HS2 is getting almost wall-to-wall criticism, and there is very little stomach for it amongst the general public.

Many MPs are now looking to scrap it, including the MP for Tatton Esther McVey.

This is an example of the last time this sort of project crashed.

The Government is tied up with Brexit, and in the meantime a huge white elephant is lumbering along, destroying the countryside and the livelihoods, houses and industrial premises on the way.

The cost is going through the roof, and it would appear that the only people in favour of it are a smattering of MPs and the people engaged with building the thing. Of course, I am talking of HS2.

Speaking to people and reading reports I think this project is very likely to be scrapped but not before a huge cost has been incurred. Let’s look at the last example of a railway white elephant.

The decision to design and build an APT or Advanced Passenger Train was made in January 1969.

The idea of a train that could travel at 160mph on British Railways with its many curves was attractive, and work started.

It was beset with problems and was constantly going over budget.

By 1980 the APT team was disbanded leaving onward work for other agencies, at this time the project had been running for 10 years with no train yet in service.

Pressure came from all sides, and eventually, the Government demanded that this ‘money pit’ be put into service, despite the ongoing problems. On December 7, 1981, the press were invited to ride on the train from Glasgow to London, during which a record of four hours, 15 minutes was set.

The press was not interested; they were too busy enduring a sensation similar to seasickness as the train rolled around the bends giving it the nickname ‘Queasy Rider.’ It is fair to say that some of the APT technology has been used in other rail projects.

In 1975 as an interim measure for use until the APT was ready, design and completion of the InterCity 125 took place. This interim form of locomotive proved a great success.

By 1985/6 the APTs were withdrawn, broken up or sent to museums.

The cost was £47m down the drain, pocket money in HS2 terms.

As for the current white elephant, apart from the damage its building is causing, it will be overtaken by static technology before it is put into service.

It needs the plug pulling before it goes too far and the money saved spending on rail infrastructure, the NHS and many other things.

Paul Hurley Winsford