High speed fail

John Savin is right to slam High Speed 2 (HS2) [No recessions for 80 years: The fanciful world of High Speed Rail 2’s business case, yesterday]. And on top of the future uncertainty he highlights, there is past experience with high-speed rail.

When High Speed 1 was completed at a cost of £5.7bn, the lease was sold for just £2.1bn; actual passenger numbers have been just one third of the promoters’ projections. At £130m per mile – four times the average EU high speed rail line cost – the project is not value for money. And all but two high speed lines in the world require a public subsidy to operate.

All signs point to HS2 being a significant long-term burden for the public purse, with little benefit in return.

Sam Bowman

Research Director

Adam Smith Institute