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Most of you have probably heard about the high speed rail links that are being developed to connect north England to London in the UK, ‘high speed 2’ (HS2). The first connection is to be between Birmingham and London, with development for this part expected to begin in 2017, although its opening is not expected until around 2026 at least. Further extensions to the high speed train links are then planned to places like Leeds and Manchester (HS3), even further north, with even longer deadlines for completion.


This is clearly a major project with a very long time-span, a long-run investment.


But have you thought about the project’s cost-benefit analysis? Where do we start?


Take some time to consider some of the benefits – surely these don’t just stop at the ‘simple’ notion of improving accessibility of ‘Northerners’ to the country’s capital city? Is such accessibility so worthwhile, in this day of mobile networking?


Then, how about the costs? In terms of the overall construction the Government has suggested a total cost figure of £43 billion (UK pounds), although other expert commentators have suggested that this estimate is way below the mark.


But what about the non-financial costs, as well (including ‘opportunity costs’)? For instance, should we be surprised that the political ‘Green Party’ is opposed to the HS2 project?


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