It’s a vanity project by David Cameron along with Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband.
A far more sensible suggestion was made by the Labour MP Kelvin Hopkins, the supermarkets Tesco and Sainsbury’s and hauliers to re-open the Great Central Line, which was closed by the Tories in the 1960s.
After all these years, it is still almost intact except for a 50-mile stretch between Calvert and Leicester. All of its infrastructure of trackbeds, bridges, embankments and cuttings are still there. The Great Central Line ran from London to Rugby, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Leeds with a branch to Manchester – basically the same as the HS2 proposal except without all the compulsory purchases of homes and factories and misery caused by HS2.
The old line was built to Continental loading gauge, meaning lorries could piggyback on its trains in a roll-on, roll-off service.
The group that proposed it estimated it would cost £6 billion, saving at least £46bn.
With that sort of saving an extension to the Scottish cities would certainly be a realistic possibility.