beleben

die belebende Bedenkung

HS1 performance, part two

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The press summary of the newly released National Audit Office examination of the HS1 line stated that

  • the line has performed well since it opened, with only 0.43 per cent of services being delayed in 2010/2011 by infrastructure incidents, such as track or signal failures
  • the 1998 business case was based on benefits to transport users (journey times and increased capacity), and regeneration benefits – but their value is not known. The Department for Transport (DfT) has not reassessed costs and benefits since 2001, despite assurances to the Public Accounts Committee that it would do so
  • in restructuring London and Continental Railways before the sale of HS1, the Department “removed open-ended taxpayer support” and made the line an attractive opportunity for investors. The DfT handled the sale of HS1 “well” and, at £2,048 million, the winning bid was “higher than expected”. (During the sale, DfT decided to guarantee the payment of track access charges to HS1 Limited based on the current level of high speed domestic services running on the line for the entirety of the 30-year concession. LCR and its advisers estimated this guarantee could add up to £500 million to the sale price.)
  • their estimate of the present value of total government support for the project was £10,200 million (in 2010 prices).

The 0.43 per cent rate of service delay on HS1 is a plus factor, but it’s worth bearing in mind that HS1 equipment is relatively new, and the line is ‘under-stressed’. Because passenger and freight demand is lower than anticipated, fewer trains run, which makes timekeeping and maintenance easier.

Eurostar passenger numbers between 2007 and 2011 were, on average, one third of the level forecast by LCR in 1995. Despite using the same inflated value-of-business-time model as the HS2 evaluation, the transport benefits of HS1 were assessed by the NAO as being quite low. Only 55 per cent of path capacity was used at peak time in 2010.

Regeneration benefits of the routeing through East London must be limited by Eurostar’s unwillingness to stop trains at Ebbsfleet or Stratford. In February 2012 a report for Canterbury City Council found that the town is yet to see a boost in visitor numbers from Southeastern High Speed. However, the scope of the NAO report did not cover the wider issues such as whether other rail investment in the South East might have provided larger economic benefits.

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Written by beleben

March 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS1, Planning, Politics

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. […] on from the NAO report, the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has now published its 4th Report of Session […]


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