In its recent attempt to invent extra costs and therefore discredit the HS2 project, the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance (TPA) asserted that the Chelsea-Hackney line, now known as Crossrail 2, would have to be built as a result of HS2 terminating at Euston. From this they then asserted that the whole cost of Crossrail 2 would be attributable to HS2 and form part of that project’s business case.
So what is Crossrail 2, and where will it run? Well, the scheme has gone through various incarnations over the years, but the route protected in 2008 connects the Epping branch of the Central Line near Leytonstone with the Wimbledon branch of the District Line near Parson’s Green. It therefore relieves both Central and District lines in central London. But there’s one route detail the TPA omitted.
Have a think about that. How can the entire cost of this new line be attributed to HS2 if it doesn’t even serve the HS2 terminus? Ah well. Here we discover how the TPA got its logic back to front – probably deliberately – in order to pursue its objective of demonising Government, together with public service and public works.
The HS2 business case does not need Crossrail 2 to stand it up. And, as I noted recently, HS2 does not need more improvement to the Tube than that already slated – a new Automatic Train Operation (ATO) system for the Victoria Line and opening out the east end of Euston Square station – to enable its passengers to be dispersed without overloading the network.
However, the Crossrail 2 business case would be improved significantly if the route went via Euston and HS2 were built. So it is Crossrail 2 that needs HS2, not the other way round. Despite HS2 being a long distance project, paradoxically its presence reinforces the justification for an underground link in London whose primary purpose is to provide extra capacity only within that city.
So it should come as no surprise that Bozza is talking of HS2 and Crossrail 2 together. Ken Livingstone and Brian Paddick may well do likewise. But there is no credible justification for apportioning the costs of one to the business case of the other: once again the TPA has been caught out attempting a piece of dishonest creative accounting.
And it won’t be the last time, either.