High Speed 2 is “badly off course” and it is unclear that the firm building the £100 billion rail line has the necessary “skills and capability”, according to a damning report by the Parliament’s most influential committee.

Apparently they can’t even map read well enough to find Birmingham.

15 thoughts on “OH Dear”

  1. Can’t we just find out how much bung was paid and give it back? With interest? Has to be cheaper than building the damn thing.

  2. £100 billion is, give or take a few pounds, about £2,000 for each registered voter in the country. £2,000 out of your taxes or put another way, £2,000 that could have been spent on you. Would YOU give £2,000 of YOUR money so that rich people could get from Birmingham to London a little bit quicker? No? That’s why we need government, so that they can spend money on things you don’t want.

  3. Johnson seems to have emerged from the death ward with a hard on for the Grim Reaper.

    He already planned £600 billion spending spree. Including £100 billion for HSR2–more likely 150 billion minimum before the curtain comes down on that foul farce. Then £300 billion as the first step in CCPvirus fuck up . £212 billion est cost of Furlough to Sept. I believe it could now be on to October . Some economists have –v optimistically in my book– estimated CCP LD bill at ¬£560 billion. Very low IMO.

    And now Bloj says the money weir is open and the Sky is the fucking limit. Run the printing press and borrow to try and stop everything collapsing.

    Is this a nightmare or is Johnson really that fucking stupid? WW1/2 sized borrowing /paybacks–which in practice means printing and inflating UK Govt debts away. And pouring a bucket of bitter piss on the UK public to do so.

  4. In principle if we aren’t going to be reopening the entertainment, hospitality and similar industries for a while yet, and demand for tourism could be down for years, getting people into work on infrastructure projects isn’t the world’s worst idea.

    In practice the value of those infrastructure projects may be radically altered by our new modes of living – a step change in telecommuting doesn’t help the HS2 business case.

    But let’s say they did want to accelerate the HS2 construction programme to get more people into work. How feasible is this in terms of training time? Fully qualified engineers will be doing a degree that takes 3-4 years for starters, but what about the bulk of the site staff? Anyone know?

  5. Boris will need all the goodwill going over the next couple of months.

    It would be a powerful tactic to keep schtum about HS2 for now and then announce that he’s dumping it (or if he prefers temporarily shelving the project) in June or July which would score much-needed brownie points with the overwhelming majority of the public. The inevitable sniping by politicians, bbc and CBI et al will only be self-defeating.

    Sadly it won’t happen.

  6. ‘according to a damning report by the Parliament’s most influential committee.

    Apparently they can’t even map read well enough to find Birmingham.’

    Watch those antecedents.

  7. “But let’s say they did want to accelerate the HS2 construction programme to get more people into work. How feasible is this in terms of training time? Fully qualified engineers will be doing a degree that takes 3-4 years for starters, but what about the bulk of the site staff? Anyone know?”

    Judging from the HSL project extension from Brussels to Amsterdam, and the laying of the “Iron Rhine” ( or Betuwelijn officially) in the Netherlands… ( and the delays, extra costs and Surprises during…)
    Roughly anywhere between 6 months ( “simple” operator) to 2 years (supervision and maintenance) , depending on actual job and background. And that’s for actually laying the tracks.
    Dunno what systems they use for signalling/detection/actuation in the UK, but working on that requires engineer-level anyway.

    Getting heavy trains to go fast and not bugger up the tracks is Hard. Especially in places where there isn’t handy bedrock available as a foundation.

    I’ve the feeling one of the reasons HS2 is getting so far out of hand is that the Brits once again insist on trying to re-invent the wheel by themselves, while the expertise is readily available abroad.
    Of course, that would probably entail asking the Germans, or (gods forbid) The French for help….

  8. MBE,

    “But let’s say they did want to accelerate the HS2 construction programme to get more people into work. How feasible is this in terms of training time? Fully qualified engineers will be doing a degree that takes 3-4 years for starters, but what about the bulk of the site staff? Anyone know?”

    That’s the problem. Very little of it is people with pickaxes. Machines do most of that. It’s people with surveying skills, engineering skills, geology skills, people with experience in H&S. I know someone working on an archaeological dig on the route. That’s a degree in archaeology, for starters. Environmental assessments. No doubt that requires degree or plenty of experience to write the forms the right way.

    I googled for HS2 jobs and there’s a couple of labourer jobs, 1 roller driver job. Less than 10% of all the jobs.

  9. No need to ask anybody since there is no need for it. And fuck useless makework jobs to produce a POS that will never pay.

  10. The Bucks Archaeological Society (the missus is a leading light) are excited by much of what has been discovered in the preliminary digs for HS2. But they’re all totally opposed to HS2 (even though most of them aren’t going to be directly affected).

    The last remaining argument for HS2 (after all the initial nonsense about the value of saving a few minutes journey time had been laughed out of court) was to ease congestion on the WCML. But post-Covid, there are bound to be significantly fewer train journeys (my guess, which is as good as yours, would be ~20% fewer) as many people discover that there are ways of working that don’t involve spend 2-3 hours a day with your face pressed into someone else’s armpit.

  11. Yae, people seem to think it’s still 1905 and unemployed steel workers can turn up on site and pick up a shovel and build The New Road. And nowadays it would be unemployed diversity co-ordinators…..

  12. “nowadays it would be unemployed diversity co-ordinators…..”

    And that is the problem, any jobs instantly created by such a make-work project would most likely be for diversity co-ordinators

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