beleben

die belebende Bedenkung

HS2 de-scope options, part two

with 11 comments

Part one

5. Classic connection at Berkswell

At Berkswell, the government’s preferred route for HS2 would pass close to the existing Coventry to Birmingham railway, so if a connection were provided there, London HS2 trains could reach the existing New Street station in around 50 minutes. The spur into Curzon Street, and its depot at Washwood Heath, would not be required.

Beneficiaries would include Birmingham Airport and the Black Country boroughs, but it would not be popular with Berkswell residents, or Birmingham city council. Although the net environmental and economic effects would be positive, deletion of the Curzon spur would have little effect on the scheme’s impact or cost-ineffectiveness at the national level.

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Written by beleben

September 25, 2014 at 2:33 pm

11 Responses

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  1. You say the environmental benefits would be positive, is that fact or do you have evidence?

    morris

    September 25, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    • Do you think building a spur from Water Orton into Birmingham would be less environmentally damaging?

      beleben

      September 26, 2014 at 11:54 am

      • I asked you a question, do you have any evidence?

        [Note by Beleben: The map says it all.

        hs2-line-route-birmingham-revised-showing-berkswell]

        morris

        September 27, 2014 at 7:59 pm

  2. 6. The southern leg (north of Calvert).

    The GCR could be re-instated from Calvert-Rugby with a (new) connection near Rugby.

    richie40

    September 26, 2014 at 11:00 am

    • You’ve just mentioned HS2 “descope nirvana”. The only rational HS2 scenario, is one in which HS2 isn’t built.

      Rename the Great Central “HS2”, and use the £40+ billion saved on better things.

      beleben

      September 26, 2014 at 11:52 am

  3. Deleting the Birmingham spur would effectively kill off the benefits of the Birmingham-Manchester and Birmingham-Leeds services, thus making HS2 the solely London-focussed railway you so vehemently criticise it for being. Also, you would need to replace the Washwood Heath depot with another in a similar location, meaning that the total cost reduction isn’t going to be as good as you would believe it would. Additionally, the fewer captive spurs there are the higher the likelihood of the 18tph service collapsing. With a captive spur, there is space for recovery in case of delay as each one can handle more services than they are intended to service. If you force all trains to use classic lines, they would be forced to fit in with existing services and conflicts would therefore appear between the high speed and classic networks: do you cancel or heavily delay classic services so that the high speed ones would be able to reach the high speed line in time for their 3 minute headway slot or do you allow the high speed service to fail to keep local classic services on time?

    CautiousObserver

    September 27, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    • Deleting the Birmingham spur would effectively kill off the benefits of the
      Birmingham-Manchester and Birmingham-Leeds services, thus making HS2 the solely London-focussed railway you so vehemently criticise
      it for being.

      In HS2_with_the_Birmingham (Curzon) spur

      * 80% of HS2 journeys would have London as origin or destination,

      and

      * all-day rail demand between Birmingham and Leeds would even not fill one train.

      So the London-centricity of HS2 without the Curzon spur would probably be not much different.

      A junction between the Birmingham – Nuneaton railway and HS2 near Water Orton could be built if necessary.

      Also, you would need to replace the Washwood Heath depot with another in a similar
      location, meaning that the total cost reduction isn’t going to be as good as you would believe it would.

      If HS2 trains were built to ‘Class 373’ (rather than GC gauge), there would be a range of depot options.
      Including Washwood Heath (but whether that’s a good place for a stabling yard, is questionable).

      Additionally, the fewer captive spurs there are the higher the likelihood of the 18tph service collapsing. With a captive spur, there is space for recovery in case of delay as each one can handle more services than they are intended to service. If you force all trains to use classic lines, they would be forced to fit in with existing services and conflicts would therefore appear between the high speed and classic networks: do you cancel or heavily delay classic services so that the high speed ones would be able to reach the high speed line in time for their 3 minute headway slot or do you allow the high speed service to fail to keep local classic services on time?

      With trains having run for 150+ km from Glasgow on the classic line before joining HS2, there would be massive potential for perturbation import. How feasible is 18 trains per hour anyway?

      beleben

      September 28, 2014 at 9:49 am

      • It is true that at current levels of demand, the numbers for Birmingham-Manchester and Birmingham-Leeds are not sufficient to justify that line alone. However, the point is that in future this capacity would be available when inevitably there would be more demand. Non-London InterCity services currently pale in comparison to ones heading to/from London, to the point that one may as well locate oneself in London as the onward connections from there to other places are just as good or better than the connections from other, closer places like Birmingham. Without the Curzon Street spur, that 20% of journeys that wouldn’t go to/from London would drop even lower, so it cannot have a positive effect on the whole rail network other than the minor reduction in cost.

        It is also true that classic-compatible units will be able to be serviced at normal depots but the fact remains that there will be more trains in service after HS2 opens than there were before. Any depot spaces used up by the Pendolino services right now in Birmingham will be used up by whatever classic services will fill the WCML. There would need to be a new depot built for HS2 trains even if the entire network was built at UK gauge. That depot would be too expensive to construct in London and it is logistically ideal for it to be located at the physical centre of the new network in and around Birmingham – whatever figures there may be for what passengers will do, the most efficient place to look after the trains is where the Manchester, Leeds and London lines meet.

        My point about captive spurs though is that they would be reserved for HS2 use only, so it would be possible to re-time these services to help fit in late-running classic-compatibles. For example, if a Glasgow train is 10 minutes down, in order to make up time and keep them in order some of the trains on the Manchester, Birmingham or Leeds spurs could be slowed down or delayed slightly and then recover time by running at their maximum operational speed of 360km/h rather than 330km/h down to London. If the HS2 services have to share classic tracks into Birmingham, it would not be possible to hold one on this line for the Glasgow train without disrupting other classic services. The question then is whether it is more important to keep HS2 trains on time at all costs, including the cancellation of the sorts of local services that rightly need to be enhanced around regional cities, or whether the local services come first and make the HS2 service far less resilient to operational issues.

        The 18tph service is technically feasible. It is standard practice to flight high speed trains at three minute intervals on high speed lines, even if the total number of trains per hour is nowhere near that number. Looking at the reliability statistics on these lines it becomes more than clear that it would be feasible to run 18tph on a railway capable of 20tph, allowing two paths of recovery time per hour. The signalling technology planned for HS2 is already in existence and we know its capabilities, so unlike the moving-block farce, there’s no risk of the technology not being mature enough to run that service on the day. Remember that the 18tph service is also a peak time figure, and would only happen after Phase 2 is complete when precisely half of those services would run only on captive lines. In Phase 1, the additional risk of Manchester trains going wrong on the classic lines means that only a 14tph peak service is planned. Also, I would point out that the GWML Main lines are planned to run at approximately the same frequency once they are resignalled with the same ETCS Level 2 technology as is planned for HS2. If that works on a complicated Victorian railway, I can see no reason why it would not work on a brand new one as well.

        CautiousObserver

        September 30, 2014 at 1:02 pm

      • It is true that at current levels of demand, the numbers for Birmingham-Manchester and Birmingham-Leeds are not sufficient to justify that line alone. However, the point is that in future this capacity would be available when inevitably there would be more demand.

        Demand on those O/D pairs is minuscule. If it quintuples, it’s still minuscule.

        Without the Curzon Street spur, that 20% of journeys that wouldn’t go to/from London would drop even lower, so it cannot have a positive effect on the whole rail network other than the minor reduction in cost.

        The Beleben blog does not advocate cancellation of the Curzon spur. It advocates cancellation of HS2, based on the evidence.

        The purpose of the blogpost was to examine ways in which the cost of HS2 could be reduced when the cost overruns become apparent. The reduction in cost from cancelling the Curzon spur would not be “minor”.

        There would need to be a new depot built for HS2 trains even if the entire network was built at UK gauge. That depot would be too expensive to construct in London and it is logistically ideal for it to be located at the physical centre of the new network in and around Birmingham – whatever figures there may be for what passengers will do, the most efficient place to look after the trains is where the Manchester, Leeds and London lines meet.

        Why would it be too expensive to construct a HS2 depot in London, but not a Eurostar or Crossrail depot? Actually, the HS2 proposal includes stabling rolling stock in the north of England.

        My point about captive spurs though is that they would be reserved for HS2 use only, so it would be possible to re-time these services to help fit in late-running classic-compatibles. For example, if a Glasgow train is 10 minutes down, in order to make up time and keep them in order some of the trains on the Manchester, Birmingham or Leeds spurs could be slowed down or delayed slightly and then recover time by running at their maximum operational speed of 360km/h rather than 330km/h down to London.

        The critical path is Water Orton delta — Old Oak. The chances of successfully operating 18 trains / hour there, are somewhere between slim and zero.

        The 18tph service is technically feasible. It is standard practice to flight high speed trains at three minute intervals on high speed lines, even if the total number of trains per hour is nowhere near that number. Looking at the reliability statistics on these lines it becomes more than clear that it would be feasible to run 18tph on a railway capable of 20tph, allowing two paths of recovery time per hour.

        The technical headway on both HS1 and the “Victorian” WCML Fast lines, is 20 trains per hour. Running 1 train 3 minutes after another, is not the same thing at all as running 20 trains per hour.

        The signalling technology planned for HS2 is already in existence and we know its capabilities

        It doesn’t exist, says HS2 Ltd.

        so unlike the moving-block farce, there’s no risk of the technology not being mature enough to run that service on the day. Remember that the 18tph service is also a peak time figure, and would only happen after Phase 2 is complete when precisely half of those services would run only on captive lines.

        In the current Phase 2 modelling, the peak and off-peak frequency is the same (and not 18 trains / hour).

        Also, I would point out that the GWML Main lines are planned to run at approximately the same frequency once they are resignalled with the same ETCS Level 2 technology as is planned for HS2. If that works on a complicated Victorian railway, I can see no reason why it would not work on a brand new one as well.

        The GW Main Line out of Paddington already achieves ‘HS2 Phase 2 frequency’. The key difference is the speed.

        beleben

        September 30, 2014 at 8:40 pm

      • “Demand on those O/D pairs is minuscule. If it quintuples, it’s still minuscule.”

        That ‘only’ 20% of all journeys on HS2 won’t involve London does not mean there would not be a reasonable number of non-London journeys since there will just be so many of them taking place on HS2. Travellers on the majority of non-London journeys will benefit more from the timetable recast and extra seats on trains made possible by HS2. A better figure to use would be to find the number of journeys that HS2 would actually improve, either directly or indirectly.

        “The Beleben blog does not advocate cancellation of the Curzon spur. It advocates cancellation of HS2, based on the evidence.

        The purpose of the blogpost was to examine ways in which the cost of HS2 could be reduced when the cost overruns become apparent. The reduction in cost from cancelling the Curzon spur would not be “minor”. ”

        At which point would these cost overruns become apparent? Changes to Phase 1 are only going to come in the next few months or couple of years, not halfway through the project. It’s the same regime that was applied to Crossrail, ensuring that the chances of going over budget and over schedule are as low as possible. The vast majority of the scheme is not at all difficult to build.

        “Why would it be too expensive to construct a HS2 depot in London, but not a Eurostar or Crossrail depot? Actually, the HS2 proposal includes stabling rolling stock in the north of England. ”

        Because HS2 spends all of its time within the M25 in tunnel, on viaduct, transitioning between them or in Zone 1. Beyond the M25 you’re halfway through the Chilterns before you exit the tunnel again, and the idea of having an infrastructure maintenance depot at Calvert is too much for some people already. Euston will be the southernmost reach of the HS2 project for the most part, so it is not sensible for the depot to be located there as well. Should the HS1-HS2 link ever go ahead, Eurostar’s Temple Mills depot could be used as well for any international services if absolutely required.

        I am more than aware of the New Crofton and Golbourne rolling stock depots. These will only be used for light maintenance and stabling purposes, and are there to cope with the increase in number of trains required for the Phase 2 service. Golbourne depot will replace Longsight for HS2 stabling purposes for Manchester, so it is not as much an increase as you may think it is. It is important to provide a depot close to the northern captive termini so that it is possible for trains to enter service as soon after the high speed lines open at 0500 as possible. Euston will be able to hold trains overnight for the first few departures to the north before the first northern arrivals (from the northern depots) can be turned around.

        “The critical path is Water Orton delta — Old Oak. The chances of successfully operating 18 trains / hour there, are somewhere between slim and zero.”

        You say this without providing evidence that it is not feasible. Increasing speed does not reduce the number of trains that can pass every hour because the distances between each train increase as well as their speed.

        “The technical headway on both HS1 and the “Victorian” WCML Fast lines, is 20 trains per hour. Running 1 train 3 minutes after another, is not the same thing at all as running 20 trains per hour. ”

        It is. If you know you can run two trains, one three minutes behind the other, without there being any timetable disturbance whatsoever you know that you can run more. Every HS2 service will be ATO-controlled on new lins so distances and speeds can be extremely precisely calibrated to provide the highest number of trains per hour and the highest reliability of doing so. Crossrail is going to be capable of up to 30tph with ATO using similar technology, so there will be plenty time to ensure everything will work as planned even if things do not pan out as expected.

        CautiousObserver

        October 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm

      • Travellers on the majority of non-London journeys will benefit more from the timetable recast and extra seats on trains made possible by HS2.

        That is your view. But evidence to support it, doesn’t really exist.

        A better figure to use would be to find the number of journeys that HS2 would actually improve, either directly or indirectly.

        A better approach would be to find and compare the number of journeys that could be improved if HS2 money were transferred to higher-BCR projects.

        At which point would these cost overruns become apparent? Changes to Phase 1 are only going to come in the next few months or couple of years, not halfway through the project. It’s the same regime that was applied to Crossrail, ensuring that the chances of going over budget and over schedule are as low as possible.

        Cost overruns are probably already known within HS2 Ltd. How the company deals with them, remains to be seen.

        The vast majority of the scheme is not at all difficult to build.

        The vast majority of the scheme is not at all difficult to build, in your opinion.

        It is important to provide a depot close to the northern captive termini so that it is possible for trains to enter service as soon after the high speed lines open at 0500 as possible. Euston will be able to hold trains overnight for the first few departures to the north before the first northern arrivals (from the northern depots) can be turned around.

        So why aren’t the northern captive termini “able to hold trains overnight for the first few departures” to the south, in the same way? Like everything else HS2, the rolling stock strategy is a mess.

        Increasing speed does not reduce the number of trains that can pass every hour because the distances between each train increase as well as their speed.

        The required safe distance between each train increases, and the number of trains that can pass every hour goes down.

        If you know you can run two trains, one three minutes behind the other, without there being any timetable disturbance whatsoever you know that you can run more.

        You don’t know you can run two trains, one three minutes behind the other, without there being any timetable disturbance. That’s why the WCML Fast Lines, signalled for 20 trains per hour, only carry just over half that number.

        Every HS2 service will be ATO-controlled on new lins so distances and speeds can be extremely precisely calibrated to provide the highest number of trains per hour and the highest reliability of doing so.

        Just like the Tokaido Shinkansen, then. How many trains per hour run on that?

        beleben

        October 5, 2014 at 11:11 am


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