Don’t Build the High Speed Railway from London to Birmingham!
IT’S just so lovely when you trun out to be right, isn’t it? Gilligan’s got a piece showing that the cost benefit calculation for the HS2 high speed train from London to Brum is entirely cock:
But the internal DfT report, “Productive use of travel time and the valuation of travel time savings for business travellers,” says that most of these supposed gains are illusory. It says that the DfT is relying on the “unsupportable” assumption that time spent on trains is unproductive and demands “major changes” to the “1960s” method used to calculate the HS2 business case. No such changes have been made.
With laptops, wi-fi and smartphones now making long-distance train carriages an extension of the office, the actual amount of extra work produced by HS2 may be almost nil, the researchers find.
In order to make it wortwhile building something like this there has to be some benefit. To someone, somewhere. And the assumption has been that by getting to places faster all those lovely highly paid people in first class will be able to do more work. Less time just sitting on a train and more time doing something.
But, of course, people don’t sit on a train doing nothing. These days they work on their laptops etc. So, there’s no benefit from getting them there faster as they don’t do any more work by spending less time on trains.
Oh, and the bit about getting it right? I pointed this out back in January.