Remember that madcap scheme that some retired engineers punted as an alternative to Hs2 called HSUK? They claimed it was a fully costed scheme that was cheaper than HS2 but when you looked at it you realised it was just a lot of pretty lines drawn on a blank sheet of paper rather than overlaid on an OS map – because that would expose how bonkers their claims are! I blogged about their daft plans and a curve in Wakefield a while ago.
Unsurprisingly, the madcap scheme died a deserved death. Only it seems now they’ve revived and rebadged it as “High Speed North” to punt it as an ‘alternative’ to Northern Powerhouse Rail. Here’s one of their tweets from earlier today.
No “major expansion outside of existing boundaries” they say? So what the hell’s that new line with a brand new depot big enough to replace Neville Hill then? And how on earth do you build new Northern platforms at Leeds, then add a flyover (or whatever it is they’re proposing) to connect it to the existing line to Wakefield without causing massive disruption to existing lines? This is nuts!
Yet again, they use a blank canvas so that anyone unfamiliar with the area can’t see what’s really on the ground. So, let’s have a look at a satellite image, shall we? At the top of the picture just above where Pontefract Lane is labelled sits Neville Hill depot. This lot propose building a brand new line from there Southwards that will plough through all the industrial estates on the way, cross the Pontefract Lane dual-carriageway (somehow) plough through another industrial estate, then cross the two branches of the river Aire before ploughing through another industrial estate to join the existing railway just North of the Pontefract Rd! Oh, and their new depot would almost certainly be built on the site of that massive sewage works South of Pontefract Lane. Care to guess how much compensation that little lot would cost? And that’s without the construction costs!
Why anyone would take these jokers seriously is beyond me. Oh, notice the giveaway on their map? They forgot to delete the reference to HSUK on their explanation of the reinstatement of the Farnley viaduct!
No wonder they don’t like drawing pretty lines on OS maps!
Andy Hughes said:
Those that criticise HS2, and call for it to be scrapped, miss a very important point. There is no “plan b” just waiting in the wings to improve the lot of rail users.
If it were scrapped or curtailed, the money wouldn’t be spent on transport infrastructure. Also, it’s taken 10 years of detailed planning for HS2 to get to today’s position. What sort of time frame would we be looking at if we started from scratch?
As for there being any other fully costed options to release capacity across the network on the scale that HS2 will do, the answer is there are none.