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The answer’s high speed rail. Now what was the question?

with 2 comments

Using the headline “HS2 rail alternatives no solution, MPs say” BBC News today reported that

Alternatives to the High Speed Two (HS2) rail link would not solve the capacity problems on Britain’s railways, MPs say.

A report by the Parliamentary Inquiry into Britain’s rail capacity says only the high-speed rail network can create the extra capacity needed.

The MPs found that alternatives, such as incremental upgrades to the existing network, would not be sufficient.
[…]
The report is the culmination of a four-month inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group for High Speed Rail [APPGHSR], with representatives from all three of the main political parties.

To be clear, the ‘inquiry’ was conducted by a group of MPs formed expressly to support creation of a ‘national high speed rail network’, in July 2011. According to David Begg’s Biz4HS2 news release, the APPGHSR is “a powerful new voice in favour of building a new high speed rail line”.

Biz4HS2 news release on APPGHSR launch

So the APPGHSR inquiry was the equivalent of the Flat Earth Society inviting people to give evidence on the shape of the planet. The outcome was never going to be in doubt.

APPGHSR contact Lucy James works for David Begg's Campaign for High Speed Rail

Rationality is lost on MPs Graham Stringer and Stuart Andrew, two of the usual suspects that do the talking for APPGHSR. Under the government’s plan, new-build high speed rail would only serve four British cities directly, so it would be impossible for HS2 to address general capacity shortages.

Paul Bigland's considered thoughts on APPGHSR inquiryIn stage one, HS2 would exacerbate path shortages on the West Coast Main Line. HS2 is irrelevant to crowding on present day Paddington services, Waterloo services, the Great Eastern, or commuter traffic into Leeds, etc. Furthermore, with a length of just 200 metres, most of the trains operating on it would have no more (or fewer) seats, than their 2012 equivalents.

One of the organisations that gave ‘evidence’ to the APPG was freight company DB Schenker. Its evidence was really a request that HS2 be used to enable Continental gauge railfreight to reach Manchester and Leeds. But there is no provision for HS2 to carry such cargo, and like HS1, it is not engineered for efficient freight operation. HS2 does not have the path capacity to allow Continental railfreight, or any railfreight. Or Continental passenger services (even if there were a market for them).

Written by beleben

May 23, 2012 at 11:55 am

2 Responses

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  1. […] DB Schenker‘s written evidence to the All Party Parliamentary Group for High Speed Rail, UK Head of Communications Graham Meiklejohn wrote In the long term we urge the Government to […]

  2. […] In the decision-making process of the HSL-South, path dependency plaved an important role. […]


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