The High Speed 2 story, also known as HS2, the British high-speed rail line, may have been a national success, with a brand new rail network finally opening in the north of England. It recently turned into a fiasco, casting doubt on the United Kingdom’s ability to complete major infrastructure projects.
HS1, a short section of high-speed rail, was completed in the early 2000s to bring the Eurostar from the Channel Tunnel to London, a country mainly connected to the network since Victorian times. “We are the laughing stock of other European countries”laments Roderick Smith, rail expert and emeritus professor at Imperial College London.
It was conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who brutally damaged the dream of an English-style DGV on October 4 when he announced the abandonment of the northern section of the HS2 route. Midlands to Manchester, the economic center of the North West of England. The project has not yet been launched, but its principle has been validated for more than ten years.
The decision results in an atrophied network of up to 140 miles (225 kilometres) separating London from Birmingham after the eastern branch between Birmingham and Leeds is abandoned from 2021. Mr. Sunak presented habits changed by the pandemic, teleworking that reduced train attendance and, above all, a budget for the entire project. “Uncontrollable” : This has increased from an estimated 37.5 billion pounds (about 43 billion euros) in 2009 to over 100 billion pounds in 2020.
Why such a drift? It was Andrew Adonis, transport minister in Gordon Brown’s Labor government, who outlined the plan’s parameters in 2009. Instead of investing in fast trains, he wants to catch up with the United Kingdom, which has spent the previous twenty years privatizing its network. Mr. Adonis wants.
Lack of political continuity
However, these technical specifications “Despite their costly implications, there was little competition. The track of high-speed trains had to be very straight, the foundation very solid. In addition, the politicians had given their agreement on the basis of sufficiently thorough technical studies. When the nature of the soil was well understood, [ils sont poreux au nord de Londres, à cause de la présence de craie], The bill rose again, Stephen Glaster, a transport expert at Imperial College, explains.
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