughput of the whole system (i.e. trains per hour). Government is now desperately trying to do the same thing in Manchester, terminating HS2 into Piccadilly station instead of building new through-platforms, as well as cancelling the Golborne LinkWikipedia. This will completely fuck over inhibit future expansion, such as a high speed line to Scotland or the reinstatement of Northern Powerhouse RailWikipedia, which was cancelled by de Pfeffel Johnson in 2021.[39][40][41]

Displacement of domestic and short haul aviation[edit]

In 2021, the UK Government set a target to cut GHG emissions by 78% by 2035.[42][43] As the energy sector has been heavily decarbonised along with the offshoring of Britain's dirtiest industries, the "low hanging fruit" remains Transport. The UK's dependence on personal cars and short-haul aviation accounts for a high proportion of UK emission.

The side-effect of a new 200mph ICE line is that short-haul flights from London airports to destinations such as Manchester, Leeds or Edinburgh can be phased out. LHR-MAN is a 1hr5min flight, compared with a 1hr3min HS2 service from Euston to Manchester. When accounting for time travelling to airports, being molested by airport security and the misery of boarding, rail clearly wins.

Economic Benefits[edit]

As with many large infrastructure projects, HS2 will cost several billion pounds. It is expected to pay for itself in increased industrial productivity and rail revenues (i.e. generate a positive "Benefit-Cost Ratio" (BCR)). On such large projects, the manner of calculating BCRs is often contentious with supporters and opponents cherry picking elements of the analysis to support their position, or claiming that key areas have been excluded from the analysis to make it appear overly optimistic/pessimistic.

Integrated Rail Plan[edit]

Despite controversy and politicking, HS2 was actually getting on with the job until November 2021, when de Pfeffel Johnson announced the Integrated Rail PlanWikipedia, which did credit to its authors in the density of world-beating bullshit they had crammed into it. The IRP was an exercise in the Treasury giving the DfT a number and making them lop bits off until they hit that figure. Given that the targets in question were not due to start construction for at least another 5-10years, it is unclear what financial gain has been derived from the IRP other than messing around rail contractors with the continuous off-on-off status of the project.

The two key provisions were the cancellation of the Eastern Leg of HS2 to Leeds, and the not-a-cancellation of Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Eastern Leg[edit]

The Eastern leg was the most important part of the entire HS2 project, unlocking dozens of train paths along and around the East Coast Mainline and Midlands Mainline for local passenger services as well as rail freight coming in from east-coast ports such as Immingham and Hull. The 2012 Business Case found that the BCR[note 4] for Phase 2b exceeded that of Phase 1 (assuming that Phase 1 was also built), demonstrating the network effect of improved connectivity.

The cancellation of the Toton Hub pissed about £40m of local authority money up the wall where Leicester, Nottingham and Derby councils had planned to integrate much of their local transport infrastructure around the new station.[44] Nottingham Council alone had spent £22m allocating land.[45] This was a particular blow after a decade of austerity, which had starved local authorities of money as it was. Investing cash to integrate local transit with a national project only to have the latter canned represented a significant slap in the face to councils.

Remarkably, de Pfeffel Johnson had the audacity to pen an op-ed in the Yorkshire Post claiming that not bringing HS2 to Leeds would offer residents a better rail service.[46] Notably, he mentioned that "we’ll look at how to get HS2 to Leeds too, with a new study on the best way to make it happen." which was very confusing to the rail industry who had developed quite a good plan to bring HS2 to Leeds by... building HS2 all the way to Leeds. Unsurprisingly, the Mayor of Great Manchester and the Chair of Transport for the North (TfN) told Johnson to get fucked that this was insufficient.[47][48]

The Government responded to this criticism by defunding TfN and taking away their statutory powers, marking a stark re-centralisation of regional planning power to Westminster.[49][50][51][52]

In January 2022 the DfT was ridiculed after claiming that the Integrated Rail Plan had delivered a £161m upgrade of Leeds station. Rail industry experts condemned the suggestion that the project (which had started in 2018) was somehow part of a plan that had only been published 8 weeks before.[53]

In July 2022, the Commons Transport Select Committee published a scathing report following their inquiry into the IRP, calling on Government to publish the calculations and evidence to support the claims made in it.[54]

Northern Powerhouse Rail[edit]

HS3-2017-map. Basically nothing in red is happening any more. They're just upgrading bits of the purple lines. Because fuck the North.

Northern Powerhouse RailWikipedia (properly termed HS3) was proposed as a high speed, 200mph link between Manchester and Leeds, with services extending to Liverpool and York/Hull. This was a remedy to the utter lack of transport investment that had gone into the Liverpool-Hull belt over the past five decades, which is denser in places than central London. Leeds is also the largest city in Europe without a tram or urban-rail system. High-density bus services currently cause significant road wear and maintenance in the city, as well as degrading urban air quality (albeit not as much as the cars they replaced).

Like HS2, NPR was not really about speed but capacity and frequency. For instance, there is only one train per hour between Sheffield and Leeds. NPR would have increased this to 4tph.

Guess which one of these settlements connects to London
Settlement Population Miles to nearest major city Trains per hour Seats per hour
Outwood 7,600 8 2 568
Shenfield 10,500 20 10 15,000
Uttoxeter 13,500 16 1 180
Belper 20,500 8 2 296
Leek 20,700 9 0 (Station closed)
Morley 44,400 4 2 300

By using a wanky marketing name like NPR, it was possible to de-scope the project into a series of line upgrades (that were mostly already happening and paid for) and still allow de Pfeffel Johnson to claim that he was "committed to building Northern Powerhouse Rail". By cleverly not calling it HS3, they didn't have to admit that they'd basically cancelled everything that mattered.

See Also[edit]


  1. Apart from doctors, nurses, teachers, firefighters, police, military, refuse collectors, shop workers, the entire hospitality sector, warehousing, logistics, delivery drivers, the manufacturing sector & assembly line workers, etc. A theoretical maximum of ~20% of UK jobs can be done from home under good conditions. In July 2020, 27% of UK workers reported working exclusively from home,[21] which includes roles such as teaching which have reverted to face-to-face classrooms. The other 80% have to travel to work one way or another. But it's okay because we all clapped for the NHS, so that's just great.
  2. Distance on the X-axis, Time on the Y-axis. Trains always move forwards through time. If two lines touch, it means they are in conflict (two trains occupying the track at the same time - don't cross the streams!). In reality it is more complex as stations may have passing loops which allow overtakes, but mixing express and stopping traffic will always end up fighting the maths
  3. This is up from 5% ~2002 (i.e. doubled), which is why UK rail infrastructure is already creaking.
  4. Benefit-Cost Ratio


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 "High Speed Rail" CM7827, Department for Transport, March 2010
  2. 2.0 2.1 HS2 Economic Case, January 2012
  3. HS2 Ltd - Why HS2
  4. High Speed Two and the need for speed, Gareth Dennis, Nov 2018
  5. Midlands Connect Release Capacity Map and Table
  6. HS2 high-speed rail link 'white elephant'
  7. HS2 rail project costs out of control, says Labour
  8. HS2 campaigners propose new Chilterns tunnel plan
  9. The Select Committee on Economic Affairs - Inquiry on The Economic Case for HS2, 2013
  10. The post-Brexit pound – how sterling's fall affects you and the UK economy, 19 August 2016
  11. Pound sterling falls to new 31-year low against the dollar after Brexit, 27 June 2016
  12. [1]
  13. HS2 Ltd admit they will scrap all current long distance trains to Euston in £8.3bn rail cut., 13 February 2015
  14. More on the Rukin rumpus – with added slides!, 19 February 2015
  15. Economic case for HS2: October 2013
  16. Connecting Britain by Rail
  17. New HS2 Alternatives Submitted to Government, 5 February 2020
  18. High Speed Rail, 4 February 2011
  19. Deficits saved the world, Paul Krugman, 15 July 2009
  20. GPEW say "More trains. No tracks. Just trains"
  21. Which jobs can be done from home?
  22. Reopening the Great Central isn’t an alternative to building High Speed 2
  23. GCR Leicester - Demolition Images
  24. HS2 Ltd slammed over treatment of residents, March 2016
  25. HS2 dishonest over compensation claim, says report, BBC News, May 2021
  26. HS2 slammed for treating Chiltern residents 'with contempt', Bucks Free Press, Dec 2015
  27. HS2 addressing landowners concerns 'too late' - CLA, FarmingUK, Sept 2014
  28. HS2 compensation for families 'treated with contempt', Business Insider, Nov 2015
  29. Analysis reveals capacity-releasing effects of HS2 on Britain’s existing rail network, Global Railway Review, Sept 2019
  30. - UK becomes first major economy to pass net zero emissions law, 27 June 2019
  31. England’s buses “expensive, unreliable and dysfunctional” – damning findings of a former UN human rights expert, 19 July 2021
  32. StopHS2 Case Against HS2
  33. Has the potential of Borders Railway been underestimated?, 13th September 2015
  34. London 2012 Olympics will be a disaster, says Russell Brand
  35. The worst Olympics ever: Boris Johnson hangs over London 2012
  36. Delays will make 2012 'white elephant' fear a reality, BBC Sport, July 2010
  37. Nigel Farage: Why Spend "Vast Amounts Of Money" On HS2 To Get To Manchester 20 Minutes Quicker, August 2019
  38. It’s time to scrap HS2 before it causes any more damage, Caroline Lucas, September 2021
  39. Northern Powerhouse Rail isn’t being cut back – it’s being cancelled, Independent, Nov 2021
  40. Tories’ rail spin won’t wash in the north, as plug is pulled on the powerhouse, The Guardian, Nov 2021
  41. Government confirms the great Northern rail betrayal, RMT Union News, Nov 2021
  42. UK enshrines new target in law to slash emissions by 78% by 2035,, April 2021
  43. Climate change: Is the UK on track to meet its targets?, BBC, May 2022
  44. Midlands Connect agrees priorities for East Midlands Hub Station with Government, Midlands Connect, Jan 2018
  45. Toton HS2 hub scrapped in favour of East Midlands Parkway, Chad, Nov 2021
  46. Boris Johnson: Our Integrated Rail Plan for HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail in Yorkshire, Yorkshire Post, Nov 2021
  47. Integrated Rail Plan: Andy Burnham hits back at 'Don't bite the hand that feeds you' advice from Tory MP, Yorkshire Post, Feb 2022
  48. Integrated Rail Plan 'not in North's best interest', says new TfN chair Patrick McLoughlin, Yorkshire Post, Jan 2022
  49. Transport for North stripped of powers, 22 Nov 2021
  50. Boris Johnson strips Transport for the North of powers after it criticises his rail cuts, Independent, 20 Nov 2021
  51. Ministers strip TfN of responsibility for NPR, Passenger Transport, 25 Nov 2021
  52. Transport for the North has funding cut following furious reaction to revised rail plans, The London Economic, 21 Nov 2021
  53. Leeds rail upgrade: government told ‘This is not spin. This is dishonesty’, Independent, 10 Jan 2022
  54. [2]Transport Committee: Government must revisit decisions on Integrated Rail Plan