Many train passengers will face slower and less-frequent services if the Government’s HS2 high-speed rail scheme goes ahead, a report from the TaxPayers’ Alliance has claimed.
Creating the London to Birmingham HS2 will mean Euston station in London “becoming a building site for seven years”, the report said.
It added that until the second north-of-Birmingham phase of HS2 is built, there could, from 2026, actually be a 6.6% reduction in the number of seats available on the London to Scotland West Coast main line compared with 2012.
The report listed the towns and cities which, according to the TaxPayers’ Alliance, will have “worse rail services as a result of HS2”. These include Coventry, Stoke-on-Trent, Manchester, Leicester, Nottingham, Derby and Sheffield.
These destinations would be “negatively hit by worse journey times, fewer seats and/or fewer trains per day”, said the TaxPayers’ Alliance.
TaxPayers’ Alliance director Matthew Sinclair said: “High-speed rail isn’t the right way of getting the capacity we need. The project is set to cost taxpayers a fortune and it is increasingly clear it will be a huge white elephant.
“While politicians are holding out the promise of a faster journey for a fortunate few, huge numbers of people will face slower and less-frequent services with more overcrowding. Everyone will still have to pay the hefty bill.”
A Department for Transport spokesman said: “This is complete nonsense, largely based around speculation, guesswork and spurious crystal-ball gazing about our future plans for investment in the existing railways.
“The Taxpayers’ Alliance are speculating wildly that all kinds of other rail projects won’t go-ahead because of HS2. This is simply not the case. The Government has been quite clear that we will continue to invest in our existing railways as we plan for a high-speed network.”