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Archive for May 2016

Daft and you know it (part four)

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As mentioned in the previous post, on 30 May Centro chief James Aspinall told ITV Central News that trams will bring over three million extra people into the city and £50 billion of benefits to the region.

But Central News have now ‘updated’ the story to state that Mr Aspinall told them the metro system will bring over three million extra people into the city and £50 million worth of benefits to the region.

However, in the embedded video, Mr Aspinall can be heard saying “£50 billion”, not £50 million. “50bn” is also part of the story url, at least at the time of writing. Isn’t it a bit curious that Central News are apparently ‘bending over’ to rewrite history, on behalf of Mr Aspinall? Are they going to let him re-dub his piece on camera, replacing “billion” with “million”?

Central News story changed on 31 May 2016 from 'Trams will bring £50 billion of benefits to the region' to 'Trams will bring £50 million of benefits to the region'

One might also ask, how exactly would extending the tram to Stephenson Street bring “3 million extra people into the city”? Most of those ‘extra people’ would, no doubt, have previously travelled in by bus. Needless to say, most tram users on the existing line to Snow Hill previously came in on the number 74 and 79, etc.

Written by beleben

May 31, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Posted in Centro

Daft and you know it (part three)

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Part one | Part two

At the opening of the Midland Metro extension to Stephenson Street on 30 May, Centro chief James Aspinall told ITV Central News that trams will bring over three million extra people into the city and £50 billion of benefits to the region.

Central News, 30 May 2016: 'trams will bring £50 billion of benefits to the region'

Written by beleben

May 31, 2016 at 8:30 am

Posted in Midland Metro

HS2 and population change

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Subnational population projections (SNPPs) ‘provide an indication of the future size and age structure of the population in the regions, local authorities and Clinical Commissioning Groups of England’.

In its latest projection, London, the East of England and the South East regions are shown as growing at a faster rate than England as a whole, the Office of National Statistics announced on 25 May. In percentage terms, population growth in the capital is projected to be three times that of north west England.

Such growth would place additional pressure on transport networks in London and the South East. It seems likely that very substantial investment might be necessary in the rail system in and around London.

The projections also support the idea that the proposed HS2 railway between London, Manchester, and Leeds, is the wrong kind of infrastructure investment. Better projects might include automation of the Underground (to allow 40-trains- per-hour operation), reinstatement of the Uckfield – Lewes and Maidenhead – High Wycombe links, and surface light rail in central London.

Written by beleben

May 27, 2016 at 12:11 pm

The ‘transformational’ effect of HS2

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There are two motorways from London to the West Midlands, and three main-line railways to the north of England. Given the existing well-developed north-south connectivity, how could building HS2 “transform” the West Midlands, and the North?

Department for Transport, Robert Goodwill's letter to James Croll, 16 June 2015 (extract)

According to the Department for Transport, the effect of HS2 would be induce an additional 8 to 9 million journeys between Birmingham / Coventry and London by the year 2036-2037. Between Greater Manchester and London, about 5 million annual journeys would be induced (‘Figure 55’ below).

Department for Transport, West Coast Main Line demand and capacity pressures, Nov 2015, Figure 55

But those figures are for single journeys, and count trips to London and to the provincial cities. If half of the 2.5 million generated round-trips between Manchester and London had Manchester as their destination, that would mean that HS2 increased the number of annual visits to the city by about 1.25 million. That is not ‘transformative’; it is a minuscule payback for an expenditure running into tens of billions of pounds.

Of course, the same argument would also apply for travel to London. Building HS2 to ‘boost the London economy’ is nonsense; it is a very expensive way of increasing the number of visits to London, by not-very-much.

Written by beleben

May 26, 2016 at 3:27 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

HS2’s ruse to misinform

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Given Britain's small size, why would HS2 trains 
ever need to run at 300 km/h, let alone 400 km/h? The ‘over-priced, gold-plated’ HS2 rail project will fail in many of its objectives, a group of transport experts has warned.

[HS2 rail link ‘over-priced’ say transport experts, Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 26 May 2016]

The academics support high-speed rail overall, but say HS2 is five times more expensive than its French equivalent.

They argue that the benefits of HS2 can be achieved much more cheaply, with lower CO2 emissions, and they want their analysis examined by government.
HS2 has been designed to increase capacity and connections, regenerate the North and reduce climate impacts change.

Yet the critics say it will only achieve one of these – capacity. Many key rail journeys, they say, would be worse, including to Nottingham, Stockport and Wakefield.
One of them, Professor James Croll of UCL, told BBC News: “It is just vanity for the UK to have faster trains than the usual high-speed trains.
Professor Tony May from Leeds University told BBC News: “What’s needed is an independent, objective assessment of the alternatives. “These would include a less damaging version of HS2, a better-connected new line from London and transport investment in the North rather than to the North.

Contrary to what was said by Ben Ruse, train speeds are not 'rising throughout Europe'; in Germany, trains with a maximum speed of 249 km/h (or less) are replacing 300 km/h models

All that Ben Ruse, lead spokesperson for HS2, could say in response was that “HS2 would lure people off cars and onto trains, and so reduce carbon emissions”. Rail speeds, he claimed, “were rising throughout Europe – and keeping the speed lower would only cut carbon minimally”.

As train speed increases, the energy required and 
the carbon emissions increase much faster

[HS2 rail link ‘over-priced’ say transport experts, Roger Harrabin, BBC News, 26 May 2016]
Jim Steer, founder of the pro high-speed rail group Greengauge […] agreed that ultra-fast running would increase CO2 emissions by about 20% but said it was better than people driving cars.

‘Better than people driving cars?’ In the 2013 Economic Case, it was projected that just 4% of HS2 passengers would have previously used a car for their journey.

Written by beleben

May 26, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Posted in gibberish, HS2, Politics, Transport

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Alstom plans for HS2, part two

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The ‘High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group’, set up by Jim Steer, uses figures produced by Leo Eyles to show jobs associated with building HS2.

Leo Eyles HS2 Y-network jobs profile

Mr Eyles claimed that in its peak years, HS2 rolling stock production would account for around 10,000 jobs.

According to Alstom, if it won the contract to provide HS2 trains, it would use a facility in the UK, possibly at Widnes, to assemble them, employing ‘600 people’.

So the UK share of Alstom HS2 train-building jobs would be around 6% by number, and less than 6% by value (because the manufacturing and design would be at La Rochelle, Belfort, Ornans, etc).

Although HS2 Ltd used the Alstom AGV11 as their ‘Reference train’, Alstom are heavily promoting a ‘short power car’ version of the TGV Duplex for the Y network, with double deck carriages. How double deck carriages would affect dwell time at stations, is unclear. Because the kinetic energy of a train travelling at 330+ km/h is much larger than one travelling at 200 km/h, accident survivability would be lower, which might account for the zero-passenger end cars.

Alstom Avelia tgv at a Birmingham Curzon Street station with no roof or overhead power lines

Because HS2 is supposedly being designed as a 400 km/h railway requiring much higher traction power than TGV lines, it is also unclear how Alstom would fit the additional kit into short power cars.

Alstom are also proposing the use of tilt carriages for HS2, which would a require a research and development programme. Would that be part of HS2 Ltd’s budget, or Alstom’s?

Written by beleben

May 25, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Daft and you know it (part two)

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Balfour Beatty, Midland Metro, Birmingham City Centre extension to Stephenson St, faqs

The opening of the Bull Street to Stephenson Street section of the Midland Metro in central Birmingham was re-programmed to take place on 22 May 2016, but had to be cancelled because ‘anomalies in the track alignment needed to be addressed’.

According to Centro’s Network West Midlands website, public service to Stephenson Street has been rescheduled to commence on 30 May, with a six-minute frequency in the peak. (Before the first section of Midland Metro opened in 1999, Centro claimed there would be a ‘six-minute’ all-day service, but that appears never to have been achieved.)

Written by beleben

May 25, 2016 at 9:13 am