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A disclaimer first. This is not an anti-HS2 thread. If anything, it is a pro-HS2 thread.

Given the recent revelation that the Chinese government could well end up funding and building High Speed 2, we have a potential £30bn to spend on infrastructure projects. I know this is not how things work, the £30bn doesn't exist. My thinking, however, is that if used on projects with the same benefit-to-cost ratio, it does.

So my question to start off this fantasy-but-not-too-fantasy thread, is what projects could be done with this money, that provide a same or better BCR? Preferably public transport schemes.

How far would £30bn go in electrifying the UK railway network?

How many crossrail, metro, tram, and other schemes could be provided for that, and would their BCRs be good enough?

The channel tunnel cost just under £5bn. What tunnels could be built with £30bn today? A tunnel to Ireland? To Western France? Across the Solent?

What about High Speed 3, 4, 5. Manchester to Edinburgh and Glasgow? Maybe even further, to Aberdeen?

Transpenine high speed connecting Liverpool to Manchester, Leeds and Hull? London to Bristol, Cardiff and Swansea? London to Brighton or Southampton? London to Toton via Leicester?
 

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Looked at another way, £30 billion is approximately what central government spends on roads in a four-year period.
 

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There will be no other high speed rail schemes in the British isles (Ireland included) if HS2 is not built. If the BCR of HS2 looks ropey then the BCR of other lines that don't fulfil the same purpose will be spectacularly worse. The case for the E&G HSR is entirely dependent upon it being subsumed into the greater HS2 network in future. Likewise, the case for an Irish Sea Tunnel will be entirely dependent upon HS2 (and at 400km/h as well) as otherwise the journey times to either Holyhead or Stranraer would be far too long to ever compete with air.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
This thread assumes HS2 will be built, and funded by the Chinese. A wild suggestion, but not all that impossible, based on recent headlines.

I imagine HS2's presence will have a huge impact on the BCR of other schemes around the country.
 

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Great Yarmouth - The Hague tunnel.

Tunelling all the way would probably cost a lot more than that but with Dutch expertise in land reclaimation, we could add a couple of artificial peninsulas which would add a lot of valuable building land.

I suspect we're still looking at ludicrous prices, which is a shame.
 

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The highest estimated cost that Leeds Supertram reached was £800m for a 28km network - I think it's worked out at a similar price for Edinburgh Trams too, albeit a shorter network. Greater Manchester's extensions are costing around £1bn. A very rough guesstimate then working on £1bn; £30bn = core tram networks for 30 cities. Or a substantial network in every major city.

The Jubilee line extension cost £3.5bn; while that is not adjusted for inflation, that was a significantly higher amount than the estimated budget around £2bn. The JLE is 16km long, enough to span the diameter of most of our major cities. So one tube line in ten cities; or a 'starter' three line network in three major cities. Bare in mind that south London is difficult to tunnel through compared to many cities, and fewer tunnelled sections would be needed in most of our major cities, so the cost would likely be lower.

Crossrail is costing around £16bn for 136km - although I realise that only 42km is tunnel through London and much is on existing track. But assuming you could use sections of existing line in the north, and wouldn't require as much tunnelling, a similar cost could pay for a northern crossrail from Leeds - Liverpool, with enough to spare to provide new lines from Manchester - Sheffield/Sheffield - Leeds.

All hypothetical, ball park figures. Of course we could always just use the HS2 money for HS2?
 

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London Thames Estuary International... Actually, we could probably do a deal with the United Arab Emiratii to pay for that one! :lol:
 

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At one point is was looking like electrification of a single track mile with OHLE was costed at about £4million, yet recent schemes on low-speed projects have implied costs of only about £2million per track mile.

If you took £3 million a mile as a realistic figure (allowing from savings made by the High Output train and for power supplies), that implies £30 billion could electrify 10,000 track miles. I suspect that figure would more than cover all the UK passenger lines with enough traffic to justify electrification. Long & winding regional lines such as the Far North, West Highland, Central Wales, Whitby etc. with a small number of trains each day are unlikely to ever justify route electrification - although battery electric trains are a possibility.
 

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London Thames Estuary International... Actually, we could probably do a deal with the United Arab Emiratii to pay for that one! :lol:
The rumour is that Boris-on-Sea will be added as a third formal option for London's airports in September, when the Airports Authority reports to Number 10.

That is because all options must be kept open until after the election.
 

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A fast rail link between the major cities of Liverpool-Manchester-Sheffield-Leeds-York-Hull-Newcastle is more important than HS2. A turbo-charged Northern Hub project you might say because the current NH project does not scratch the surface.

When Cameron and his out of touch Westminster brigade say this is a project to improve the economy in Northern England I feel like punching him.
 

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At one point is was looking like electrification of a single track mile with OHLE was costed at about £4million, yet recent schemes on low-speed projects have implied costs of only about £2million per track mile.

If you took £3 million a mile as a realistic figure (allowing from savings made by the High Output train and for power supplies), that implies £30 billion could electrify 10,000 track miles. I suspect that figure would more than cover all the UK passenger lines with enough traffic to justify electrification. Long & winding regional lines such as the Far North, West Highland, Central Wales, Whitby etc. with a small number of trains each day are unlikely to ever justify route electrification - although battery electric trains are a possibility.
Hmm... £3m/mile you say. So on a good year for intercity rail in Scotland...

[Priority A]
~150 miles from Glasgow to Aberdeen (via Perth & Dundee)
~60 miles from Edinburgh to Dundee
= around £630m to electrify

[Priority B]
~110 miles from Perth to Inverness
= around £330m to electrify

[Priority C]
~100 miles from Aberdeen to Inverness
= around £300m to electrify

= around £1.26bn (+EGIP) to wire up the seven Scottish cities if you really wanted to.
 

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Hmm... £3m/mile you say. So on a good year for intercity rail in Scotland...

[Priority A]
~150 miles from Glasgow to Aberdeen (via Perth & Dundee)
~60 miles from Edinburgh to Dundee
= around £630m to electrify

[Priority B]
~110 miles from Perth to Inverness
= around £330m to electrify

[Priority C]
~100 miles from Aberdeen to Inverness
= around £300m to electrify

= around £1.26bn (+EGIP) to wire up the seven Scottish cities if you really wanted to.
£3 million per track mile, but of course many of the routes are partly or mainly double track. Perth - Inverness is 118 miles, Can't remember the Aberdeen to Inverness mileage but it is more than 100 miles.
 

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A fully integrated transport network for Birmingham and the West Midlands. A fully integrated transport system between Nottingham and Derby.. AND possibly good HS classic links between Liverpool and Manchester?

I'm not anti but in any case, I'd like to see these happen anyway.
 

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A fully integrated transport network for Birmingham and the West Midlands. A fully integrated transport system between Nottingham and Derby.. AND possibly good HS classic links between Liverpool and Manchester?

I'm not anti but in any case, I'd like to see these happen anyway.
The sad thing is that it really wouldn't cost that much to do that. Re-regulation of the buses using the Transport for London model could allow bus services to be designed properly. The ITSO equipment for an Oyster-alike card is already available for the concessionary travel schemes so there's not much more needing spent there. Once the benefits of providing good public transport are proven it makes it far easier to justify expenditure on other areas such as trams, metros and trains.
 

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Some of that money could be used to take the Tyne and Wear Metro into the West end of Newcastle. The Metro still needs about £250m-£300m to keep it running for the next 20 years and finish off the modernisation programme which includes new rolling stock.

It would be nice for some of that money to be used for duelling the A1 north of Newcastle and into Scotland.
 

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Some of that money could be used to take the Tyne and Wear Metro into the West end of Newcastle. The Metro still needs about £250m-£300m to keep it running for the next 20 years and finish off the modernisation programme which includes new rolling stock.

It would be nice for some of that money to be used for duelling the A1 north of Newcastle and into Scotland.
Got to disagree with the money leaving the rail industry, these investments are about encouraging a shift towards sustainable transport modes and not facilitating the unsustainable growth of car use.

£32bn extra to spend on rail ...

- £2bn in funds per city for new tram & tram/train lines in each of; Bristol, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds.
- £4bn electrification and new tunnels to Mersey Rail to take all local trains out of terminal stations.
- £6bn for two 'crossrail' lines in Birmingham to take all local trains through New Street but out of the overground platforms.
- £8bn for Crossrail 3 linking South Eastern commuter routes through Lewisham with the WCML slow and Chiltern route to Ayelsbury via London Bridge and Tottenham Court Road.
- £4bn to quadrouple and build track between Felixstowe and London Gateway and the midlands to remove freight from London routes as well as removing numerous lorries from the motorways and providing the capacity London Gateway will need when it opens.
 

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2. A turbo-charged Northern Hub project you might say because the current NH project does not scratch the surface.

When Cameron and his out of touch Westminster brigade say this is a project to improve the economy in Northern England I feel like punching him.
I hate the way they rebranded the Manchester Hub project to 'Northern Hub' to make it appear that this is a project with direct benefits across the whole north. It's as if they want us to believe it's a northern Crossrail.

There are limited benefits, yes. But minor compared to what we could be getting if there was real investment in transport across the north.
 
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