die belebende Bedenkung

Y not be realistic

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HS2 to East Midlands connection, proposed by Greengauge 21

Pro high speed rail lobbyists Greengauge 21 have published their Consultation Supplementary Response to the HS2 proposals, which concludes that

In Greengauge 21’s view, the HS2 scheme has not yet been optimised, and as a consequence, the scheme’s benefits are underestimated and the project costs could be reduced.

We have identified some refinements to the HS2 scheme and one small but critical addition that we believe would increase its value significantly – and potentially reduce its cost and local impact.

The key points we believe should be considered by the Secretary of State are:

in terms of infrastructure –

1. The addition of a short connection to permit the operation of services from HS2 onwards to the Midland Main Line as well as to the West Coast Main Line.

2. An extension of Crossrail to join the West Coast Main Line, rather than an extension of Crossrail to Old Oak Common. A station on Crossrail at Old Oak can be provided to serve the regeneration area.

3. Old Oak Common interchange assessed as an option rather than part of the central case for HS2.

4. The adoption of a lower cost and higher capacity connection to HS1 using the slow lines of the West Coast Main Line that will be freed up by the change at (2).

5. Development of the designs of the two Birmingham stations, and modification of Stratford International platforms, such that part-domestic/part-international trains can be securely managed.

in terms of service planning assumptions –

1. The addition of an hourly Edinburgh service via HS2.

2. The addition of HS2 services from Euston to Derby/Sheffield (two trains/hour) with one extended to Leeds and the other to York/Newcastle.

3. The addition of services from the Midlands and the North to Stratford and Europe, operating as securely combined regular hourly (or twice hourly) interval international/domestic trains.

4. The speed up of all HS2 services from the removal of the stops at Old Oak Common.

5. The transfer of Birmingham Interchange stops to selected through journeys further north, saving further on London – Birmingham journey times and on rolling stock requirements. Taken together with the change at (4), this would allow London – Birmingham city centre – city centre times of just 40 minutes, and this in turn permits better rolling stock utilisation.

6. The refinement of stopping patterns over the northern section of the West Coast Main Line to increase revenue potential.

Diverting some West Coast Main Line outer suburban services into Crossrail isn’t a new idea, but it’s certainly worth considering on its own merits. However, it doesn’t provide much help for HS2’s intrinsic shortcomings, because with or without a WCML-to-Crossrail link, HS2 (i) funnels all express rail traffic from the Midlands and North down one track, and (ii) requires Euston station to be completely rebuilt.

Item (i) creates reliability, maintenance, and resilience issues, and item (ii) creates years of disruption, passenger dispersal puzzles, and (probably) some very bad architecture. Under the Greengauge 21 plan, item (i) would happen earlier, with a Y-network effectively in the phase one scheme (using classic compatible trains to reach the East Midlands and beyond). This would involve building a connection from the HS2 trunk to the Lichfield to Derby line near Alrewas, electrification of the line from Lichfield HS2 junction to Derby, and electrification of the Midland Main Line itself from Bedford northwards.

In the Atkins rail interventions, Midland Main Line electrification is treated as part of an ‘alternative’ to HS2. In other words, the cost of upgrading the Midland Main Line, with electrification and so forth, is a cost avoided by building HS2. Greengauge 21 has claimed that HS2 is ‘better value than rail upgrades’, but inspection of its proposals reveals that they depend on such upgrades taking place.

According to Greengauge 21, the HS2-to-Derby connection involves an additional £100 million expenditure. The much larger Midland Main Line upgrade costs are not included. As previously mentioned, in the HS2 analysis, the rationale is that new build high speed avoids the need for such upgrades. Intercity services on the MML are pivotal to the case for its electrification beyond Bedford, so Greengauge 21’s proposal isn’t very helpful to it.

In any event, £100 million is not an accurate estimate of the cost of Greengauge 21’s ‘Derby stage one Y’ concept. Building the junction to the Derby line, electrifying the track from there to Derby, and building additional classic compatible trains to run to Derby and beyond, is not going to come in at £100 million.


Written by beleben

August 15, 2011 at 5:33 pm

2 Responses

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  1. I reckon some of my suggestions in earlier posts have been spotted – and a different spin applied, to the opportunities at Willesden-North Pole (the Scrubs). How many trains per hour do they reckon to shove down the hole? Then just imagine what happened when one gets stuck (Thameslink has regular demonstrations of this and often these have spectacular fall-out rippling out across South London. You’ll perhaps get 4 trains bunged out from Blackfriars, before it starts to leak out beyond Elephant.

    The idea of using the Midland route has its weaknesses especially the limiting factors that drop on it if going via Derby, and taking the Dronfield route through to Sheffield, far better to gain the GC route Before or after Leicester – and taking it through from Ashenden should put 4 substantial towns back on the rail network for local services, which will fit between the fast trains, and making a second main route available to Leicester, Nottingham and Sheffield. Today’s shut-down on HS1 (or should we say this month’s extended incident) highlights the major flaws with the further building of disconnected rail routes going to a single terminus. Hence the proposal to deliver 2 x 4 track main lines which can run to either PAD or EUS.


    August 15, 2011 at 7:43 pm

  2. […] hobby horse of lobbying company Greengauge 21. That has numerous shortcomings, and in the Y network scenario, would be essentially obsolete after six or seven […]

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