Re: Past and future
The problem is, of course, that we tore up all that nice track they spent lots of money laying.
For example, if the Central Line was still in place, we wouldn't be discussing this at all. In fact, I'd much rather they upgraded the Chiltern Line and reinstated the track in the existing trackbed of the Central Line.
I've not personally calculated the cost, but since a lot of the cuttings, embankments, drainage, and in some cases, bridges are still there, surely that would be a better way of spending the money.
I also have a problem with the capacity argument. The two tracks are not in the same place, merely have the same end points, e.g. London and Birmingham. I would argue that most of the capacity problems are at either end on the commuter routes, and I'm willing to bet that during the daytime, the trains are at best half full. Are there really that many people in Birmingham wanting to visit London & visa-versa? It's not even going to Heathrow, for goodness sake!
Finally, If you are going to go to all that effort, at least lay four tracks, not two, or at the very least reserve enough land for four tracks, and add a bit of future proofing.
Oh, and I was told that the HS2 would not be suitable for freight at all, as the slow freight trains would get in the way of the high speed trains, and would thus negate their purpose.
Disclaimer: HS2 will pass about 200 metres from my house. This is something I would be perfectly happy with if I thought it could be justified at all.