beleben

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‘Virtually every tunnel, viaduct, bridge and embankment’

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On 16 September, there was a House of Lords debate about the economics of HS2. In her ‘six minute’ contribution, Baroness Kramer claimed that “the alternatives [to HS2] offer only about one-third of the capacity that HS2 offers. Consider the impact of delivering those alternatives. They require virtually every tunnel, viaduct, bridge and embankment to be rebuilt, taking virtually every weekend, year in, year out, causing the most extraordinary disruption“.

Baroness Kramer: 'alternatives to HS2 require virtually every tunnel, viaduct, bridge and embankment to be rebuilt, taking virtually every weekend, year in, year out'

Baroness Kramer: ‘alternatives to HS2 require virtually every tunnel, viaduct, bridge and embankment to be rebuilt, taking virtually every weekend, year in, year out’

Her claims, of course, are utter nonsense. Capacity enhancement on the north to south rail corridors would not require lineside interventions along the entire line of route. So far, neither the Department for Transport nor Network Rail have been able to come up with an explanation for the so-called ’14 years of weekend closures to upgrade existing lines’.

Building HS2 would be far more disruptive than well-planned incremental enhancements. On the West Coast Main Line, long distance capacity could be increased by around 30%, without any lineside interventions at all. Larger capacity increases would require a handful of interventions (mainly, lengthening platforms).

On the Midland Main Line, capacity enhancement could be carried out simultaneously with the (currently paused) electrification. The net increase in disruption over electrification_alone, would be minimal.

In the longer term, it would make sense to fix the East Coast Main Line Welwyn / Digswell bottleneck, but a cost-effective way of increasing capacity in the short term would simply involve suspending weekday stops at Welwyn North station.

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Written by beleben

September 17, 2015 at 11:12 am

Posted in HS2

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. If is about capacity rather than speed, and the supposed “cap” is a problem, then it seems somewhat stupid to build a line (and Euston station} that, if you are very lucky, might be able to cope with only 18 trains an hour without falling over. Despite lots of moans about the cap from DfT HS2 it neatly avoids them having to worry about the constrained capacity of their super speed line and having to accept the fact that it would have more capacity if it was not so fast.

    Of course the seldom mentioned and underused Chiltern line could offer all the required capacity and very competitive journey times if it was electrified and improved to eliminate the slowest sections and allow trains to overtake, say by providing bypasses to Banbury (6km) and Warwick/Leamington. It is only 182km from Marylebone to Birmingham Moor Street (7km longer than the HS2 route) and at an average 140mph (225kph) it would take 49 minutes. Does that sound familiar? If you wanted to save more time then you could build a high speed tunnel from London to Ruislip, but why would you want to do that?

    johnma

    September 18, 2015 at 3:48 pm


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