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New peaks of dissimulation

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According to the Department for Transport’s November 2015 Supplement to the October 2013 strategic case for HS2, “Today, the WCML Fast Lines carry 15 – 16 trains per hour (tph) at the busiest peak periods” [section 3.1].

But it goes on to say that operating 16 trains on the West Coast fast tracks into Euston ‘across the peak’ would cost £2.5 billion.

So, at the moment, Network Rail are managing to run 16 trains during some peak hours, without spending £2.5 billion. But to, er, run 16 ‘across the peak’ would cost £2.5 billion. Does that make sense?

[Supplement to the October 2013 strategic case for HS2, DfT]

[4.5] The report HS2 Strategic Alternatives, Final Report set out the alternative options for meeting the capacity and connectivity objectives set by Government when developing its plans for HS2. The most relevant option to compare against the impact of HS2 in the WCML corridor was termed “P1”. This contained a package of measures, some of which had been put forward by objectors to HS2.

[4.6] P1 assumes that all West Midlands [London Midland] and Inter City West Coast (ICWC) peak trains into Euston are run at maximum length and reconfigured as in the crowding analysis set out in Chapter 4. However, in addition to this, P1 includes a package of infrastructure enhancements that would increase WCML Fast Line capacity from today’s 15 – 16 [trains per hour] into / from London Euston in the peak periods to 16tph across the peak. These have been costed at £2.5 billion and include the grade-separation of junctions at Colwich and between Cheddington and Leighton Buzzard, four-tracking between Attleborough and Brinklow and further power supply upgrades and line speed improvements.

Of all Atkins’ proposed P1 package enhancements, just one was on the busiest section of the West Coast line (from Milton Keynes into London):

Grade separation at Ledburn was the only Atkins 'package P1' intervention which might increase capacity on the WCML fast lines approach to Euston

Grade separation at Ledburn was the only Atkins ‘package P1’ intervention which might increase capacity on the WCML fast lines approach to Euston

What exactly have “Dynamic passing loops at Shap and Beattock”, to do with capacity on the London approach?

The facts are:

1. the costs of running 16 trains per hour on the Euston fast lines ‘across the peak’, whatever that means, is not going to be £2.5 billion

2. most of the proposed Atkins P1 interventions were either cruft, or of minimal value for increasing capacity on the busiest sections of the WCML

3. there are numerous cost-effective ways of substantially increasing capacity on the London approach, which have not been proposed or evaluated by Atkins or DfT. Their costs are trivial, compared to HS2.

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Written by beleben

December 2, 2015 at 10:23 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Tagged with ,

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