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What is the best way to increase rail capacity?

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According to the London Assembly Transport Committee (2007), the ‘best way to unlock potential rail capacity’ is through better use of the existing network, rather than the construction of new lines and stations.

It is ‘more efficient in terms of time and money’.

Extract from London Assembly Transport Committee findings (2007)

Extract from London Assembly Transport Committee findings (2007)

Written by beleben

April 17, 2014 at 10:00 am

West Coast railfreight and HS2, part two

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Part one

If HS2 released capacity ‘delivered‘ 20 additional freight paths on the West Coast Main Line, the effect on total heavy goods road mileage would be minuscule.

'Rail Freight Forecasts To 2030', MDS Transmodal

And it seems that HS2 would be of little help in accommodating the level of year 2030 railfreight forecast by MDS Transmodal.

Any HS2 freight ‘released capacity’ would happen on the West Coast Main Line, but not on other trackage (e.g. the North London Line) currently used by goods trains to access the WCML.

Written by beleben

April 16, 2014 at 10:12 am

Get wet for surplus staff

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West Midlands transport body Centro is “partly dismantling nearly 300 bus shelters” so that adverts inside the covered stops can be seen by passing motorists, the Birmingham Mail reported (April 13, 2014). But Centro’s cut of anticipated increased advertising revenue has not been revealed.

['Bus shelter ads leave travellers out in the cold', Bob Haywood, Apr 13, 2014]

Bus passengers in the Midlands are being exposed to the wind and rain by public transport chiefs hoping to boost funds through advertising.

Centro is partly dismantling nearly 300 bus shelters by removing a glass panel so that adverts inside the covered stops can be seen by passing motorists.

Passengers and public transport campaigners are infuriated at the cash-raising move.

But Centro says it must increase its revenue without hitting frontline services.

The shelter farce came as the body announced that one quarter of its staff are to be axed to meet a £7 million budget cut target.
[...]
Initially Centro had suggested scrapping half-price fares for children and ending the ring-and- ride service.

But after a public outcry, the travel giant turned to its operational and staff costs.

Although its headcount is now programmed to fall from 364 to 275, there are still large numbers of supernumerary staff at Centro, especially at management level. In 1987, when public transport use was nearly 100% higher than it is now, Centro had just 150 staff. It would appear that all the advertising income from opening up bus shelters is going to be used to keep surplus senior staff in post.

Written by beleben

April 15, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Posted in Centro

If standing is a problem

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Manchester council leader Sir Richard Leese is apparently concerned that 14% of morning peak passengers coming into Manchester by rail have to stand.

[Sir Richard Leese, on the "Future of Travel" website]

A failure to invest in HS2 will lead to further congestion and see transport investment continue to be focused owards London on projects like Crossrail or the planned extensions to the Underground

However, the HS2 railway could not have much of an effect on the number of passengers having to stand into Manchester, because it would not release capacity on most routes into the city (such as the Bolton line featured in a July 2012 report by the Manchester Evening News).

It is also worth bearing in mind that several former heavy rail lines into Manchester have been (or are being) converted to Metrolink tram operation. On Metrolink, relatively few seats are provided, and more than two thirds of peak carrying capacity is accounted for by standees.

Written by beleben

April 15, 2014 at 12:22 pm

Ballparking the economic value of HS2 journeys

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Implicit in KPMG’s advocacy for high speed rail is the idea that HS2 would reduce the ‘cost’ of a journey (i.e., it is less ‘costly’ to do a 98-minute roundtrip from Birmingham to London than it is to do a 164-minute one). According to KPMG, the HS2 Y network would provide positive economic impacts worth ‘up to £15 billion’ annually.

So if

EH is the total annual economic value of journeys with_HS2,

NH is the number of roundtrip journeys with_HS2,

NW is the number of roundtrip journeys without_HS2,

then VH, the value of an individual journey with_HS2, is £125, when NH is 120 million and

VH = EH / NH.

However, one could argue that the quantum of currently_non_viable_journeys is related to quantum of generated_journeys, and that the value of an individual journey with_HS2 should be calculated as

VH = EH / ( NH – NW).

Written by beleben

April 14, 2014 at 10:55 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Botches can be expensive

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'No petitioning please'Those affected by the proposed new high speed rail link between London and the West Midlands (HS2) will not be able to petition parliament about whether or not a link with the existing HS1 route to the Channel Tunnel (i.e. the spur from Old Oak Common to the Channel Tunnel Rail Link) should be scrapped, Out-Law reported (11 April 2014).

Lord Berkeley would be writing to MPs and ministers urging them to amend this Instruction from the Commons to the Select Committee to allow petitions and discussion on alternatives to the now cancelled HS1 link.

[‘Passengers from HS2 to the Continent are set to trudge along Euston Road for the next 50 years’, Tony Berkeley]

[...] There are many options for the route of a HS1-2 link, including directly to Stratford with or without central London station(s), the Euston Cross proposal promoted by Lords Bradshaw and Berkeley which could provide such a link if the HS2 tunnels to Euston are moved to join the west Coast Main Line in the Queens Park area, but for good passenger interchange, a link to HS1 serving OOC is highly desirable.

Lord Berkeley commented ‘there clearly needs to be some rethinking of the route and purpose of the HS1-2 link, and the extent to which it should take regional trains (eg an East-West Thameslink-type service, and high gauge freight) but without even petitions and a debate in Select committee about passive provision for such a link at or near OOC, it looks as if HS2 passengers wanting to go to Paris will still be trudging along Euston road to St Pancras for the next 50 years’

The botched design of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link means that it is not possible to accommodate more trains at St Pancras without major expenditure (platform space was reallocated to retail development during the construction of HS1). It also appears that it is not practically possible to connect other tracks into HS1 west of Stratford (and the station box is too small). Needless to say, the design faults in HS2 are of an entirely different scale.

Written by beleben

April 14, 2014 at 9:42 am

Posted in Centro, High speed rail, HS1

London’s importance for railfreight

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Representation of railfreight flows from Southampton, the Thames ports and Felixstowe in the DfT Strategic Case for HS2 (Oct 2013)

Representation of railfreight flows from Southampton, the Thames ports and Felixstowe in the DfT ‘Strategic Case for HS2′ (Oct 2013)

A better representation of railfreight flows from the Thames ports and Felixstowe

A better representation of traffic; most Essex / Suffolk railfreight is currently routed into and out of London

Section 2.4 of October 2013′s Strategic Case for HS2 was concerned with railfreight. It noted that

  • forecasts in Network Rail’s Freight Market Study consultation document showed a possible doubling in GB railfreight tonne-km by 2043
  • main cargo flows are from south to north
  • strong port rail traffic growth was expected to continue.

Figure 2.8 of the Strategic Case showed the relative size of freight train traffic to / from Southampton, the Thames ports, and Felixstowe. However, the diagram did not show that nearly all railborne Essex / Suffolk port goods currently have to be routed via London.

London Reconnections’ exploration of London railfreight noted that Network Rail had brushed aside concerns about the lack of capacity on the West Coast Main Line, because construction of HS2 could ‘be expected to alleviate this issue’.

However, there was no explanation in the Strategic Case as to how significant goods traffic growth could be enabled by HS2. Current Department for Transport planning appears to be based on moving most West Coast intercity passenger services onto HS2, and reusing nearly all the for enhanced commuter services (not goods trains).

Written by beleben

April 12, 2014 at 8:38 am

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