The HS2 is a £50 billion government project that not everyone feels is worth the money. The HS2 is supposed to cut the current route between London to Edinburgh down to just three hours and 38 minutes. This means that it would save people around 45 minutes each way. That alone would save people who make this trip on a weekly or daily basis a lot of time every single year.
That being said, researchers say that this new project and the amount of time it saves fails to take into account how much time new intercity trains would save. New intercity trains that will pop up on the East Coast Main Line come into service starting 2019. These will be Hitachi trains that travel at 140 mph. This new fleet, which only costs £1.2 billion, will cut journey times down to just four hours and five minutes. Thus, the HS2 will only save people about 27 minutes on the same route. This has people wondering if a £50 price tag is really worth only 27 minutes.
The same report also shows that the HS2 will cut the time it takes to get from London to Newcastle down from two hours and 52 minutes to just two hours and 19 minutes. This is a difference of 33 minutes. That being said, the Hitachi fleet will be able to make the same trip in just two hours and 35 minutes. This leaves a savings of only 16 minutes by the HS2.
Of course, the government says that the benefits of the HS2 go way beyond just cutting travel time down. In fact, it says that the HS2 will be able to add more capacity to the overall network. Once again, that goes back to the fact that it has a faster travel time and can run more routes a day. Thus, the same could be said for the Hitachi fleet as well.
The truth is that the HS2 line will do a lot for the economy. The building of this line will create a lot of jobs, which is something that the UK desperately needs right now. In the end, it will save more time than the Hitachi fleet, which won’t even be ready for a few more years anyway. Yes, the benefits are not as great as what the government has been claiming, but it does not mean that it is completely without benefits.
The former Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan, said that it is sad to see that this project is still fighting for life after four years. This is one of the biggest things that taxpayers will be paying for in the coming years. The error in the travel times that the HS2 will provide undermines all of the confidence people had on this project in the first place.