There is a tremendous post about the folly that is HS2 on Jones the Planner:
HS2 is not a good idea; in fact it is a catastrophically bad idea and a fatal distraction from what really needs to be done to improve our railway system. I have always been suspicious of grands projets which seem to be strongly related to male pride (or inadequacy) and national chauvinism. If the Frogs have got TGV and RER then we must have them too or we are not pissing high enough up the wall of international prestige.
This extremely grand projet has been parachuted in as a solution without any serious analysis or debate about what the problem is or any honest evaluation of alternatives. Worst of all there is no effective scrutiny as the job has been outsourced to a private company, HS2 Ltd, which is not run by train spotters exactly but by single minded enthusiasts. It is wholly owned by the DfT - what a very modern way of doing things. The justification for HS2 is now being sold and spun to us by a bunch of consultants that we end up paying very handsomely for.The temptation is to quote the whole thing, but let me fast forward to a passage of particular concern to those of us who live in the East Midlands:
However the HS2 business case claims that 80% of passengers from Nottingham will transfer from MML to HS2, and to help this heroic punt come true, hidden in with the small print, you find the assumption that direct trains from the new Nottingham Hub to St Pancras will be cut by half. Well, that will do a lot for city centre competitiveness, I don’t think.
So actually Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield get a worse train service to their city centres, where most people want to be, than they do now - but great if you want to drive to a Parkway station. Leicester, a city of some half a million people will no longer have a mainline service as such. It is bizarre if not surprising that a project which started with the aim of boosting provincial cities should end up promoting plans which will hugely undermine city centres and urban economies and positively promote exurban motorway sprawl.The answer, of course, is to devolve decision-making power so that the people who live in the East Midlands make the decisions. Then we would not see billions wasted on making things worse for many of them.