die belebende Bedenkung

Tom’s personal delight

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HS2 connectivity fails in Birmingham, the West Midlands, London, and the East Midlands

Improving Euston Road will form a “key part” of making the connection between High Speed 2 (HS2) and HS1 a success, Camden Council’s director of regeneration and planning David Joyce has said.

[Call for Euston Road to be ‘sorted out’ for HS2 to HS1 connection, Katherine Smale, NCE, 13 November 2018]

A 10 minute, 750m walking route is currently the favoured option to connect the two stations [Euston and St Pancras]. However, the main route of the two proposed walking routes would be along the major six lane road running through north London.
Joyce said the council was not in favour of some of the other schemes which had been presented. These include an elevated automated people mover (APM or monorail solution) priced at around £226M to build or a direct rail link between the two which was taken out of the hybrid bill at an early stage.
“We also weren’t in favour of putting in things like a monorail through Somers Town.”

HS2 commercial director Tom Venner said he was “personally delighted” that the two stations were not physically connected as he said making people walk between the two would “enliven” the area.

Referring to £248M sub-surface APM which was also proposed, he said there would be a “missed opportunity” if people remained underground between the two stations.


Written by beleben

November 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Posted in HS1, HS2, London

What are the decongestion benefits of HS2?

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The official documentation for the proposed HS2 railway does not seem to make much mention of ‘decongestion’ as a benefit of the scheme. Where the word does occur, it tends to be in the context of the supposed road, rather than rail, decongestion effects.

However, some supporters of HS2 are claiming the scheme would ‘decongest the existing rail network’.

What is patently lacking, is any meaningful definition of ‘decongestion’, or evidence of how that would take place.

twitter, @WhatTrainToday,

Consider, for example, the idea that ‘HS2 is decongestive’ because ‘each express train on the existing West Coast line eats up 3 to 6 stopping paths’.

In fact, ‘express trains’ out of Euston run on their own separate tracks, and have done for decades. The idea that removing one of those express trains, would allow 3 to 6 stopping trains to run in its place, is laughable.


Written by beleben

November 6, 2018 at 1:12 pm

Posted in HS2, misinformation

Consigned to history

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A Virgin West Coast trainVirgin Trains has “consigned Friday afternoon peak restrictions from London Euston to history, enabling thousands of people to start the weekend earlier, for less”, the company announced on November 1.

The existence of the peak restrictions played a huge part in the so-called ‘capacity case for high speed rail’, so by abolishing the restrictions, one of the last remnants of the HS2 capacity case has also been consigned to history.

[Virgin Trains]

Restrictions will be removed permanently from 2 November 2018, following a 13 week trial that has also helped dramatically reduce congestion on key evening services.

During the trial, the popular 19:00 London Euston to Manchester service saw the average maximum number of passengers fall by 61%. Normally this would be the first service available for passengers with off-peak tickets. Similar benefits were seen on the West Midlands route where the average maximum number of passengers on the 19:03 London Euston to Birmingham New Street fell by 75%.

'Virgin Trains scraps Friday afternoon peak restrictions', 01 Nov 2018

In the complete absence of any better ‘story’, the government’s West Coast Demand and Capacity Pressures (DaCP) report had to focus on the remote possibility of future crowding in the evening, created and driven by peak restrictions. DaCP was a ‘supplement’ to HS2’s October 2013 Strategic Case, but did not appear until November 2015, which might indicate the difficulty in coming up with a case for spending tens of billions of pounds on something that is not needed.

DaCP doom-mongered what ‘might’ happen, if Euston’s intercity service in the year 2033 / 2034 was like the service in 2014 – i.e., with peak restrictions until 7pm, and with just 9 trains leaving between 7pm and 8pm. Plainly an absurd and artificial scenario, concocted just for HS2 propaganda purposes.

DfT, West Coast DaCP report, Nov 2015 extract, ICWC evening crowding

With a sensible ticketing policy, available paths taken up, and the right rolling stock, all forecast demand, and more, could be accommodated using the existing infrastructure, without building a single yard of HS2.

Written by beleben

November 1, 2018 at 8:13 pm

Rebrand and relief

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Much of HS2 phase 2b could support intra-northern journeys like Sheffield to York. Politicians could just rebrand it as Northern Powerhouse Rail and still get capacity relief at key hubs, which is the main priority, according to rail editor Nick Kingsley.

@twitter, njak_100, 'Much of #HS2 Phase 2b can support intra-northern journeys like Sheffield to York. Politicians could just rebrand it as Northern Powerhouse Rail and still get capacity relief at key hubs, which is main priority.'

But how could there be ‘capacity relief at key hubs’? In phase 2b of HS2, high speed trains from London would run into the existing stations at Sheffield and York.

HS2 phase two route map (2018)

For HS2 trains to run between the existing stations at Sheffield and York, they would have to use the existing two-track line through Meadowhall. Furthermore, to re-join the HS2 line, they would need a new junction, which is not included in the £55.7 billion HS2 budget.

The approach tracks to Sheffield Midland from the north

Written by beleben

October 30, 2018 at 12:18 pm

Posted in Politics, Railways

The ascent of man

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Following Eleni Courea’s Observer story about Northern MPs telling Labour leaders to change their mind on HS2, the shadow transport secretary Andy McDonald and the Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham both made statements repeating the party line (i.e., ‘We back HS2’, ‘We back Crossrail for the North / Northern powerhouse rail’, ‘It’s not a case of either or’).

twitter, @OliverCooper, 'Depressing to see Labour double down on HS2'

Labour politicians nowadays use the term ‘Crossrail for the North‘ instead of ‘Northern powerhouse rail’, because the term ‘Northern powerhouse’ is seen as being associated with George Osborne.

twitter, @MayorofGM, 'The North needs HS2 and NPR'

However, Mr Burnham’s words were “The North needs HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail“. His statement also served as an inadvertent reminder of how much transport thinking and expenditure in the North is dominated by the wants of Manchester airport, over the needs of everywhere else.

Even the city of Manchester itself is in thrall to ‘MAN’, as is plain to see from the design of the Ordsall chord, and the use of vast quantities of public cash to build a poorly designed tram line out to the airport.

Andy Burnham statement on HS2 and NPR, Oct 2018 width=

Written by beleben

October 29, 2018 at 5:00 pm

Gareth and the Beeston massive

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According to NCHSR lecturer Gareth Dennis, when Midlands Connect ‘do their work’ to allow a fast (up to 125mph [200 km/h]) shuttle between Derby, HS2 Toton, and Nottingham, the rail journey time between Birmingham and Nottingham will be 30 minutes, and places like Long Eaton and Beeston ‘will gain massively’ from ‘taking away fast services’.

twitter, @garethdennis, 'when Midlands Connect do their work to allow a fast (up to 125mph [200 km/h]) shuttle between Derby, Toton, and Nottingham, the rail journey time between Birmingham and Nottingham will be 30 minutes'

Eh? If Midlands Connect wanted a “125mph shuttle” between Toton and Nottingham, the chances are those shuttles would have have to go through Beeston station, etc, without stopping. So much for, er, ‘taking away fast services’ and ‘freeing up capacity’.

Location of the proposed HS2 station at Toton

Written by beleben

October 28, 2018 at 4:53 pm

Posted in HS2

It is becoming increasingly difficult to argue in favour of HS2

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Several senior Labour MPs have told the Observer that the huge sum of money earmarked for the HS2 railway would be better spent on other schemes, the newspaper reported.

'Northern-mp MPs tell Labour: Change your mind on HS2', Eleni Courea, 27 Oct 2018

[Northern MPs tell Labour: change your mind on HS2, Eleni Courea, The Observer, 27 Oct 2018][…]

Lisa Nandy, the Labour MP for Wigan, said: “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to argue in favour of HS2 in my constituency.”
Karl Turner, the shadow transport minister responsible for shipping, aviation and road safety, speaking in his capacity as MP for Hull East, said[…] “investing in existing rail networks in the region offers a better deal”.
Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead, said: “Twenty years ago, there was a train that travelled from Newcastle to London [along the east coast mainline] in 160 minutes. With HS2 we will be spending another £53bn 40 years later, and by going on that route people could gain just 20 minutes.” Mearns said that this showed HS2 was “little more than a vanity project”.
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said in 2014 that HS2 represented a “poor deal for most of the region’s taxpayers”.

Jo Platt, MP for Leigh, said that HS2 would run through her constituency “without offering any connectivity”, while Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West, said that Crossrail for the North would “make a huge difference, while being far less disruptive than HS2”.

Meanwhile Sir Kevin Barron, the MP for Rother Valley, who has supported the project thus far, said that he was being forced to rethink because of plans to build the eastern leg of HS2 along the M18 motorway.

It is the most senseless thing I’ve ever seen,” Barron said.

Terminating the HS2 scheme would not just benefit the north. The cancellation dividend would allow a wide range of infrastructure improvements across the country, such as electrification of the Great Western main line from Newbury to Plymouth, an RER-type system for Birmingham, and step-free access for a vastly increased number of stations nationwide.

The reality of rail in the 'Northern powerhouse': Kirkby station by Raymond Knapman

Some reviews of Transpennine rail from Tripadvisor, viewed Oct 2018

According to a September 2018 poll by ComRes, three in five British adults think that HS2 is poor value for money, and 85% think the money should be spent on improving the capacity of existing railways instead of building it.

Written by beleben

October 27, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics