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Rail Package 2 is Atkins junk

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Birmingham Chamber’s April 2011 Chamberlink has an article by Alan Marshall, the editor of Railnews, titled “HS2 – why the alternative does not stack up”.

Opponents of HS2 often maintain there is a better alternative — uprating the existing railway infrastructure. They base their claims on ‘Rail Package 2’ (RP2), one of five incremental alternatives produced by transport consultants WS Atkins for the Department for Transport to compare against HS2.

Well, uprating the existing railway infrastructure is certainly a better alternative. But Rail Package 2, or whatever it’s now called, is not “the” alternative. It is junk produced by W S Atkins, who have been pushing for HS2 style high speed rail for years. For example, in 2002, Julie Mills, now of high speed rail lobbyists Greengauge 21, “led the major Atkins study into the feasibility of a north-south high speed railway line“. Atkins’ “work” on Rail Packages 1 to 5, presented as alternatives to HS2, has been conducted with the aim of bolstering the case for Adonis/Steer high speed rail. So it’s no surprise that Rail Package 2 is a crock: that’s what the Department for Transport wanted Atkins to deliver. The DfT wanted “evidence” that HS2 should be built.

Rail Package 2 is based around Birmingham to London intercity trains continuing to use the West Coast Main Line, and Birmingham New Street. But there is no sense in such an arrangement. The Birmingham to London intercity service should be transferred to the Chiltern Main Line, using Snow Hill and Paddington stations as the origin and destination points. This would rebalance WCML traffic north and south of Rugby, and facilitate a workable and incremental upgrade strategy that negates the need for HS2. Routeing trains through Snow Hill could also provide all Black Country boroughs with direct fast rail services to London.

Using available funds to improve and extend services on the West Coast, East Coast, Chiltern, and Midland Main Lines maximises the use of existing resources, and improves resilience. By contrast, the HS2 project seeks to channel all fast rail traffic for the Midlands and North of England along a solitary pair of tracks running into Euston station.

3 Responses

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  1. […] (AGHAST), the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), and the Taxpayers Alliance, which have tended to support Rail Package 2 (‘RP2′) or derivatives of it […]

  2. […] the HS2 Action Alliance (HS2AA), and the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which have tended to support Rail Package 2 (‘RP2′) or derivatives of it […]

  3. […] though Rail Package 2 is junk, it actually outperforms HS2 stage one capacity-wise, in (and north of) the West Midlands. This […]

    Going up to eleven « beleben

    September 14, 2011 at 11:58 am


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