HS2 offers a lower return on investment than alternatives, a new report suggests. The DfT commissioned engineering firm Atkins to appraise a set of strategic alternatives to the Government’s proposed HS2.

The report concludes that ‘51m’, an alternative which would improve the capacity on the West Coast Main Line, could give a significantly greater return to the taxpayers.

This proposal would offer a return of £6.06 for every pound invested, compared to the Government estimated return of between £1.80-£2.50 for every pound invested in HS2.

The former transport secretary, Philip Hammond told the transport select committee: “As rail projects go, a benefit-cost ratio of 2.6 is quite reasonable. If it were to fall much below 1.5, I would certainly be putting it under some very close scrutiny.”

The transport secretary, Justine Greening, said: “HS2 will deliver up to 26,000 more seats for rail passengers each hour and journey times slashed by as much as half. No amount of tinkering with our Victorian rail infrastructure will deliver this leap in capacity.”

A DfT spokesperson said the alternative ‘51m’ would not deal with long-term overcrowding and would cause delays.

Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for Rail Technology Magazine an independent technical trade journal for the UK rail industry offering a wide view of rail news views and opinions, he also writes for rtmjobs.com a rail jobs board reporting on the latest trends in rail recruitment