HS2 is a 'political vanity project' pushed through by a 'train geek'

HS2 sign

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A campaigner from the HS2 Action Alliance has branded the high speed rail line a "political vanity project" following new proposals for a £1 billion train station in west London.

Richard Houghton, a spokesman for the campaign group - which oppose the giant infrastructure project - appeared on the Mike Graham show to discuss HS2 Ltd's plans to build the station next to Wormwood Scrubs prison.



"Effectively what they're doing is building a political vanity project, because they like the idea of cutting the ribbon and having something fast," Mr Houghton said.

"We currently spend £6 billion on the entire UK train network a year, so we're going to nearly spend the same again to produce this one train."

The proposed station will link to London Euston and is expected to serve around 250,000 passengers a day. 


'Train geek'

Lord Andrew Adonis. Image: Getty

"This was pushed through by Lord Adonis, unelected, he's a bit of a train geek. It wasn't on anybody's list. They don't need a high speed train link," Mr Houghton added.

"The growth in commuter traffic, which is like 45 mile journeys, is growing at 6 per cent a year. Guess what growth on inter-city traffic is? Which HS2 answers, is zero. Because it's too expensive and too unreliable."

It recently emerged that bosses at HS2 were so concerned about their budget that there were plans to run slower and less regular services to save money. The overall project is expected to cost £56 billion.

Mr Houghton added: "Imagine what you could do with £56 billion quid in all those regional cities -  just put broadband across the whole of the UK."