The very British tragedy of HS2

I WAS never a great fan of HS2, believing that it would have been better to sprinkle the largesse across the  existing network, bringing benefits to our ailing railways in general. If it had to be built I believed it would have been better to construct it on the trackbed of the old Great Central Railway from Marylebone to the north, closed in the 1960s. This would have saved many billions as well as sparing much scarring of the countryside.

But we are where we are, and senior government figures are now talking about truncating the project, axing the line to Manchester and binning the link to Euston. The line to Leeds has already been junked. This would leave a shuttle from Birmingham to a site in the middle of nowhere in west London. By the time passengers had taken the suburban train from that wasteland at Old Oak Common to central London, all the speed benefits would have been negated.

What a scandalous waste of ¬£100 billion! My view is that it would be better to stomach the loss and complete the project. Other big loss-making infrastructure projects, such as HS1, the Jubilee line, the M25 have paid off in the end. Let’s bite the bullet and hold our nerve on their one.