£20bn less than existing plans for HS2 & HS3.


Improves 94% of journeys and reduces journey time by an average of 40%.


Saves 600 million tonnes of CO2 and avoids the Chilterns AONB.


Improves regional rail across the UK and integrates with the existing rail infrastructure.


High Speed UK - Connecting the Nation


HS2 is the Government’s scheme for a national system of new high speed railways.  As former HS2 Ltd Technical Director Andrew McNaughton stated in evidence to the HS2 Select Committee, HS2 is intended to deliver “hugely enhanced capacity and connectivity” between the UK’s major conurbations, and thereby to bring about transformational economic benefit.  

It’s fair to state that over the past 10 years, HS2’s huge costs and environmental impacts have aroused huge controversy.  But whilst the protesters’ concerns are fully justified, they are merely symptomatic of a much deeper malaise – the monumental failure of railway engineering design that affects every aspect of the HS2 project.

The purpose of this website is to set out the full extent of HS2’s (and HS2 Ltd’s) failure, and to demonstrate how much better HS2 could perform, if only it had been correctly remitted and designed to perform efficiently as a national network.  The following are just a few of HS2 Ltd’s ‘Epic Fails’:

HS2 fails to deliver its objective of “hugely enhanced capacity and connectivity”

Our papers set out the full, jaw-dropping extent of HS2 Ltd’s failure to design a fit for purpose intercity railway capable of delivering “hugely enhanced capacity and connectivity”…

HS2 fails the connectivity test

HS2 fails the capacity test

HS2 : High Speed to Nowhere

HS2 is comprehensively outperformed by High Speed UK

Given the billions already expended on HS2, it would be reasonable to expect HS2 to perform well against any alternative such as HSUK.  But when compared with HSUK, HS2 fails every test as a national network.

HS2 : High Speed to Failure

HS2 Ltd has made no structured attempt to design HS2 as a network

It’s difficult to discern any meaningful attempt by HS2 Ltd to optimise HS2’s performance as a national intercity network.  Instead, it appears to have been assumed that the act of building HS2 will automatically bring about “hugely enhanced capacity and connectivity” between the UK’s major conurbations.

HS2 Ltd Network Design : Epic Fail

HS2’s introduction will destroy the integrity of the national network

In their design of HS2, HS2 Ltd has neglected the connectivity needs of a huge swathe of medium-sized cities.  Instead of enjoying improved high speed services, these cities will see reduced intercity services along the existing main lines.  This will effectively destroy the integrity of the UK’s national intercity network.   

HS2 – Fragmenting the National Network

HS2 fails as a high speed railway

HS2 Ltd has designed HS2 to be the fastest railway in the world, with routes capable of future 400kph/ 250MPH operation);  but no-one bothered to check the effect of this extreme speed on HS2’s performance as a network.  HSUK’s design shows that by designing for a lesser maximum speed to enable full integration with the existing network, HSUK can achieve far greater journey time reductions across the national network.      

The HS2 Speed Paradox

HS2’s design to London-centric priorities will sabotage the Northern Powerhouse

HS2’s routes in Yorkshire and Greater Manchester were designed with no thought for transpennine connectivity.  Yet these routes are to be used as core elements of Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), whose central purpose is to enhance transpennine connectivity.  It’s therefore no surprise that HS2 and NPR are hugely outperformed by HSUK, which was designed from the outset as an integrated national network.   

HS2 – Sabotaging the Northern Powerhouse

The Northern Poorhouse – How the Transport Establishment failed the People of the North

HS2 Ltd : No understanding of national intercity connectivity

Every aspect of the HS2 project indicates that despite the aspiration for “hugely enhanced capacity and connectivity”, its designers have no meaningful understanding of national intercity connectivity.  Not only has there been a clear failure to optimise connectivity, there is also no apparent understanding of the need to base any improvements upon the functionality and the deficiencies of the existing system.     

HS2 Ltd – No Understanding of National Intercity Connectivity


“HS2 modelling is shocking, biased and bonkers.”

Margaret Hodge, Chair, Public Accounts Committee

“No economic case for HS2... it will destroy jobs and force businesses to close.”

Institute of Economic Affairs