UK Construction Media

HS2 will cost five times as much as similar line in France

News   •   May 27, 2016 12:37 BST

Transport experts say HS2 rail link is “over-priced” and costs five times as much as new Tours-Bordeaux route.

According to transport experts, HS2 is an over-priced project, which is costing five times the amount of a similar project in France.

The study, led by Professor Tony May from Leeds University and the transport consultant Jonathan Tyler, found that the TGV line from Tours to Bordeaux, currently under construction in France, was costing £20m per kilometre, compared to £105m/km for HS2.

The group of experts support high-speed rail overall, but warn that it will fail many of its objectives, and a “much fuller range of options” should have been considered to meet them. They say that out of the objectives to increase capacity and connections, regenerate the North and reduce climate impact change, only increased capacity will be met.

Critics say many key rail journeys could be worse, including to Nottingham, Stockport and Wakefield.

They believe that the benefits of HS2 can be achieved at a much lower cost, with lower CO2 emissions, saying the scheme would contribute nothing to reducing carbon emissions from transport. They have called for the government to examine their analysis.

The academics said there were “much less costly and environmentally damaging” ways of boosting capacity on the rail network.

A spokeman for HS2 said options for bringing down costs were being studied.

Another issue raised by the academics was the issue to design HS2 to run ultra-fast at 240mph. The speed for continental high-speed trains is 190mph. They say that the extra speed from ultra-fast services requires 23% more energy, but saves just 3.5 minutes from London to Birmingham

Professor James Croll of UCL said: “It is just vanity for the UK to have faster trains than the usual high-speed trains.

“The UK is far too small geographically to need an ultra-high speed network – by the time the trains get up to speed it will be almost time to slow them down again.

“The decision to design for 240mph has led to a succession of needlessly expensive knock-on effects in construction which will be saddling taxpayers with huge bills for a generation.”

The first two phases of construction have been approved, however details of the plan are still open to change.