Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Is there a strong enough business case for HS2?

I think that the anti HS2 PR has engulfed everyone. The Government and Department for Transport haven’t been forceful enough in making the case for HS2. 

If we don’t invest in HS2, our network grinds to a halt in 2025. There will simply not be enough capacity for the huge growth in passengers and rail freight.
We are trying to operate a Victorian railway network minus the Beeching cuts in the 21st century, and that is obviously not going to be enough for our future needs, especially as we want to encourage more freight to get off the congested roads and switch to the greener alternative of rail.

In my view, they are taking far too long to implement HS2. We should be connecting London, Birmingham, Liverpool and Scotland now, not over the next 30 years.

I would also suggest that the Institute of Directors should not have come out against HS2 on the basis that its members are against it because its members are clearly ill informed to have reached that conclusion. They don’t understand the structural issues, that HS2 is fundamentally important. It is not about shaving 20 minutes off a journey to Birmingham. It’s about creating the rail capacity that the country needs as the economy grows. But that message isn’t getting across.

Arnab Dutt is the managing director of British exporter and manufacturer Texane, and is a public member of Network Rail. To see the full article on Elite Business, click here.

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