I WAS surprised to see a letter in last week’s Basingstoke Gazette (October 19) on the subject of HS2 given it was never a scheme for the south but as taxpayers, we all have to fund it. May I add my support for the prime minister’s decision to call a halt to phase 2 to Manchester given that phase 1 to Birmingham has so disastrously run over budget.

When an investment costs more than the projected benefits there is no economic case to continue sinking further money into a bottomless hole.

In my mind this ‘vanity’ project made two fundamental errors from day one - wrong route and wrong speed.

Routing via the Chilterns was designed to be cheaper until environmental concerns forced politicians to put more of it into tunnel without any regard to the massive increase in costs resulting from these decisions. The other error was to specify high speed running at 225mph (rather than a more manageable 150mph) which has produced an exponential increase in costs particularly when so much of the route to Birmingham is now in a tunnel.

The case for HS2 was primarily about increased capacity not speed but the ‘vision’ required a world class speed without regard to the fact that England is densely populated and the distances between our cities are actually relatively close compared to many other countries.

Sadly, another example of how this country makes poor decisions when it comes to investing public money.

Barry Deller

Chalky Copse


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