HIGH speed 2, the proposed super-fast train service from London to Birmingham, isn't only a monumental waste of £32 billion for the sake of knocking off a few minutes from the journey.
It is another step on the road of Beechifying the railways.
Dr Beeching was the technocrat who, in the '60s, destroyed this country's train network. By axing two-thirds of the lines and leaving only main routes, he changed what had been a comprehensive network which allowed easy access to most of the population into one which fundamentally travelled between major cities and towns.
Now comes the next step. If you want to travel from London to Birmingham - or Birmingham to London, of course - HS2 will be fine for you, though it's sure to be even more expensive than at present. But most people don't want to go all the way. They are commuters who travel in and out of London and in and out of Birmingham. Not to mention all those who commute in and out of dozens of other cities and major towns and hundreds, if not thousands, of smaller towns and villages.
That is where the crush is, as anyone who has travelled on rush-hour trains (which obviously doesn't include politicians or the business leaders pushing for HS2) knows. Where is the analysis of what is wrong with our rail system and what can be done to put it right? There isn't one.
The Government has picked up a lunatic Adonis idea and run with it because it is a grand project and will put huge sums into the pockets of the construction industry.
The problem for people who live in rural areas isn't particularly that their beautiful countryside will be despoiled but that they will get absolutely no benefit from high speed rail. But they will still have to pay for it through their taxes.