In his recent review of the HS2 project Sir David Higgins advocated the removal of the proposed North London Rail link between HS2 and HS1 on the grounds that it would provide a relatively poor return (removing the need for a one stop tube journey) on an apparently unreasonably large proportion (£700m) of the total budget (£42.6bn) .
(Therefore HS2 – HS1 = £41.9bn)
Today, according to the HM Treasury website in the kind of pre-emptive news strike that has now become the norm, George Osborne will propose a third high speed railway for Britain. Depending on who you ask this “keynote speech” or “pre-election waffle” is either a reflection on the success of his government’s long term economic planning or an attempt to deflect attention from a reported six point deficit in the latest polls. The new line, already being referred to as HS3 would link Manchester and Leeds across the Pennines.
I’m not wanting to speculate on the intention of the speech and without knowing who the audience was (apart from all of us) it’s also difficult to speculate on which particular lock his keynotes were meant to open. But the event of the speech is interesting in its own right.