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Atkins’ 2013 HS2 alternatives

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The Atkins consultancy has supported new build high speed rail for over a decade, and is a member of Greengauge 21’s High Speed Rail Leaders Group. In advocacy paid for by the Department for Transport in 2010, Atkins misrepresented and exaggerated the costs of upgrading existing lines (e.g. by adding unnecessary bypasses at Banbury and High Wycombe on the Chiltern Main Line) in order to make the HS2 scheme look better.

However, the 51m group of local authorities were able in short order to devise an upgrade scheme which outperformed the Atkins packages (and HS2) in benefit-cost. No doubt there are numerous other options which would do the same. Nevertheless, Atkins were again engaged by the government in 2013 to support the PR message that HS2 is “crucial to meet UK transport needs”. The company’s “HS2 Strategic Alternatives Final Report” [‘SAFR’] was released alongside the ‘Strategic Case for HS2’ on 28 October 2013.

In SAFR, five conventional rail upgrade packages were developed “to represent strategic alternatives to three
different HS2 construction scenarios”, as follows:

* Package P1 – as a strategic alternative to providing the HS2 Phase One London-Birmingham route;

* Packages YA and YB – as strategic alternatives to providing the Phase One and Phase Two HS2 “full network”; and

* Packages P2A and P2B – as strategic alternatives to providing the HS2 Phase Two extension to Leeds and Manchester but with HS2 Phase One London-Birmingham in place.

The strategic alternative upgrade packages for the conventional rail network were “developed through a
collaborative process between DfT and NR, supported by Atkins” and comprise “a set of incremental capacity and connectivity improvements – termed interventions – focused on the three main north-south rail routes from London to the West and East Midlands and to the North and Scotland:

[‘HS2 Strategic Alternatives Final Report’, Atkins for DfT, 2013]

* The West Coast Main Line (WCML) from London Euston north to Birmingham and the north west of England;

* The East Coast Main Line (ECML) from London King’s Cross north to the East Midlands and West Yorkshire; and

* The Midland Main Line (MML) from London St Pancras north to the East Midlands and South Yorkshire.

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Written by beleben

April 1, 2014 at 9:57 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

One Response

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  1. Where is the GC/GW Joint Line as a sorely needed 4 track parallel and interlinked route with WCML? This designed to provide a route of approximately the same length (113 miles) between Euston and Rugby.

    This is unlike the rest of WCML between Rugby and Carlisle where there are many switch-in diversion/contingency routes on offer with minimal time penalties, to permit engineering work, divert around an immediate problem, or as is done for the 3 fast paths EUS-MAN. Here by running via 3 different routes (and 3 further permutations already exist) the hourly fast paths leave a big window on each of the corridors other services, and deliver a direct fast service to London for a wider spread of places, on an hourly frequency, perhaps more likely to deliver viable passenger numbers per train than sending all the trains down the one route with the same calling points (how like a certain proposal that sounds)

    There has been a return to use of the of the GC/GW for WCML diversions, but solely to EUS-BHM with the time penalty of 46 minutes, largely stacking up through a tenuous single line crawl through West London. This could be eliminated by building a high speed, grade separated connection between the lines where they cross for the second time North Of Wembley (Central/Stadium), and the 2 current GC tracks sit at the sides of the 4-track corridor.

    Strategically the GC/GW is far more than a parallel WCML, as with a few carefully considered reinstatements and connections, it can provide the facility to close part or all of the operations at Paddington, Euston or Marylebone for major engineering work – line the GWML electrification, this as well as the option to have long blockades on the WCML and GWML and sending services via Princes Risborough to get round the closed section

    The new infill electrification between Liverpool and Manchester, and the TPE Scottish connection, are already increasing the options available (eg a second fast Liverpool path via Warrington and Newton – possibly terminating at Liverpool South Parkway?)

    Dave H (@BCCletts)

    April 2, 2014 at 2:54 am


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