ANALYTICAL REPORT ON HS2 RAIL PROJECT
High Speed 1 (HS1) is the high speed rail which started its operation in 2003. It is called as a channel tunnel train and links the London and the Channel Tunnel. The train runs for a distance of 67 miles at an average speed of 186 miles per hour.Following the success of the HS1, the High Speed 2 train was proposed in 2009.
High Speed 2 train is a Y shaped route from London to Birmingham. From Birmingham it runs as two lines, one from Birmingham to Leeds and the other one from Birmingham to Manchester. The speed of the train is estimated to be at 125 miles per hour and there is one high speed line where the train is expected to reach a high speed of 186 miles per hour.
With the introduction of HS2, the experts expect the travelling time to get reduced to half of the current time in between most of the stations. This HS2 train is likely to run a distance of 345 miles in one way journey.
HS2’s southern most starting point would be London Euston. It was also proposed that all London Euston station will be modified to connect Euston Square tube Station. There will be additional construction to connect HS1 terminus St. Pancras, Cross rail 2 (under British Library).
Post the construction of HS2, the peak hour capacity is expected to reach 34,900 passengers from the current level of 11,300 passengers.
It was also proposed that all the trains will be connected and stop at Cross rail Interchange. This station is between Paddington and Action main Line. The Cross rail interchange is near Old Oak Common. Old Oak Common Lane is well connected with North London Line and Hythe Road on the West London Line.
HS2 is proposed to pass through a new station in rural Solihull. It will be located to the eastern side of the M42 motorway and runs very near to National Examination Center, Birmingham International Station and Birmingham International Airport.
With the introduction of HS2, the expectation is that there will be move people who will be using the Birmingham International Airport. It is also expected that the people will move between stations and to the airport through a people mover. The travelling time from London to Birmingham is expected to come down to 40 minutes post the introduction of HS2.
Birmingham City Center:
The new terminus has been proposed in Birmingham for HS2 and it is likely to be named as Birmingham Curzon Streetor Birmingham Fazeley Street. This new station is very adjacent to Moor Street Station. This station is nearly 400 meters north east of New Street Station.
Birmingham to Crewe (Phase 2a):
The proposed train route is that it will pass through Staffordshire and Cheshire. It was expected to run below the Crewe station through a tunnel in a proposal submitted in 2010. However, there has been a considerable changes in the subsequent years.
Manchester Airport (Phase 2b):
A proposal to build a HS2 station has been planned to the south of the Manchester city. This is also likely to cater Manchester Airport. The station has been provisionally name as Manchester Interchange. On Completion of HS2 and the proposed station, the high speed train is likely to take 59 minutes to cover from London Euston to Manchester Airport.
Manchester City Centre (Phase 2b):
The HS2 will run from the Manchester airport to Manchester city centre. This journey is likely to be in a twin bore branch tunnel for a distance of 7.5 mile. The train is expected to run at a speed of 142 miles per hour. Post this construction, the journey time is expected to come down from 2 hours 8 minutes to 1 hour 8 minutes between London to Manchester central.
Birmingham to Leeds (Phase 2b):
HS2 train is expected to pass through East Midlands Hub, Sheffield and reach Leeds. The average Journey time from London to Leeds is expected to take 1 hour 28 minutes from the current time of 2 hour 20 minutes.
The HS2 project was originally proposed in 2010. When it was proposed for the first time, the cost was planned to be between £30.9 Billion and £36 Billion. In 2013, the budget was again revised to £42.6 Billion. Again in 2015, because of the escalation of the cost it is expected to be around £ 56.6 Billion. As per 2019 estimation, the Government expects the cost to be between £80.7 Billion to £88.7 Billion.
|Year||Cost (Billion)||Increase in £ (Billion)||Increase in %|
As per the 2019 prices, the cost per mile of construction stands at 257 Million.
However, this estimation is still a big question mark. In 2020, as per the Oakervee review, the cost is expected to be £106 Billion.
Source: Guardian graphic
The lines of HS2 are expected to be used intensively. It means that on an average 15 trains per hour is expected to and fro from Euston. With an average of 1000 passengers per train, it is expected that HS2 will carry 26,000 people per hour. It is expected that the annual passenger numbers to be around 85 million.
|Particulars||Current Capacity||Capacity post HS2|
The project was envisaged in 2003 and it got its first approval in 2010. However for one or the other reasons the project has been delayed for about 10 years and finally it got the official approval on 15th April 2020. The approval has been issued to the construction companies to start work on the project.
The main reasons for the delay in the project are
(i) Unrealistic Price Target:
From the beginning of the HS2 proposal by the DfT (Department for Transport) under the Labour Government in 2009. From the time it was proposed, the people and the opposition Government has been stating that the project is heavily undervalued and it is very difficult to carry on the project at the said cost.
There is a concern stating that the Government has misled MP’s and public over the cost of HS2. Thus there has been a lot of controversies around the price target given by the Department for Transport.
(ii) Unrealistic Time Target:
The people in the circle and left party was also condemning the time frame that has been stated to complete the HS2 Project. They said that the project of this size is not likely to be completed in the said time frame. They argued that the time period has to be extended.
The above two factors weighed a lot on the project and there has been a lot of discussions with regard to further proceedings.
(iii) Improvements in the Project:
There has been a lot of improvements proposed in each part of the project. Considering the proposals and the long term impact of the proposals, the Government is also taking a lot of time to re-modify the existing plan, to optimize the cost and to maximize the benefits. This is also one of the reason for the delay of the project.
- iv) Environmental Impact:
The Environmentalist after going through the plan they raised the following concerns.
- a) They said that the sum total of Carbon Emissions from HS2 and other vehicles will not come down.
- b) Post introduction of HS2, the environmentalists argue that the demand for flying is not likely to come down.
- c) The environmentalists also argued that the HS2 is likely to have a long lasting and devastating effect on wildlife and biodiversity.
- d) They mainly argue that the HS2 is not a sustainable transport policy.
- v) People with different Opinion:
There has been multiple survey carried out in London, Rest of South, Midlands, North and Scotland to measure or to access as whether this HS2 will benefit them in a larger scale. 46% of People in North felt that this HS2 project won’t have much difference to the North. However, 40% of the people in London feel that it will be positive for them.
Thus people are grouped in two at this juncture. Some people or the environmentalists believe that the project is likely to have more devastating results than the improvement. Whereas some people think that this a game changer in UK’s transport.
- vi) Environmentally Damaging:
The Environmentalists have brought the below statistics with regard to HS2.
- Five wildlife important sanctuaries
- Around 33 sites which has got special specific interest
- There are around 693 sites which has been classified as local wildlife sites
- 21 Natural reserves
- Large land scape initiatives which is around 26
- There are around 18 wildlife Natural reserves
- There are around 108 ancient woodlands which are irreplaceable.
Adding to this, they also state that the carbon emission from HS2 is going to be higher when compared to the normal trains. The reason being the trains travelling at the top speed of HS2 use at least twice as much energy as conventional ones.
They also state that this HS2 is not going to be an alternative for airways. This will be an alternative for the people who are travelling in the conventional trains and thus there is also no reduction in carbon emission from airways.
There has been more than 4 transport ministers changed from 2010 (that is from the project has been proposed). The ministers along with the Government has been trying to convince the public with regard to the HS2 and they want HS2 badly to be implemented. However, the logic that has been given is not convincing the people are not ready to accept the same.
The Government after fighting for about 9 years and with strong opposition from the people, the Department for Transport has commissioned a team under Douglas Oakervee to review the decision of HS2 in August 2019.
The Government has asked the committee to investigate all the available evidences that are related to HS2. They want a detail report on the HS2 so that it will allow the Government officials, the Department of Transport and the Prime Minister to take an informed decision.
Though on one side the public appreciated the same, the government was condemned for forcing the implementation of HS2 without doing a study of this sort.
DoublasOakervee in February 2020 gave his report with regard to HS2. As per the report, he started saying that this is one of the massive study but he was invited to do it in less time and which has resulted as a major challenge for deep study. His report supported for the implementation of HS2 in a broader picture thought there were some comments to cut down some small track lines in between the station in certain areas.
He also noted that if there is going to be any cancellation of the HS2 project at this stage will result in a loss of £9 Billion to £10 Billion. He also stated the cost of completing the project would be reach around £106 Billion.
In the first week of September 2019, a report from the chairman of HS2 was shared with the public. The Transport Minister Mr. Grant Shapps informed the public that the first line of HS2 will come online between the years 2028 to 2031 instead of the year 2026.
The second line of HS2 is also expected to open in between 2035 and 2040 but not in 2032 to 2033. This five to seven year drag was attributed to the reason that when the project was originally planned the planners have failed to consider the implications of densely populated areas and difficult geographical features. Thus there could be delay from 5 to 7 years from the earlier projection.
Dr. Edward Freeman was the first professor who described Stakeholder Theory in his book in 1984. He says that the Stakeholder of a company are not only the shareholders but also employees, customers, suppliers, competitors, vendors, contractors and general public.
In a simple statement, he says that if all the stakeholders swim or row in the same direction then the company has got a good momentum and real power. However, if they broke down because of different ideas then the momentum will be zero or it will be very low.
The HS2 project is a good example of the failure because of the different opinions of stakeholders.
The Government has made its mind to build this HS2 project though the costs are spiraling. Now, it is more evident that the project is likely to take more than 5 to 7 years then the planned time. The Government also clearly knows that in the current economic situation, this project is a huge burden on the country’s economy. However, they want to go ahead with the project.
People are differentiated into two groups. One group who is currently using the train to move from one London to Manchester to from London to Leeds. They believe that this project might benefit them or for the people of their sort in future. However, they are also worried about the ticket cost when it comes online.
The second group of people are those who feel that when there are so many issues in the country, why the government is more adamant in implementing this project. They feel that there are good alternatives for this. The feel that the online is one of the best medium for people to do their job instead of travelling. In case if they also want to travel, they will incur one more hour when compared to the proposed new HS2 line.
Environmentalists feel that by implementing this project more than the benefits that the country is going to get, there are huge natural resources that are at stake. They believe that some damages that we incur during the construction of HS2 might be recoverable and there are some damages which are irrecoverable.
They say that this HS2 is likely to create more carbon emission, there is huge number of sanctuaries, forest, natural reserves, woodlands at risk. They also believe that some species of butterfly might get extinct.
The economist finds that the total sum of benefits that the country is going to enjoy from this project is going to be very minimal and might be nil. They believe that the benefit of saving one hour in a journey is very low. They are also not compromised for the reason that this will help the people traffic. They believe that there are much more alternative at lower cost and with lower environmental impact to increase the people traffic.
This one is mammoth task and lot of companies has bid the order and taken it. They all have to work together in unison to bring this project online. Considering the huge time frame and the uncertainties surrounding the project, they are little bit skeptical about the cost and the timeline.
From the above analysis, we see that there are lot of disadvantages that is spiraling all around the project and only a few advantages is left. However, the quantum of money that has been planned to be invested is very huge for this smaller benefits.
We are also not sure as whether the project developers have computed for any unforeseen accidents. The reason being the project runs in most densely populated area and there are more tunnel construction beneath the building.
Moreover, with the impact of Covid-19 the current scenario is more fragile. Now it is time for all the countries to preserve nature and to work towards the development of human beings along with the nature and it is not against nature. We have to understand that all the living beings in the world has got right to live and we can’t override their rights.
The human’s craze on the materialistic things in the world will never come to an end. As we are developing, we have started to take rights from other living beings in the world. And not only other living beings, but also other human beings. There are lot of people what are yet to get fulfilled in their basic needs.
The government can work on those projects or the government can work on the projects that is likely to build the humanity in the whole world.
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