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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.


Written by beleben

March 7, 2014 at 11:48 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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