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Archive for January 2016

Have a tough time

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HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins has said that the company’s new high speed line would not aim to take business away from the Midland Main Line, and would have a “tough time” competing with Derby Midland train station.

[Timesavings HS2 could bring to Derby travellers are revealed, Chris Mallett, Derby Telegraph, January 21, 2016]

[…] Buoyed by last year’s decision by the region’s councils to unify and get behind an HS2 station at Toton, Sir David Higgins was almost incredulous when asked if he expected any issues in the region when he visited Derby on Wednesday.

He said that achieving the quick link between Derby, Toton, and Nottingham would need some kind of “Metro” service – in this case meaning a light rail or tram service.
Sir David said: “I don’t think there’s any contentious issues here [in the East Midlands]. “We’ll be working with residents and business owners all along the route that are affected and to keep them informed about the compensation they are entitled to.”
Asked whether it wouldn’t be better to electrify the current tracks and increase lengths of platforms and trains to increase capacity Sir David said this had been tried.
He pointed to the revamp of the West Coast Mainline, where “£10 billion” of spending had brought only a 20% increase in the number of people the line could serve.

But according to the National Audit Office, Phase 3 of the West Coast Main Line modernisation
was undertaken to increase capacity by “80 per cent for long distance passenger trains”, and “60 – 70 per cent more freight paths“.

And if HS2 is not supposed to compete with classic rail, why does its January 2012 Updated appraisal of HS2 transport user benefits state that 65% of its passengers would be transfers from classic rail?

The Derby Telegraph article mentioned that Mr Higgins was ‘keen to highlight the reliability HS2 would bring in comparison to existing train routes’.

He said: “The West Coast Mainline is down for three months [after storm damage].

“There’s no form of traffic there now. So it’s all about reliability. You can go down on HS2 a morning trip and get back.”

He said the line would benefit from flood protection that leaves it susceptible to flooding that has only a 0.1% chance of happening in any given year.

What a load of old nonsense. West Coast Main Line trains to Glasgow were stopped by flooding in Cumbria, but not one yard of the £56 billion HS2 Y network track would be in that county.

Written by beleben

January 27, 2016 at 3:48 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Beam me up potty

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Network Rail has apologised for building large new overlead line gantries in the Goring Gap without consulting nearby residents, the BBC reported.

[Network Rail apologises for Goring Gap gantries, BBC News, 15 January 2016]

[…] Goring resident Roy McMillan said: “There was no foreknowledge of the actual design Network Rail has used… it is heavily, heavily over-engineered.”

Roy McMillan, chair of South Stoke Parish Council, said there was an “absolute forest” of the new gantries “stretching over in the distance towards Didcot”.

He added: “They’re absolutely horrible… people see them the whole time, every day of their life”.

But Lucy Murfitt, from the Chiltern Conservation Board, said [a meeting between residents and Network Rail] at the village hall had been positive.

She added: “They’ve now conceded there’s a problem and they’re going to look at redesigning and removing them which is fantastic, and they’re going to involve us in it and consult the public.”

BBC News story about the overhead metal beams being erected on the Great Western Main Line, October 2015

Written by beleben

January 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Great Western, Railways

Still feel good

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The Treasury would probably like you to believe that the government’s sale of Eurostar last year was a marvellous result for the taxpayer, wrote James Moore.

[The Government needs to work on its sums when selling off state assets, James Moore, The Independent, 20 January 2016]

[…] Last March it agreed to offload the state’s 40 per cent stake for £585m. A further £172m was brought in through the redemption of preference shares, netting £757m for the cash-strapped Exchequer.

But here’s the first problem: the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee (PAC) believes that sum represents only a fraction of the taxpayer’s investment in the business and the high-speed rail link between London and the Channel Tunnel (known as HS1). The National Audit Office says UK taxpayers have spent £3bn on these services.

[…] That could only be considered a good return by people who’d put money into the banking industry before the financial crisis struck. Still feel good about the forthcoming high-speed rail link between London, Birmingham and the North (HS2)?

Written by beleben

January 20, 2016 at 11:37 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS1, HS2