6 thoughts on “‘Fallacies and Misadventures in Blunderland’: the HS2 case”

  1. Posted 03/09/2013 at 16:31 | Permalink

    The Chancellor of the Exchequer is obviously keen on this project — ‘passionate’ is his own word for it. But surely that is an inappropriate attitude for the country’s finance minister to a serious commercial project. That is just the sort of adjective one applies to a vanity project! What is his department’s latest estimate of HS2’s benefit/cost ratio? Is it up-to-date? What are his department’s normal criteria for this kind of project? Does HS2 come anywhere near them? (Is its benefit/cost ratio even above 1.0?) At the very least the government should take another look.

  2. Posted 06/09/2013 at 18:43 | Permalink

    The current justification for HS2 seems to be that it will persuade northerners to vote Conservative.


  3. Posted 04/10/2013 at 10:24 | Permalink

    “It means that the UK will have to forego the alternative of providing those funds for a multiplicity of genuinely high-value infrastructure projects (on VfM, and other, appraisal criteria).”

    Well and good, if true, BUT it depends on there being such a multiplicity of better projects. If there are, they would be seized upon as ordinary commercial projects, to be developed without recourse to Treasury funding.

    Where are they?

    Possibilities may be, in London, Cross River Transit, and in the north the Leeds and Liverpool tramways – these latter projects cast into the outer darkness by – guess whom – one Alistair Darling!

  4. Posted 04/10/2013 at 10:58 | Permalink

    @Dudley Horscroft – Unfortunately there is a long history of commercially viable transport projects being blocked by government. Examples range from private motorways in the 1920s to the Waterloo and Greenwich tube line in the 1990s and more recently Heathrow expansion.

  5. Posted 28/10/2013 at 23:06 | Permalink

    I have to agree with the central point of Dr RW (above) — much of transport investment, that could
    be easily commercially viable, is blocked by government (including its indecision, as with
    London’s air transport capacity!). Moreover, beyond commercial possibilities there is a large
    number of transport improvements that have high BCR ratios under Treasury Green Book
    criteria for possible public subsidy of infrastructure investment…whereas it now appears
    that the proposed HS2 project does not merit public subsidy on these criteria (See J.Burton, Conometricks and the new NAFF Case for HS2, IEA Blog Posting of 24/10/13).

  6. Posted 14/02/2014 at 17:26 | Permalink

    They call it “Transformational”. However, the effect, if any, must depend on generated trips alone, all others, by definition, pre-existing.

    The generated trips are now circa 76,000 per day, found after exhaustive effort via an FoI request. Those trips correspond to approximately 22 million per year. In comparison there are 1.5bn passenger rail journeys per year and 43.5bn passenger journeys by all modes.

    Hence this scheme adds 1.5% to existing rail journeys and 0.05% to all passenger journeys.

    “Transformational”? Ha, Ha.

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