The Anonymous Widower

HS2 Phase One Given The Green Light

The title of this post is the same as that as this article on Rail Magazine.

This is the two introductory paragraphs.

Government confirmed today (April 15) that work can now start on building Phase 1 of HS2 from London to Birmingham.

Until now, only preparatory work had been carried out. But the Department for Transport has now given approval for HS2 Ltd to issue Notice to Proceed (NtP) to the four main works civils contractors, to commence full detailed design and construction of the railway.

The article also gives this quote from the Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd; Mark Thurston.

In these difficult times, today’s announcement represents both an immediate boost to the construction industry and the many millions of UK jobs that the industry supports, and an important investment in Britain’s future – levelling up the country, improving our transport network, and changing the way we travel to help bring down carbon emissions and improve air quality for the next generation.

Perhaps, we should give the go-ahead for more big infrastructure projects, to create the employment we need.

It would only be enacting one of the principles of Franklin D. Roosevelt‘s New Deal.

There is a section called Public Works in the Wikipedia entry for the New Deal.

This is said.

To prime the pump and cut unemployment, the NIRA created the Public Works Administration (PWA), a major program of public works, which organized and provided funds for the building of useful works such as government buildings, airports, hospitals, schools, roads, bridges and dams. From 1933 to 1935 PWA spent $3.3  billion with private companies to build 34,599 projects, many of them quite large.

Under Roosevelt, many unemployed persons were put to work on a wide range of government-financed public works projects, building bridges, airports, dams, post offices, hospitals and hundreds of thousands of miles of road. Through reforestation and flood control, they reclaimed millions of hectares of soil from erosion and devastation. As noted by one authority, Roosevelt’s New Deal “was literally stamped on the American landscape”

Wouldn’t this be good for the UK to offset the damage caused by COVID-19?

The current government has already flagged up several suitable projects, since they were elected.

  • High Speed Two
  • Northern Powerhouse Rail
  • East-West Rail
  • City Light Rail Systems
  • Decarbonisation of the Rail Industry
  • Offshore Wind Farms
  • Energy Storage
  • Reversal of the Beeching Cuts
  • Improvements to and decarbonisation of bus services
  • Flood relief schemes

There are many more.

One difference to the United States in the 1930s, is that some of these projects can be funded by financial institutions like Pension Funds and Insurance Companies. In World’s Largest Wind Farm Attracts Huge Backing From Insurance Giant, I talk about how Aviva will have invested a billion pounds in offshore wind by the end of 2018, to fund pensions and insurance.

April 15, 2020 - Posted by | Transport, World | , , ,


  1. The go ahead for HS2 will create many thousands of jobs at a time when many jobs are under threat . These jobs won’t just be on HS2 but also businesses like cafes near construction sites will gain business from workers on the project.

    One way government could create more employment would be to give the go ahead to full MML electrification and a rolling programme of electrification.

    This announcement confirmed that Euston Station will remain the ultimate terminal of HS2 and not the remote OOC .

    Comment by Melvyn | April 15, 2020 | Reply

  2. When the Orwell Road Bridge was built, I had an office that overlooked Martin & Newby, which was the local engineering supplies shop in Ipswich. Every morning, the bridge builder’s van would pull in and load up with supplies. I always wonder how much the shop made out of the building of the bridge? It wasn’t small change!

    Comment by AnonW | April 15, 2020 | Reply

  3. Lots of these projects will take years to get going. Many of the roads appear to have been bombed by the RAF, and paving can be ramped up quickly. That’s where I would start.

    Comment by William | April 16, 2020 | Reply

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