die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 and classic capacity, part two

with 5 comments

In the Oct 2013 documents, the HS2 net increase in fast peak-hour paths to West Coast destinations from London over 2009 is just threeThe planned ‘PUG2’ 225 km/h upgrade of Britain’s West Coast Main Line railway, planned in the mid 1990s, was so badly mismanaged that it had to be abandoned. In its place came a much less ambitious project known as ‘West Coast Route Modernisation’, which was largely restricted to replacing worn-out assets (sadly, the de-scoped WCRM was also mismanaged). Despite the fact that its enhancement aspect was quite limited, proponents of HS2 often refer to WCRM as the “£10 billion upgrade”, as a supposed warning of the very high costs of “patch and mend”.

The fact is, all railways need renewals work from time to time, if they are to keep operating (HS2 would be no exception). The West Coast Route Modernisation was not really optional. The route had a very large maintenance backlog, with relatively little having been done on its southern trunk since the 1960s.

According to the Department for Transport, upgrading conventional rail lines ‘would not deliver‘ the same capacity improvements as the entirely new route proposed under HS2.

However, the real capacity uplifts offered by HS2 could be matched by investment based around the existing railways. How big are the real capacity uplifts from the Y network? As far as long distance travel is concerned, HS2 is **primarily concerned with ‘West Coast’ destinations**. In the October 2013 Economic Case modelled service pattern, there are 11 London — West Midlands and North West trains, but only 5 for destinations in the East Midlands, Yorkshire, and North East.

In Figure 10 of the Oct 2013 HS2 Strategic Case, the Department for Transport presented the WCRM as being an ‘upgrade’, in which a £10 billion investment provided four additional fast train paths to West Coast destinations. But as Figure 10 showed, the year 2033 net increase of fast train paths to West Coast destinations provided by the HS2 line over the year 2013 would be only three.

So, in the terms of the HS2 October 2013 Economic and Strategic Case docs

  • WCRM “upgrade”, £10 billion — net output: 4 additional long distance paths to West Coast destinations
  • HS2 Y network, £50 billion — net output: 3 additional long distance paths to West Coast destinations

The closer one looks at HS2, the less sense it makes.

Written by beleben

November 4, 2013 at 8:40 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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5 Responses

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  1. How does one now factor in that there are 2 paths on a line with potentially a pile of capacity, which are now offering London(MYB)-Birmingham to match London (EUS)-Birmingham with 100mph (not 125mph line speed). What cost for a 125mph GC/GW route? Perhaps base this on TV4?

    How also would de-congesting Euston, by eliminating the terminating trains from Watford Junction, Tring, and Milton Keynes, and extending the Tring services to Bedford via Bletchley. Those 16 tph could be increased to Thameslink levels, and run via Charing Cross to Windsor/Woking/Reading (for Bedford/MK using class 350/450 units) and local stopping services to inner routes (SW and SE) using 378’s and fitting in to LOROL operations.

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    November 4, 2013 at 10:11 am

    • I would favour putting some West Coast suburban services into Crossrail 1, from near Willesden. If the WCML were connected north west of Rugby into GC with tilting trains, I’d imagine 140mph would be possible on sections of the old London Extension.


      November 4, 2013 at 11:43 am

      • Crossrail 1 will have plenty of traffic from Thames Valley & Essex and headroom would be useful – potentially also slipping freight through off-peak/at night. I do note that Trings are relatively lightly used at present, even during peak hours they show green for seats, and could take some burden off MK services without demanding track and platforms for more turning back at MK, by electrifying Bletchley-Bedford and running the 30 min frequency through as an extension of Tring service – perhaps 2 additional 350’s/sets.

        Any idea just how much capacity is lost at the Euston end by the mess of threading the outer suburban semi fasts and DC Watfords in to the middle (platforms) of the VT WCML traffic using the outer platforms on that very congested mile between Camden and Euston?

        Dave H (@BCCletts)

        November 5, 2013 at 3:43 am

  2. […] Part one | Part two […]

  3. […] five | Part four | Part three | Part two | Part […]

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