For help, advice and discussion about stuff not related to aviation. Play nice: no religion, no politics and no axe grinding please.
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By avtur3
According to MP's on the Public Accounts Committee HS2 Ltd, the company running the HS2 project, stands accused of "a shocking waste of taxpayers money", the comment has been made in relation to redundancy payments paid by HS2 when they relocated from London to Birmingham and shed 94 jobs. The budget for the payments was set at £1m, it seems that a total of £2.76m was paid out as a result of enhanced terms that were actually paid.

Other comments made by the committee about the performance of HS2 in relation to this matter were "weak internal processes", "a serious error" and "a lack of basic financial controls". As I understand it this committee is an all party committee therefore the comments can be seen as objective and should not be subject to political bias in terms of party political point scoring.

Now, I don't know how typical I am in terms of my knowledge of the HS2 project but this is what I understand at the moment. First and foremost its going to be eye wateringly expensive, mention of the project evokes strong feelings both fore and against it depending on who you talk to, I can't begin to understand how a project of this scale is organised and managed; how budgets are planned and spending is managed is beyond me but it is obviously fundamental to the success of the project.

Now I understand that the comments quoted in this storey relates to the specific matter of the redundancy payments. My question is, should I (we) be worried that this poor level of performance can be extrapolated and poses a risk the success of the project as a whole?
By johnm
Yes we should be very worried.

HS2 is a total waste of money from beginning to end. It's the wrong project in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Allegedly it is about increasing capacity between London and the Midlands while reducing journey times.

Capacity can be addressed more easily, quickly and cheaply by improving trains on the East and West coast main lines and implementing in cab signalling.

The difference in OVERALL journey times is minutes in trips taking hours and makes no sense at all.

The investment should be going into improving links between Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Leeds and Newcastle.
davey, seanxair, flybymike liked this
It's always been easy to spend other peoples' money.
The various factions who have studied this particular Pollies' ego-trip /vanity-project, have invariably been unable to bring it to the top of the cost- benefit pile, when compared with any other proposals to improve the transport- network. The thing should have been abandoned years ago, as being of fringe- benefit only.
The fools who have abused the public purse should have accountability. Maybe a few lazy/greedy/incompetent people would thus be dissuaded from seeking Public Office and indiscriminately spilling the candy-jar.

Well, you did ask! :twisted:
avtur3 wrote:My question is, should I (we) be worried that this poor level of performance can be extrapolated and poses a risk the success of the project as a whole?

Par for the course I'm afraid. Whether new IT systems for NHS, Edinburgh Trams, or HS2, pouring taxpayers money down the drain is quite normal.
Yes we should be worried, but no more than with any other major project.

The fools who have abused the public purse should have accountability.

That'd be a first. Agreed, them not being accountable is largely the reason behind it continually happening.
Ah yes, HS2 - It'll shave 17 minutes off the London to Leeds time, but......

it'll add 14 minutes to the Nottingham to Derby time, yes that's right, it'll double the commute time for those travelling between those two cities on a daily basis and I'd wager that there are more commuters on that journey than they'll ever be on London to Leeds or wherever.

And then there's the years of abject misery for those affected by the construction work, again I'd suspect that more people will be affected than will actually use it.

And is rail travel really that cost effective? - a couple of weeks ago I was looking at buying a bike in Scotland.
Instead of hiring a van I thought I'd travel up and ride it back so looked in to one way rail ticket - it was about £85.
I could've flown to Edinburgh courtesy of FlyBe for £35 and got a bus, all for about half the cost of the rail ticket and it'd be quicker.

And don't get me started about tram systems.

If Brexit can be put to the vote, why can't something, arguably as fundamental and equally divisive, also be decided by the ballot box?
Last edited by squawking 7700 on Fri Dec 15, 2017 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
By avtur3
cockney steve wrote: ... The fools who have abused the public purse should have accountability....

That's the troubling element, it sounds as though someone in government did give an instruction that was ignored, and now the guy has moved on there is no accountability.

Should we be looking at the next person up in the food chain who allowed the guy to leave without checking that he had done his job as instructed. It's probably difficult to hold someone to account if they've moved on from the job where they failed, perhaps there could be some claim on accrued benefit while in post ... pension?
By johnm
When I were a lad on the West Coast mainline we saw a train every 3 minutes on bank holidays and that was with conventional mechanical signalling. A major problem these days is with the capacity to hold commuter trains and freight as all the sidings have been sold off and turned into office blocks.

It remains true as far as I'm concerned that the priority should be on the Northern infrastructure and interconnect with the South via Grimingham may then be justified though I'd need a bit of convincing that made real sense.

Having travelled by train from Cheltenham to Edinburgh and back I have seen first hand the need for improvements!
By PaulB
squawking 7700 wrote:Ah yes, HS2 - It'll shave 17 minutes off the London to Leeds time, but..

What year is that shaving of 14 mins scheduled to happen?
The whole thing is a shambles and an atrocious waste of public money. Ripping a new rail line through the spine of middle England just so a small minority can travel from point A to point B a little quicker just beggars belief.
Just about everyone who is blighted by this project will not gain any benefit whatsoever and whatever faith I had left in politics evaporated the day this scheme was ratified. Seriously, 80 billion pounds, 20 years of disruption, hundreds of beautiful buildings and landscapes wiped out forever and for what?
The need for travel for business is DECREASING, not increasing and in 20 years time people are going to wet themselves laughing at the incompetent, short sighted fools who have invested so much of the people’s money in such a folly.
Rant over.
Foxmoth22, flybymike liked this
By PaulB
squawking 7700 wrote:Ever heard of irony PaulB?

20 Bn.? you don't really believe that, do you? at least 30, by the time it's done and dusted.....
Meanwhile, save the capital cost with it's massive interest, Just contract M. o 'Leary , to build a second Gatwick runway (or recommission one of the many redundant RAF airfields in the S.E) and supply regular shuttle- flights to Leeds Sheffield and Manchester...Let's say 1 Bn. a year subsidy to him (less than the interest is likely to be on the saved 20 Bn. )
regulated fares, even if as dear as the railway, far more preferable, provided all the security-charade is binned........dedicated airport, sell tickets like the rail service, Pax turn up , validate ticket (or buy) jump on the next "air-bus" 20 min's later alight.......oops, there's the fly in the ointment.....they'd be mixing with pax who have gone through the booking/security, need to buy up redundant airfields oop Norf as well....purely for shuttle and road or rail congestion, no disruption to regular air-travel. afaik, there's already air travel London - Glasgow and Edinburgh. (last went up in a Viscount, iirc, and back to Gatwick in a BAC111 ! :D well, it was 50 years ago, and the firm paid. :D
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By Dave W
cockney steve wrote:20 Bn.? you don't really believe that, do you?

Given that it was already £32.7Bn in 2010 and the current estimate is £56Bn, then "No, not really".

One could pay a private members' club resignation bill for significantly less. ;)
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