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Use ‘standard intercity rolling stock’ on HS2, says mayor Sadiq

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London mayor Sadiq Khan’s big idea for ‘reducing the costs of HS2’ – presented to the Oakervee ‘independent’ review – was to run lower speed ‘standard inter-city rolling stock’ on it (the Beleben blog can exclusively reveal).

Letter from Sadiq Khan to the 'independent Oakervee review of HS2'  03 Oct 2019, extract

“Run standard inter-city rolling stock”.

Um, anybody home?

In that case, why not just run the ‘standard inter-city rolling stock’ on a reactivated Great Central Main Line?

That would cost a tiny fraction of the cost of HS2, and support the provision of intermediate stations for people living along the route, such as at Calvert, Woodford, and Brackley.

Written by beleben

November 21, 2019 at 3:05 pm

Posted in Bizarre, HS2, London

Throughly madly deeply

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A proposal by Cross City Connect Limited for a private-sector reworking of the London end of the HS2 rail scheme was submitted to the Oakervee ‘independent review’ of the project, New Civil Engineer reported on 21 November.

Cross City Connect (TM) describes itself as “a special purpose vehicle (SPV) established to promote the planning, design, construction and operation of an alternative link into London for the planned HS2 project”.

It claims its idea of replacing the Old Oak to Euston section with twin 8-metre through tunnels across London linking to HS1, could work out cheaper for government than ‘HS2-to-Euston’, because of the ‘real estate opportunities’.

Cross City Connect would also allow a one-seat ride from Birmingham and Manchester to Paris (etc, zzz).

[‘CROSS CITY CONNECT (CCC)’, ’17 Nov 2016′ (page includes the video ‘An introduction to Cross City Connect’, dated Nov 2019], Buro Happold]

The founding parties are:

Mark Bostock, independent consultant and Chair of the SPV;
OTB Engineering Limited, civil and geotechnical engineering consultants
Salamanca Group LLP, a privately-held merchant banking business
Buro Happold Limited, an international, integrated engineering consultancy

The SPV is advised by the international law firm CMS.

Cross City Connect, proposed tunnel under London linking HS1 and |HS2

[Can Buro Happold cross city plan save HS2?, Tim Clark, NCE, 21 Nov, 2019]

The plan involves a vast tunnel beneath London from Old Oak Common in the West to Rainham in the East. Called Cross City Connect (CCC), the new 30km long, twin bore tunnel plan would also include new stations on the Southbank and potentially at Canary Wharf.

Cross City Connect Ltd, route interfaces

This scheme seems to exchange one set of intractable problems for another. Such as: when the “14” or “18” hourly HS2 trains arrive at Ebbsfleet after passing through the tunnel, what happens then?

Whether CCC could be implemented for ‘£10 billion’ must be open to serious doubt, especially when the size of the underground platforms needed at ‘South Bank Central’ and possibly two other locations is factored in.

Written by beleben

November 21, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Posted in Bizarre, HS2

Quirkiness and charm

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West Midlands metro mayor and Oakervee HS2 ‘reviewer’ Andy Street says supporters of the planned HS2 high speed rail line are ‘losing the argument’, Birmingham Live reported.

[West Midlands Mayor Andy Street says HS2 needs a new name and trains from Birmingham to Paris, Jonathan Walker | Political Editor | Birmingham Live | 00:01, 20 NOV 2019 – apparently based on an article by Mr Street in The Times, 20 Nov 2019]

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has warned that supporters of the HS2 high speed rail line “are losing the battle for hearts and minds” – and called for trains to run directly from Birmingham to Paris.
Mr Street also criticised designs for the two planned HS2 stations at Curzon Street, central Birmingham, and near Birmingham Airport. He said they have “all the quirkiness and charm of Stansted airport’s baggage drop-off area,” and called for “some architectural and regeneration magic” instead.

And he said the HS2 name was putting people off […]

“The name completely misses the point about the benefits for everyday local commuters”.

“Benefits for everyday local commuters” (?)

SLC Rail, Coventry - Birmingham timetable structure in 2013

High Speed Two would release virtually no capacity between Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, and Coventry.

If HS2 were built, the legacy two-track line via Stechford and Hampton in Arden would still need to accommodate fast and stopping passenger services, as well as freight.

Because they link central Birmingham, Elmdon airport, and central Coventry, the existing ‘fast trains’ to London are actually part of the ‘local service’. Removing such trains from the classic line would not be a desirable objective.

Centro, Coventry line HS2 connectivity, 2014

Written by beleben

November 20, 2019 at 11:31 am

Posted in HS2

Mythter know-it-all

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HS2 offers ‘the same capacity as a ten-lane motorway in normal use’ and could deliver ‘more efficient use of three of the UK’s main railway lines’, Jim Steer’s High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group claimed on 11 November, in a tweet promoting an ‘independent review of the carbon case for HS2′.

twitter, @RailLeaders, '#HS2 will have the same capacity as a ten-lane motorway in normal use and will also deliver more efficient use of three of the UK’s main railway lines. Read more in our latest report written by @safemyth: #GoHS2GoGreen #HS2AllTheWay'

[HSRILG, 11 Nov 2019]

HS2 will have the same capacity as a ten-lane motorway in normal use and will also deliver more efficient use of three of the UK’s main railway lines. Read more in our latest report written by @safemyth […]

“Read more in our latest report.”

So this supposedly ‘independent’ HS2 carbon review (‘HS2 – towards a zero carbon future’) by Raiph (a.k.a. Ralph) Smyth, is actually a report written for the High Speed Rail leaders lobbying group.

twitter, @njak_100, 'Excellent sustainability report on #HS2 out today. This table highlights DfT's conservative modal shift targets vs OECD figure for *actual* modal shift achieved by completed European HSR schemes. Full report at' (11 Nov 2019)

As such, the misleading and inaccurate statements packing out Mr Smyth’s report should come as no surprise. Consider, for example, his ‘Figure 9’, the ‘Comparison of high-speed rail modal shift’, which is intended to ‘suggest’ that HS2’s forecasts of transfers from car and aviation are way too low.

The fact is, the vast majority of HS2 travel would be conducted within a radius of ~300 km of London, and for journeys within this zone, aviation’s share of journeys is already effectively nil. So with HS2, there is no possibility of anything like an overall 30% shift from air to high speed rail. Obviously, HS2 is mainly about (i) shift from classic rail, and (ii) new journeys.

No evidence is offered by Mr Smyth for the claim that HS2 would provide ‘the same capacity as a ten-lane motorway in normal use’ or ‘deliver more efficient use of three of the UK’s main railway lines’. He has not explained what the terms “in normal use” and “more efficient use” are supposed to mean. The Department for Transport has confirmed that the modelled post-HS2 use of the West Coast Main Line South involves fewer (not more) trains operating. This is an inevitable consequence of the HS2 idea of turning the WCML fast lines into a mixed-traffic railway.

DfT confirmation of fewer (not more) trains on WCML South in the modelled HS2 scenarios

Mr Smyth’s report presents HS2 as ‘essential for meeting a legally binding target of net zero carbon emissions’ by 2050. Needless to say, it would not be possible for HS2 to be carbon neutral by 2050, and it is not clear why ‘zero carbon electricity’ would be available to HS2 but not to alternative modes, such as other railways, road coaches, and private automobiles.

Even if the embedded carbon from constructing HS2 were considered as zero, the scheme would still not make any sense from an environmental standpoint, because the cost per-avoided-tonne of carbon would be gargantuan.


Written by beleben

November 12, 2019 at 12:32 pm

No opportunity to influence

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twitter, @tonyberkeley1, 2 Nov 2019, 'My role as dep chair of the Oakervee Report on HS2 finished yesterday.   Report not finished and no opportunity to influence conclusions.  We are told that, when completed by Doug O and the DfT secretariat, it will be locked into the DfT vaults for the new S of S to publish.'

Written by beleben

November 2, 2019 at 2:22 pm

How is HS2 a ‘pro climate project’?

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HS2 is ‘the most pro climate project this country currently has’ according to the former chief of the Strategic Rail Authority, Richard Bowker. He suggested that opponents of the scheme consult Greengauge 21’s article ‘HSR and Carbon Emissions‘ (28 September, 2010).

twitter, @SRichardBowker, 'I did not say HS2 Ltd had explained their proposition correctly. Their PR has been woeful for years as regularly highlighted by @rail  and others. They should have explained one of the biggest benefits is freeing up capacity on the current rail network to facilitate modal shift.'

Mr Bowker appears to be unaware that (a) HS2 is expected to increase rather than reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and (b) in many cases, ‘information’ provided by Greengauge 21 turns out to lack accuracy and credibility. For example, according to the Greengauge article referenced by Mr Bowker, the carbon emissions from the construction of a HS2 line between London and West Midlands would be in the region of 1.2 million tonnes.

According to Greengauge 21 (28 Sep 2010), the carbon emissions from the construction of a HS2 line between London and West Midlands would be in the region of 1.2 million tonnes

[GG21, HSR and Carbon Emissions (28 September, 2010)]

There will also be carbon emissions from the construction of any HSR line, estimated at around 1.2 million tonnes of carbon for a London – West Midlands route.

But according to HS2 Ltd, the construction carbon footprint (CO2e) is estimated to range between 5.755 million and 6.125 million tonnes.

HS2 Ltd estimate of phase one carbon construction footprint (23 Feb 2017)

[HS2, HIGH SPEED TWO PHASE ONE INFORMATION PAPER E10: CARBON (Version 1.7, Last updated 23rd February 2017)]

[6.3] Nevertheless, the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the construction of the Proposed Scheme are significant, as might be expected from a national level infrastructure scheme. The construction carbon footprint is estimated to range between 5,755,000 tCO2e and 6,125,000 tCO2e[…]

Written by beleben

October 17, 2019 at 11:51 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

The difficultee with Oakervee orthographee

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By the end of the week “we are due to find out the results of the independent Overkee [sic] Review into HS2”, according to a ludicrous article by Mark Casci, of The Yorkshire Post.

'This is our last chance to dispel the myths of the HS2 naysayers - Mark Casci', Yorkshire Post,14 Oct 2019

But is that true? Has it been announced that the Oakervee review “results” are going to be made public this week?

twitter, @MarkCasci, 'This week's column - our last chance to blow the HS2 myths out of the water.'

twitter, @BRCWCo, 'I take it the misspelling of Oakavee was a typo? The rest was well put, not that the stopHS2 muppets will agree, not until it's finished and they can't miss the benefits that is.'

Written by beleben

October 15, 2019 at 10:07 am

Posted in HS2, Politics