Doubt over benefits of high-speed rail

First published in News

EXPERTS have cast doubt on the Prime Minister’s prediction that a new rail line will boost Bolton business.

The Government announced plans last week to extend the proposed London to Birmingham HS2 train line as far as Manchester by 2032 to cut journey times.

But transport experts claim there is little evidence that the North will benefit and say the cash could be spent on other projects.

New figures from Virgin Trains show two-thirds of people who buy return tickets for the Manchester and London line start their journey in London. Critics of the new £32.7 billion project believe that shows the people who will benefit from it already live in the capital.

Professor John Tomaney, of the School of Planning at University College London, has researched the effect of high-speed lines across the world. He said: “The argument that high-speed rail can reshape economic geography has been used in several countries around the world such as France, Spain, South Korea. But in practice, there is very little evidence that building a high speed rail line heals north-south divides.”

Professor Paul Salveson, a transport expert based at the University of Huddersfield, said: “The impact on the north's economy, whatever it might be, will not be felt for decades.

“HS2 is a very expensive solution, and for a fraction of the cost we could re-open the former Peak mainline from Manchester to Derby and upgrade the route to St Pancras.”

However, others argued Bolton will benefit.

Bolton Council’s development director Keith Davies said: “This level of investment in the Greater Manchester area is something that should be welcomed, and we will be working with partners in Greater Manchester to maximise the economic benefit that the construction of the line will bring. It will improve our position in relation to the UK and the European economies.”

Emma Antrobus, transport policymaker for the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, said: “HS2 will provide an economic benefit to the whole of the region, including towns like Bolton, through the creation of jobs and increased productivity.”

Comments (7)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

11:33am Mon 4 Feb 13

steveG says...

It can't do any harm,at the very least it means it will be easier to get out of Bolton in the quest for jobs.
It can't do any harm,at the very least it means it will be easier to get out of Bolton in the quest for jobs. steveG
  • Score: 0

2:31pm Mon 4 Feb 13

SmoggyDiasboro says...

'New figures from Virgin Trains show two-thirds of people who buy return tickets for the Manchester and London line start their journey in London. Critics of the new £32.7 billion project believe that shows the people who will benefit from it already live in the capital.'

An interesting statistic - because it seems to be counter-indicative to the argument. If people are travelling out of London to Manchester, that would seem to indicate that whilst they live there, they are travelling for work purposes to Manchester. The logical inference here is that if it is easier then they are more likely to deal with Northern suppliers, hopefully generating more work in Manchester.

This seems to fly in the face of other research previously quoted abount how the benefits of HS rail work the other way. I will be interested to see how this plays out (though as it's going to be in the 2030's I won't be holding what little breath I have left to reviewing the definitive 'proof' in my 80's)
'New figures from Virgin Trains show two-thirds of people who buy return tickets for the Manchester and London line start their journey in London. Critics of the new £32.7 billion project believe that shows the people who will benefit from it already live in the capital.' An interesting statistic - because it seems to be counter-indicative to the argument. If people are travelling out of London to Manchester, that would seem to indicate that whilst they live there, they are travelling for work purposes to Manchester. The logical inference here is that if it is easier then they are more likely to deal with Northern suppliers, hopefully generating more work in Manchester. This seems to fly in the face of other research previously quoted abount how the benefits of HS rail work the other way. I will be interested to see how this plays out (though as it's going to be in the 2030's I won't be holding what little breath I have left to reviewing the definitive 'proof' in my 80's) SmoggyDiasboro
  • Score: 0

4:02pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Reality50 says...

HS2 will benefit London Manchester Birmingham and Leeds-cities that have all had massive government and business investment the past 20 years. The rest of us will see no benefit at all. We need new lines or reopened lines and the Colne-Skipton and Manchester-Penistone
/Barnsley line being two such cases. As for Bolton sadly it is too late to reopen the Bolton-Bury line as Beeching killed that for ever. As I said last week I would like to see direct services from Bolton to Liverpool Leeds and London without the need to change at Manchester or Wigan.
HS2 will benefit London Manchester Birmingham and Leeds-cities that have all had massive government and business investment the past 20 years. The rest of us will see no benefit at all. We need new lines or reopened lines and the Colne-Skipton and Manchester-Penistone /Barnsley line being two such cases. As for Bolton sadly it is too late to reopen the Bolton-Bury line as Beeching killed that for ever. As I said last week I would like to see direct services from Bolton to Liverpool Leeds and London without the need to change at Manchester or Wigan. Reality50
  • Score: 1

4:08pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Reality50 says...

All HS2 will do is further see the local investment in the North West go into Manchester while the satellite towns further become neglected backwaters. Being a part of Greater Manchester harms Bolton in many ways and diminishes our influence and importance as a town. We should go back into Lancashire and be a big fish in a smaller pond rather than be a forgotten town in a large conurbation.Being on the coattails of Manchester is also a reason why we have never been given city status.
All HS2 will do is further see the local investment in the North West go into Manchester while the satellite towns further become neglected backwaters. Being a part of Greater Manchester harms Bolton in many ways and diminishes our influence and importance as a town. We should go back into Lancashire and be a big fish in a smaller pond rather than be a forgotten town in a large conurbation.Being on the coattails of Manchester is also a reason why we have never been given city status. Reality50
  • Score: 1

6:56pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Beyond News Forum says...

Bullsh!tting around the whole idea will help nobody.

How many people can afford to get into this town via the current train system and it's price hiking? That's if there is going to be any business and jobs here in Bolton in the next few years anyway.
Bullsh!tting around the whole idea will help nobody. How many people can afford to get into this town via the current train system and it's price hiking? That's if there is going to be any business and jobs here in Bolton in the next few years anyway. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 0

6:57pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Beyond News Forum says...

Bullsh!tting around the whole idea will help nobody.

How many people can afford to get into this town via the current train system and it's price hiking? That's if there is going to be any business and jobs here in Bolton in the next few years anyway.
Bullsh!tting around the whole idea will help nobody. How many people can afford to get into this town via the current train system and it's price hiking? That's if there is going to be any business and jobs here in Bolton in the next few years anyway. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 0

8:49pm Mon 4 Feb 13

Hulton Park says...

Reality50 wrote:
All HS2 will do is further see the local investment in the North West go into Manchester while the satellite towns further become neglected backwaters. Being a part of Greater Manchester harms Bolton in many ways and diminishes our influence and importance as a town. We should go back into Lancashire and be a big fish in a smaller pond rather than be a forgotten town in a large conurbation.Being on the coattails of Manchester is also a reason why we have never been given city status.
Spot on.

HS2 will in fact exacerbate the shift that has been going on for decades, and which has been accelerated by the idea of "Greater Manchester", something that does precious little for the Lancashire cotton towns. It is, in essence, a suburbanist idea, with no urban vision beyond the city.

The North West's economic centre of gravity will move increasingly to the south of Manchester, with the Airport area effectively operating as a second city centre, with an econmic pull that will be to the detriment of established centres. In addition, with the proposed link to Manchester Airport from the West Coast mainline at Wigan, many trains from the north will simply by-pass Bolton altogether.

Sad to hear a representative of this once great and independent town parroting a press release provided by Greater Manchester quangoists.
[quote][p][bold]Reality50[/bold] wrote: All HS2 will do is further see the local investment in the North West go into Manchester while the satellite towns further become neglected backwaters. Being a part of Greater Manchester harms Bolton in many ways and diminishes our influence and importance as a town. We should go back into Lancashire and be a big fish in a smaller pond rather than be a forgotten town in a large conurbation.Being on the coattails of Manchester is also a reason why we have never been given city status.[/p][/quote]Spot on. HS2 will in fact exacerbate the shift that has been going on for decades, and which has been accelerated by the idea of "Greater Manchester", something that does precious little for the Lancashire cotton towns. It is, in essence, a suburbanist idea, with no urban vision beyond the city. The North West's economic centre of gravity will move increasingly to the south of Manchester, with the Airport area effectively operating as a second city centre, with an econmic pull that will be to the detriment of established centres. In addition, with the proposed link to Manchester Airport from the West Coast mainline at Wigan, many trains from the north will simply by-pass Bolton altogether. Sad to hear a representative of this once great and independent town parroting a press release provided by Greater Manchester quangoists. Hulton Park
  • Score: 0

Comments are closed on this article.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree