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Fourteen years of disruption

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At the CIOB event ‘HS2 and The Benefits It Will Bring to the Region’ at the Library of Birmingham on 27 November 2014, HS2 Ltd’s John Irwin was the speaker. However in a speech of about an hour, there was very little discussion about benefits for the West Midlands. The content was similar to the HS2 ‘overview’ talks with slides given by HS2 chief engineer Andrew McNaughton to institutions such as the IET.

CIOB HS2 talk at the Library of Birmingham

‘We Have Upgraded Classic Rail’ slide shown at the CIOB HS2 talk at the Library of Birmingham

The ‘We Have Upgraded Classic Rail’ slide was similar to one used by Andrew McNaughton, but with an additional assertion (“The alternative would close the railway for 14 years at weekends”). Of course, evidence for that claim has never been produced, and there is no such thing as “The alternative”. The reality is that a large number of possible courses of action exist in rail capacity management.

HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins recently suggested that a Euston high speed station could be part-opened in 2026, with the phase two platforms added later. So it is HS2, rather than classic upgrades, which may entail ’14 years of disruption’. At Euston, HS2 construction-related disturbance would not just be something for the weekend; it would be disruption every day.

CIOB HS2 talk at the Library of Birmingham

CIOB HS2 talk at the Library of Birmingham

Mr Irwin also claimed that the project would employ “up to 50,000 people”. But according to the Y network jobs profile, that sort of level would only apply for about two years during the construction phase.

CIOB HS2 talk at the Library of Birmingham

CIOB HS2 talk at the Library of Birmingham

According to HS2 Ltd, in the two peak years, around a third of the jobs would be in rolling stock manufacture. But the likelihood of HS2 trains being built in the West Midlands — or anywhere in Britain — looks quite low. The capability has disappeared.

No complete intercity carriages have been built in England in around 25 years. Metro-Cammell’s Mk4 vehicles were equipped with Swiss bogies, and the Pendolinos assembled at Washwood Heath were mainly built in Italy.

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Written by beleben

December 7, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Posted in Birmingham, HS2, London

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