M581 – HS2 Motion 2019 Watch
- Political Ambassador
Speed increases capacity, that really seems to be missed here. Of course if you survey people already traveling it won't be one of their major concerns because they will have looked at the timetable before getting on a train, and will have never known their destination to be any closer. I suspect if you surveyed 18th Century stagecoach passengers speed wouldn't have been one of their major concerns either. I do not know what building a new railway to only 125mph spec would cost but I suspect the saving would tiny and cost:benefit ratio would be significantly impacted from the reduced number of services per hour.
As for maglev yes it would work better for journeys wholly contained within HS2 but under current plans half the services using HS2 will use conventional track as well so it wouldn't really be practical on a route like this unfortunately. Even China has to this day only built one high-speed maglev line and only from Shanghai to Pudong Airport but yet we see high-speed lines built in China every year.
In fact all you have to do is look at the route to see it is not about capacity at all because the HS2 route completely misses most of the demand and simply goes through open country, it is entirely about increasing speeds, something nobody is actually asking for
- Political Ambassador
You still haven't replied to my previous rebuttal: "And how do you know that Maglev trains will be cheaper overall?"
The best proposal is one that wasn't given in the OP: just scrap the project entirely given it is a massive vanity project that simply does not make sense in the UK and isn't particularly necessary even if it did make sense. About half the sunk cost is recoverable and you free up £100bn to spend on better projects, allow benefits across the whole country, not just benefits for London. The TPA was kind enough last year to compile 28 suggested alternative projects that cover the whole nation with a combined cost of less than the previous £50bn HS2 cost, some of which could be delivered in just a few years. You have relatively small projects such as several reopenings of lines in the North of England to improve rail links in the North (rather than for London) with a combined estimated cost in the hundreds of millions and completable this decade rather than several decades down the line; you've got yourself some larger projects too such as upgrading the A1 north of Durham, improving links between the Central Belt and North East and by extension much of the Eastern half of England; you have what is now being called HS3 (despite not being high speed) in there, improving connections between the Northern cities, rather than London; electrification of the Chiltern Main Line to increase capacity between London and Birmingham (you know, that thing HS2 is for) at just 1% of the cost of HS2; electrifying the Midland mainline, increase capacity between London and Northern cities, if a few lines are reopened/stop being freight only; continuing with the slightly more costly ones you have extending crossrail to Stansted and Cambridge, the former could help deal with the airport capacity issue by having better links between Stansted and central London