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Four thousand seats ‘gone missing’

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In the 5 pm to 6 pm evening peak, HS2 would provide 15,700 seats from Euston, on completion of the Y network in 2033 — according to the July 2017 Strategic Case.

DfT, HS2 strategic case for HS2, July 2017, Figure 3

But the October 2013 Strategic Case gave the Y network full capability as 19,800 seats.

DfT, HS2 strategic case for HS2, October 2013, Figure 9

So, around 4,000 seats, or one-fifth of HS2’s entire capacity, seems to have ‘gone missing’.

Also notable is the ‘downlift’ in Phase One capacity, from an ‘initial’ 8,300 seats, to 6,900.

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Written by beleben

February 8, 2018 at 3:36 pm

Posted in HS2

This year’s (broken) model

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In yesterday’s “update” to Parliament on the East Coast, West Coast and East Midlands rail franchises, transport secretary Chris Grayling claimed that “other countries are now adopting Britain’s model for running the railways”.

But what is the “model”?

Do his recent statements not signal that “the model” is being changed (again)?

Chris Grayling, update on the East Coast, West Coast, and East Midlands rail franchises, 5 Feb 2018

In 2012 the ‘Brown review‘ noted that “confidence in franchising and the rail sector have been severely damaged by the problems that came to light on the ICWC competition” but claimed, “There is no credible case for major structural change”.

A year earlier, the Commons Public Accounts Committee concluded that the Department for Transport “did not undertake sufficient due diligence on the bid by National Express for the East Coast franchise. Crucially, the Department did not test any of the bids against the impact of an economic downturn.”

[PAC, 2011]

In future the Department must make clear to [train] companies that failure to deliver on their obligations will have serious lasting consequences.

Propellerheads ft Shirley Bassey, 'History Repeating'

Written by beleben

February 6, 2018 at 11:18 am

HS2 opening date is ‘an error’

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The opening date for HS2 phase one assumed in HS2 Ltd’s 2017 PFM v7.1 assumptions report is “an error”, which “will be corrected in due course”, the Department for Transport has confirmed.

DfT confirms HS2 stage 1 opening date in PFM v7.1 report was an error

So, when the government says ‘HS2 will open in 2026’, that now means ‘it is assumed HS2 will open on the last day of 2026’, apparently.

Sylvester I and Constantine

Written by beleben

February 5, 2018 at 10:55 am

Posted in HS2

The aggression starts here

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The planned HS2 station at Birmingham Curzon street is supposed to ‘regenerate’ the area around it.

HS2 Curzon site

But the area around the site is already largely rebuilt, as a result of plans which pre-date the HS2 project. In fact, some of the new buildings are in the way of the HS2 line, and are now scheduled for demolition.

HS2 Curzon site

Parts of the station site have been fenced off for preparatory works.

HS2 Curzon site

From the public highway, sawn-up felled trees can be seen inside the main compound.

HS2 Curzon site

Or at least, until the nasty and aggressive LM security man comes out, and starts laying the ‘law’ down.

HS2 Curzon site

Written by beleben

February 2, 2018 at 9:07 pm

Posted in Birmingham, HS2

What Patrick understands

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Official portrait of Patrick McLoughlin by Chris McAndrew (CC-BY-SA 3.0)On 30 January the High Speed Rail Phase 2a (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill was debated in the House of Commons, and given a second reading by 295 to 12 (meaning that most MPs did not vote).

This kind of debate tends to expose the limitations of MPs’ understanding of what they are talking about, and the Phase 2a Bill debate was no exception.

For some reason, former transport secretary Patrick ‘Spud’McLoughlin was dusted down and wound up to support the government’s case. He declared, “We have spent a fortune on upgrading the west coast main line from Birmingham up to Manchester, although I understand that we did not carry out any upgrade south of Rugby.”

[PMcL:] The upgrade was essential, and if the then Government had been a bit more forward thinking, they could have built a new high-speed line then rather than doing an upgrade.

The West Coast rail modernisation was renewals based (DfT)

The West Coast “upgrade” was a modernisation, focused on renewals (after years of increasing maintenance backlog), rather than enhancements. Most of the work was unavoidable. There was an upgrade aspect, but if renewals had been done like-for-like, rather than on a better-than-before basis, ~75% of the cost (and disruption) would have been incurred anyway.

The ‘higher speed’ junction constructed near Train Robber’s Bridge at Ledburn is just one of the ‘upgrades south of Rugby’ which PMcL “understands” didn’t happen.

Like the current transport secretary, he seems to have difficulties with facts.

[PMsL:] I think that HS1 was operating before Labour came into government.

BBC News, HS1 opening story, 14 Nov 2006

Written by beleben

February 1, 2018 at 12:05 pm

Senior moments with Chris

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Transport secretary Chris Grayling has ‘talked to senior people in the rail industry’ who believe that ‘there will only be one generation of diesel engines on the bi-modes, and the second generation will be hydrogen engines’.

Visualisation of '2nd generation' hydrail bimode 5-car IEP train (unofficial, Beleben)

[Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, at the House of Commons transport select committee, ‘Cancelled electrification’, 22 Jan 2018]

[CG:] We are now looking to get the first hydrogen trains on our network within a very short space of time, and the Germans are doing the same. The technology is really moving apace. Battery trains are becoming a real possibility. We have to focus on outputs rather than on the means of locomotion.

Chris Grayling at the transport select committee, 22 Jan 2018

There is a “perfectly good and strong business case for electrification to Corby”, Mr Grayling informed the committee.

[CG:] The high value piece of the [Midland Main Line] modernisation programme and the electrification is the piece south of Corby.

That seems not to be the case, if the Beleben blog has understood the figures correctly.

The numbers say the entire MML upgrade, and all electrification north of Bedford, is materially impacted by HS2, so to speak, and the residual Bedford to Corby electrification has an apparent benefit-cost ratio of 0.99 (i.e., not “high value”).

Bedford to Corby could have been part of an unwritten policy to ‘support’ Carillion. Unfortunately, the questioning of Mr Grayling at the transport committee was of variable quality, which might be caused by a lack of technical support, or something else. Mr Grayling was also not asked

  • why the September 2016 Midland Main Line electrification economic ‘update’ had been kept under wraps for months on end
  • what planning had been commissioned by government on the feasibility of the hydrail traction which (he says) is coming ‘in a very short space of time’.

Midland upgrade following Hendy review, 'key outputs 1 and 2' (2016)

Written by beleben

January 31, 2018 at 11:08 am

Posted in Politics, Railways

Council could nott borrow for Toton extension

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'No rate of return' for NET tramway to TotonNottingham city council ‘will not pay out’ for a NET tram extension to the proposed ‘East Midlands’ HS2 train station. Its deputy leader, Graham Chapman, said any costs for a tramway to Toton HS2 would have to come out of the Government’s pocket (the Nottingham Post reported).

Councillor Chapman opined, “We don’t have the money for it. We could not borrow to extend the line because there is no rate of return.”

Written by beleben

January 30, 2018 at 11:12 am