A view I’ve held for a couple of years.
HS2 was backed by the Blair/Brown Labour government in 2010 and the Cameron/Osborne Conservative government who were very pro EU. Cameron/Osborn to the point of giving away our UK Sovereignty and selling us out cheaply to Brussels. Osborne possibly had a vested interest in not rocking the EU boat flogging his Osborne & Little wallpaper across Europe. Labour and the Unions had other axes to grind supporting HS2.
HS2 is primarily for the benefit of ever closer Union of Europe backed by Brussels. Additionally, it has a direct benefit to the German and French Government economies with their State run networks of ICE and TGV trains and its successor, the French AGV.
Branson and the Virgin Group are more interested in the profits and expansion of the Company than the UK taxpayer, and are probably part of the driving force behind HS2. HS2 would not only allow Virgin to expand its operations in the UK, it would give Virgin access to the Continental rail network. The German and French governments could not object to giving Virgin access to the continent if the ICE and TGV trains were in turn, being given access to the UK.
Virgin gave the game away when, according to Wikipedia, Virgin was bidding for the GNER Franchise, ‘Publicity material featuring Virgin branded TGV and ICE trains appeared, and it was stated that the stock would be built in Birmingham . Virgin’s bid was rejected, and GNER’s franchise was renewed.’
Also see the RMT Union statement below.
Is this all supposition? There are 3 supporting factors for my suspicions about HS2,
- Straight track is required to enable high speeds, up to 360 km/h by the AGV.
- New Platforms are required to cater for very long continental trains, a length I can attest to having recently had an exhausting walk from one end to the other of a continental train.
- New Road bridges would be required to give additional height above the track to allow for increased height of continental trains, or the new HS2 track can be lowered to go under new road bridges.
- As yet to be determined. Who will provide the steel for the rails, the sleepers, the Rolling Stock, the Civil Engineering? As I understand it, there was little evidence of UK contracts in CrossRail.
The rail gauge of 1,435 mm is the same as our existing UK rail network but, for the above reasons, Network Rail is unsuitable for continental trains. Hence the need for HS2.
Why would Labour be in favour of HS2? When it was announced that Corbyn had become Labour Leader, I was on a rail platform in Lucca, Italy, talking to a man wearing an RMT hat when the news came in (why would you?). So, interest aroused and completely separate from the above reasoning, it adds weight to the Labour/Union argument of Nationalising the UK railways if German and French State controlled rolling stock is travelling on HS2.
From the RMT Union website, an article which to me, both confirms Virgin’s aspirations of access to Europe and HS2 serving the RMT’s argument for nationalising UK Rail:
News dated 25th April 2017,
“RMT responds to news that Virgin and Stagecoach are hooking up with French state in land-grab for new HS2/West Coast franchise.”
I didn’t see that announcement making it onto the pro EU biased BBC or anywhere else.
I have no proof of any of the above suppositions for HS2. But it adds up and makes the case for Opposition to HS2. If proof positive can be found, it makes the case of scrapping HS2.
But what are the alternatives? We need more rail capacity in the UK. The trains run fast enough, we just need more capacity.
A more cost effective alternative to HS2 would surely be
- a) Increase platform lengths of existing platforms to
- b) Cater for longer trains.
- c) Add additional track beside existing tracks
- d) Look into the possibility of designing double decker coaches within existing height restrictions.
In conclusion, HS2 is not for the benefit of UK Taxpayers. It is for the benefit of German and French State controlled railways, the benefit of the German, French economies, the benefit of Brussels and its dream of ever closer Union, the self serving interest of the Virgin Group, the benefit of giving more power to the elbow of the Labour/Union aspirations of Nationalising the UK Rail Network.
It is a veritable web of self interested parties with no thought at all for the UK Taxpayer who has to foot the bill.