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The tip of the iceberg

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Even if the Camden HS2 – HS1 link were ditched, the likelihood is that building HS2 would still be more disruptive to the national transport system than an upgrade-based approach such as RP6. As the Beleben blog noted in July 2011, building HS2 necessitates extensive disruption to existing railways, in multiple locations, over an extended period.

Now, following a freedom of information request by the HS2 Action Alliance, some details of prospective HS2-related disruption to the classic rail system have emerged.

[“Millions will face transport chaos because HS2 work ‘will cause a decade of disruption on West Coast mainline'”, Ray Massey, Daily Mail, 7 March 2014]

Internal documents seen by the Mail reveal forecasts that show punctuality and performance will ‘be likely to worsen by between 4 and 8 per cent’ though warns ‘bad days would be significantly worse’.

Until now, passengers have been unaware of the full extent to which their conventional long-distance and commuter lines face disruption while platforms at Euston are closed and services cut to make way for the new HS2 line.
[…]
Campaigners against the scheme say the problems unearthed are just ‘the tip of the iceberg’.

The FOI documents reveal

* Disruption to services for at least ten years from December 2016

* Rail bosses are confident ‘works don’t have a catastrophic effect on existing services’ only ‘from 2017 onwards’

* For the rest of the time performance will be ‘fragile’

* Fewer than 60 per cent of long-distance services will arrive on time

* ‘Significant’ weekend and Bank Holiday closures with widespread disruption in holiday periods including Christmas

* Platform numbers at Euston reduced from 18 to 13, with the number of approach tracks reduced from six to four

* Virgin train services will have to leave Euston just 25 minutes after arrival, leaving little time for servicing and cleaning

* Passengers face a 22 per cent shortfall in capacity in suburban services to major commuter stations such as Harrow and Wealdstone, Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Berkhamsted.

* Construction could result in a reduction in Birmingham and Manchester train from three to two an hour

If George Osborne’s vision of a total redevelopment of the Euston site were implemented, there would be a corresponding increase in the scale of disruption.

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Written by beleben

March 7, 2014 at 11:48 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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