High Speed Railway 2 Essay

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HS2 proposal is a government project to build a one hundred mile long High Speed Rail (HSR) line between London and Birmingham, England that, once completed, will have the capacity of carrying 28 trains per hour. These trains will be capable of 220 -- 250-mile per hour. It is projected by some experts that this line will reduce journey times from London to other cities by up to 30 minutes. Government reports that there is the potential of reduced emissions, job creation, and economic development(s) as a result of the construction of this line. There are quite a few individuals and groups that disagree with the government's projections, and many argue against the line due to the project's 25 billion pound cost. Others argue that it is not only the cost, but the added carbon emissions, low usage, and elitism associated with the construction and continued ridership issues.

This paper will look at seven reports regarding the HS2 development, the pros and the cons of construction, and the viewpoints being put forth by the various groups. The seven reports include; 1) Wendover HS2 -- Action Against Chiltern HS2 Routes, 2) HS2 -- Demand for long distance service -- April 2011, 3) HS2 -- Valuing the Benefits of HS2 (London -- West Midlands) -- April 2011, 4) Greengauge 21, Capturing the Benefits of HS2 on Existing Lines, 5) Britain's Transport Infrastructure High Speed Two -- January 2009, 6) Bluespace Thinking Ltd. -- A Review of High Speed Rail -- HS2 Proposals, and 7) A Better Railway for Britain -- www.betterthanhs2.org.

These seven reports display the thinking of a number of different viewpoints and perceptions from each side of the issue. Some are for the construction, and back their view with facts and figures that support such an adventure, while other groups say there is a better way for addressing the continued transportation problem in Great Britain, and they detail their ideas in these reports.

The paper's author is in the camp of those who wish to see this project scrapped and therefore the paper may contain some bias against HS2. The author is cognitive of that fact and will seek to maintain an open mind in judging the reports and different views. It is the author's thesis that the amount of money being spent on new construction of a HS2 railroad line could be better spent on upgrading existing forms of transportation, roads, railways and air lines.

Wendover HS2 states that UK taxpayers should have the proposal explained in much greater detail to enable people not familiar with the project's analysis to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the government's case for construction. For the most part, Wendover call's the government's reports 'hyperbole, spin and numerical obfuscation" (p. 2). Additionally, the report states that "any forecast made on the basis of HS2 Ltd. parameters is worthless after c 2016" (p. 5). Needless to say, the report wishes for a lot more than what the government has provided in its reports. The Wendover conclusion is that a "proper evaluation of High Speed rail in the UK needs to be done and its strengths and weakness impartially set out. The body doing this must be one that voters can trust…only then can the public judge such a scheme fairly" (p. 39).

The problem with this particular report is that its facts and figures are no more believable than the ones supplied by the government. The question remains as to whose numbers and facts are the correct ones, and whose aren't?

The report supplied by HS2 Ltd., Demand for Long Distance Service, completed in April 2011, determines that one of the effects of the project is to increase the amount of passengers traveling by high speed rail to 46.2 million each year by 2043. The report shows that 65% of those travelers will come from existing rail services,"7% from car, 6% from air, while 22% would be entirely new trips" (p. 4). This report seems to be rather conservative in its projections, but it is still lambasted by Wendover and other groups as being much too high.

The report issued by A Better Railway for Britain is one of those that lambasts the government's projections. This report states that "the business case for HS2 is very weak and has been based on a number of false premises"…[continue]

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