Business leaders promote economic benefits of high-speed rail

Published on Friday, 07 January 2011 10:55
Posted by Scott Buckler

High-speed rail travel in the UK will benefit the nation's economy, it has been predictedThis is according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), which has claimed enhancing the train network will generate revenue by connecting large cities in the north with the rest of the country.


Commenting on government plans, CBI director-general Richard Lambert welcomed the decision to connect the new line with Heathrow International and the HS1 route.

"By enabling more long-distance journeys to be made by rail, a new high-speed line could also contribute to the UK's carbon reduction targets," he declared

In a document, the organisation has outlined the business case for faster rail, including shorter journey times, boosting productivity and reduced congestion on the main network, highlighting the need to ensure rail freight is not negatively affected by the changes.

Mr Lambert's comments come after ministers unveiled details of the preferred Y-shaped route for a planned high-speed line between London, Birmingham and the north of England.

Linking the HS2 line with Heathrow International is intended to provide direct services from the Midlands to the Channel Tunnel.

Source: ©Cilt UK

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0 #22 N Shepherd 2011-02-10 14:57
High speed and 'green transport' are mutually exclusive - unless someone has the ability to change the laws of physics.

HS2 has, wrongly, been portrayed as green. Those that peddle this untruth are simply deceiving themselves. Above, someone has gone to great length to demonnstrate that efficiencies will improve - OF COURSE THEY WILL, but so will all the other modes / means of communicating, leaving the relative positions unchanged. It is called progress and it is what underpins all advanced economies.

Please can we stop all this greenwash, the truth is very simple:the rail industry want a new trainset, the construction industry want a new revenue stream, and the Government want to sell us 'a dream' in the midst of a recession (which is what Givernments do in hard times).

The taxpayer will end up paying again and again and again.

And again.

That might just possibly be acceptable, if it were green.

But it isn't and never will be.
0 #21 Mike Geddes 2011-02-03 11:32
Peter, your hopes about the benefits of HS2 to the regions are unfounded. See
0 #20 Peter Davidson 2011-01-25 10:57

You are trying to move the goalposts here

Let's bring you back to debate the known parameters of the project under discussion here, which is HS2, phases 1 and 2.

Let's assume that by 2026, phase 1 is complete, services are just beginning and phase 2 has started construction, having undergone the same consultation process, hybrid Bill, Environmental Impact Assessment, etc, etc. Phase 1 will include a direct station at Birmingham International Airport.

It's very likely that at least one, probably two or more, providers will have already announced new service offerings, between Birmingham and European destinations, to start operating from day one of HS2 phase 1.

Eurostar will be offering Birmingham direct to Paris and Bruxsel, routing via Lille Europe. Depending on passenger demand forecasts Eurostar may be considering opening up other destinations; Geneva, Lyon and Amsterdam being the most obvious candidates.

A variety of other providers may compete with Eurostar; NS Hispeed to Amsterdam (taking in Rotterdam, Bruxsel and Lille), SNCF to the French City destinations. Deutsche Bahn may also decide to extend (for some services) their Frankfurt/Amste rdam>London service up to Birmingham.

In other words a plethora of new railborne alternatives to short-haul flights from Birmingham Airport will be emerging.

Looking slightly further ahead, phase 2 of HS2 will extend the line to Manchester and Leeds with links back into WCML (north of Warrington) and ECML (between Leeds and York. These extensions will facilitate direct connections into the HS network at Manchester Airport, East Midlands Airport and Leeds/Bradford Airport (perhaps even Robin Hood/Doncaster Airport may feature).

Here again, once the line is in-situ, service providers will begin to offer new routes. So in 2030 it might be possible for me (if I'm still living in the area - I reside approx 6km from Manchester Airport) to travel by HSR to an array of European destinations, either direct (Paris & Bruxsel certainly) or via a change at Lille Europe to any number of locations.

It is availability of these new services that will drive the modal shift envisaged in the HS2 environmental case but they will only emerge once the lines are under construction/in place

You are quite right to point out that phase 1 of HS2 offers limited benefits in this area but that's because it's only the first piece in a much wider network.

When HS2 (the current project) is complete and the benefits it offers are obvious to a much wider audience, this will provide the necessary evidence to consolidate political will behind extension of the High Speed network to cities in other UK Regions, such as Bristol/Cardiff , Edinburgh (via Newcastle) and Glasgow (via Preston/Carlisl e). It's only when that burgeoning UK network is coalescing that the compelling nature of HSR will become apparent.

That's why vision (and political will) is needed to drive HSR as a 21st century mass public transport medium - unfortunately there is a relatively tiny community of individuals who are only looking to the end of their backyards and price tag of their property, currently making a very big noise and grossly distorting the real impact of HS2.
0 #19 Roseg 2011-01-24 19:30
@Peter Davidson.
Fair point, but you need to take into account that there are more regional airports running international flights in UK than there are HSR stations currently proposed by HS2 Ltd in the Command Paper. A little more research might indicate a similar situation in European countries. Requests by English Town and County Councils between planned stations have been met by comments that 'if it stops more often it won't be high-speed.' Now apply the first paragraph (re. convenience)in my original posting, but for 'car' read 'plane'. What would you do in 2026 about travel to Paris if you lived in Cardiff rather than near Manchester?

As an ordinary rail traveller, my priority is investment to provide the best possible conventional service for everyone. Then, for the benefit of businesses, especially the smaller ones, we need to invest in international and domestic communication by modern electronic means instead of promoting increased travel. This is what forward-looking companies have been doing for some time, with only essential journeys being sanctioned, and a fundamental rethink on what 'essential really means.
0 #18 Windsorian 2011-01-24 13:13
There are some very strange claims from the anti-HS2 brigade over electricity supplies and power usage; some have claimed that a 250 mmph HS2 will use 5x more power than existing trains, whilst others claim 3x.

In terms of power generation one of the best indepentent papers is a comparative study by the UK Royal Acadamy of Engineering –

however this needs reading in association with reports of poor windmill electrical output in December 2010 –

Also in terms of power usage, the recent decisions of DB and Eurostar to puchase Siemens Valero D and e320 trainsets on HS1 for use to London should not be underestimated –

You can see from these links that the new Valero trainsets not only use 20% less electricity per passenger/km compared with existing HST, but also at 200mph (320km/hr) they are faster.

As SoS Hammond has correctly pointed out, the HS2 trainsets will not be ordered for some 10 years – by which time further technological improvements should be available; an increased train speed to 220mph seams feasible, plus the HS2 line will be future proofed for further development to 250mph.

I think it is worth remembering that the existing train line to Edinburgh is 398 miles long, on which the fastest existing trains take 4hr 13min.

But with HS2 extended to Scotland – this will bring Edinburgh within 2 hours of London.
0 #17 Peter Davidson 2011-01-24 13:03
@Roseg: "I would also suggest that people who feel the need to travel somewhere fast will only travel on a 'pan-European' HSR network for journeys which work out quicker than the corresponding journey by air."
Well spotted - that rationale might explain why:

a) This new transport medium is called High Speed Rail
b) The proposed infrastructure demands much faster speed thresholds than classic line technology will permit, hence the most cost effective route not being aligned to an existing transport corridor
c) That only through the provision of credible HSR alternatives to short-haul intra-European airborne links will we see the modal shift predicted in the business and environmental cases for HS2; conclusion - NO LINES = NO SERVICE!!!
0 #16 Roger Waller 2011-01-23 17:39
Peter Davidson asks what kind of environmental legacy do we want to bequeath those who succeed us- How about one that does not promote long distance travel for business reasons and one that uses electronic communication in imaginative and builds on the growth of the last 20 years in internet use.
0 #15 Windsor Thomas 2011-01-23 14:47
Dear DG,
From your statement above, it seems that you may need a little help because it makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever. In my view it clearly calls into question yours and your organisation's knowledge of the true business, economic, environmental and engineering facts about HS2. I recommend that you get someone of competence in your organisation to download the DfT's HS2 project documents from their website and then to spend some time examining the documents in a critical and objective manner. Having done so please get him or her to check the findings against your statement above. I believe the results should give you some considerable pause for thought.
Best regards,
Windsor Thomas
0 #14 Roseg 2011-01-23 13:45
Those who promote modal transport shift as a benefit of HS2 do not appear to have addressed the issue of why our roads are so full of business travellers. It is because the car is the most convenient form of travel for the journey they have to make, which could be to anywhere, from a city to a small village with one bus a day(or none). For travellers who live in city centres and only need to go to another city centre, rail is wonderful. Reaching rail stations in city centres from the suburbs and beyond is not. The maximum time saving, according to HS2 Ltd's Command paper,is one hour between London and Leeds. Not very impressive on a European scale and, I suggest, not enough to persuade many business travellers to leave their cars at home.

I would also suggest that people who feel the need to travel somewhere fast will only travel on a 'pan-European' HSR network for journeys which work out quicker than the corresponding journey by air. Until the oil runs out, of course, when everything will have to change. (See Transition Towns)

0 #13 iain helstrip 2011-01-18 10:47
In these difficult economic times, much better value for money and greater improvement made to the existing rail network, if more electricificati on was completed and simple solutions found (like the Dutch have done) to meet the increased capacity needs.
0 #12 Peter Davidson 2011-01-12 15:54
I like the way some contributors to this debate pass themselves off as ordinary members of the public in a blatant attempt to sound neutral, cue @Steve Rodrick, who just happens to be a leading light in the Chiltern Society, harbouring a vested self-interest in frustrating this project. He even contributed a recent highly critical article to the Guardian newspaper on this topic?

In stark contrast, some objective facts might help to inform the genuinely neutral reader?

HS2 have admitted that the first phase of HS2 construction will be broadly carbon neutral - that is the potential benefits in terms of carbon emission output reduction will be matched by the carbon emissions generated during the construction phase.

This calculation flows in large part from the fact that the first phase of HS2 will only link Birmingham to London so its capacity to drive modal transport shift (car & plane travel to its more carbon friendly rail counterpart) is not that great. This seems an eminently sensible conclusion to me.

However, where High Speed Rail begins to make massive positive impact, in terms of potential carbon emissions reduction, is when the network is extended further afield, ie. onwards to Leeds and Manchester and, ultimately to the North East and Scotland.

Now I'm the first to admit that these potential benefits will only arise in the longer term because as we all know, an entirely new state of the art rail network for the 21st century is not going to emerge overnight.

However, holding up the 1st phase of High Speed Rail construction (linking the rest of the UK outside the London/SE nexus of power & influence) in isolation and using this bogus comparison in a brazen attempt to discredit its construction, using the carbon emissions argument, is selectively misleading nonsense.

HS2 and its subsequent expansion to link the rest of the UK into the emerging pan-European High Speed Rail revolution is
a) NOT an exclusively domestic project
b) NOT short term in its outlook.

The true benefits of High Speed Rail will accrue to those who will follow us. It's high time for this generation to think about those who succeed us - what kind of environmental legacy do we want to bequeath to them?

Peter Davidson
Alderley Edge
(and yes I live in close proximity to the WCML)
0 #11 Philip 2011-01-12 01:01
Usual 'Hogwash' from the stop HS2 ring leaders, totaly ignoring all very positive recent evidence and research on all aspects of High Speed Rail mentioned above.
Heads stuck deep in the soil and chilterns chalk as always, popping up now and then with their distorted myths, scare tactics and dodgy so called facts that millions through out the land have seen through months ago now.
Well done CBI for supporting High Speed Rail that will transform our country for the greater 'National Interest' and long term direct and indirect benefits for everyone.
Lets get HS2 built as soon as possible please.
0 #10 Lizzy Williams 2011-01-10 11:34
This is "Greenwash". HS2 is not green. HS2 is not sustainable economic growth. The speed intended, which they refuse to modify, means HS2 uses 50% more energy than trains travelling at 186 mph and more than double the power of trains travelling at 125 mph. It encourages travel instead of discouraging it. NO ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT has been carried out. It may be at best Carbon Neutral according to the government itself. The construction zone is up to 100 m wide and the land take on this phase is the same size as the whole of Greater Manchester excluding service infrastructure. It does not use existing transport corridors. There is No Business Case if you examine the detail. It is likely to benefit London at the expense of the rest of the country. Please visit our website and the Facts page for more information
0 #9 Steve Rodrick 2011-01-10 09:01
We can save ourselves over £50 billion by not investing in HS2. Why? Because the journey times between our major cities are already the shortest of any industrialised country. The good fortune of being a small compact country has provided our business community with fast links between cities. If we can't exploit that now, a saving of 20 minutes or so won't make any difference at all. Talk of it being transformationa l and ending the north south divide is political fantasy and the CBI would do well to distance itself from such delusion.

Helping our workers get to work more easily and at lower cost - now that would be helpful.
0 #8 daveB 2011-01-09 19:05
HS2 will not take one commuter vehicle off the road on a daily basis in the areas it trsvels through at ridiculously super high speeds. It is simply maximum spend for the minimum benefit of the majority of taxpayers funding it. The existing rail infra structure should be expanded with the money allocated for HS2 to provide a real alternative to car commuting and get vehicles off the road. Any talk of HS2 saving CO2 is ridiculous.

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