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Archive for September 2017

Inconsistent attitudes in rail safety

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Railway trespassing is ‘not all kids’, according to the British Transport Police Lancashire twitter.

@twitter BTPLancs, status_910203402109509635

Instead of using the ‘correct route of slope to road, under railway, slope up other side’, 70 year olds crossed the tracks at the end of the platforms at Garsdale station on the (little-used) Settle and Carlisle line, where there is ‘non-stopping regular freight with 70 mph linespeed’.

Actually, perhaps not 70 mph freight, judging by the curvature of the line.

twitter @BTPLancs, status_910181416767512576

The safety risk from crossing rail tracks at-grade would depend on a wide range of factors. Depending on the situation, the risk might be very high, or negligible. In many countries – including some in western Europe – crossing tracks at-grade is the only way to reach station platforms.

Statistically, how dangerous is the pensioners’ Garsdale shortcut, compared to crossing a main road in Manchester? How much of the track crossing risk arises from the lack of wooden boards between the rails, and the absence of warning devices?

RSSB, Crossrail 1 trains, no yellow ends

The inconsistency of treatment of risk is not just between rail and road, but also within the rail industry itself. For example, trains for Crossrail 1 are being delivered with low-visibility front ends, for no obvious advantage. It is perfectly possible to imagine scenarios where ‘high intensity’ train lights malfunctioned, or were not recognised, for some other reason, leaving trackworkers exposed to unnecessary risk.

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Written by beleben

September 20, 2017 at 11:07 am

Posted in Railways

HS1 and Kentish tourism

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The economic impact that High Speed 1 has had on Kent’s tourism economy ‘has been revealed for the first time in a report independently produced by Visit Kent and tourism economists Destination Research Ltd’.

HS1 website with Kentish tourism story, on 20 Sep 2017

But what role did HS1 Ltd play in commissioning and funding the ‘tourism impact study’? And how plausible are its findings?

[‘HS1 adds £72 million to Kent economy in 2016 as leisure journeys increase nine-fold’, HS1 Ltd news, 15 Sep 2017]

[…] Almost three quarters (73%) of tourism businesses in Kent believe that leisure tourism in the county has increased as a result of HS1. Over half (54%) believe that HS1 has specifically benefitted their own business. 94% of these tourism businesses said that they had benefited because of HS1’s high speed connections, with 80% saying that HS1 has helped attract visitors from further afield.

Almost a third (30%) of tourists said they were influenced in their decision to visit Kent by the presence of the HS1 service. Almost half (47%) of all visitors to Kent who travelled by rail did so via the HS1 service.

Interviews for the study seem to have been mainly conducted in places served by HS1 trains, rather than across Kent as a whole. Another oddity is the distribution of interviews in particular locations.

HS1 tourism impact study 2017, interviewees, extract

All in all, the report’s plausibility looks suspect. It is difficult to make sense of the claim that “only a proportion of journeys made on HS1 infrastructure were on HS1 trains, and not on regular (or classic) rail stock”. Because the only passenger trains using ‘HS1 infrastructure’ are (a) Eurostar (which mostly don’t stop in Kent), and (b) ‘Javelin’.  No classic passenger trains circulate on HS1.

hs1ltd-leisure-journeys-2017-extract

Written by beleben

September 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

Spending twenty seven million pounds on a tram stop

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twitter @RailLeaders, £27.5 million of WMCA (public) money to be spent on a tram stop

Written by beleben

September 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Gross point blank

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twitter @joerukin, status_908356768350265345

FoI request via WhatDoTheyKnow, ‘All 2015 HS2 MPA reports

Written by beleben

September 15, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

Aire of familiarity

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twitter @CityMetric, status_908305412105043968

@CityMetric twitter, 14 Sep 2017

As regular readers of the Beleben blog might know, the idea of a new approach to Leeds City station from the east – across the Aire Valley – is not new, and seems to have originated with HSUK.

beleben-blog-screen-grab-aire-valley-proposal

Beleben blog, 30 July 2015

An Aire valley link, and ‘Leeds S-bahn’, looks like a better investment than high speed rail.

HSUK Yorkshire map, showing Aire valley link concept

HSUK Yorkshire map, showing Aire valley link concept

There is now a similar rail traffic imbalance in Manchester – at the city’s Victoria station – as a result of a conversion of the Oldham and Bury railways to Metrolink tram. Conversion of Bury Metrolink back to heavy rail looks like a good idea, as part of a 21st century Picc-Vic system (‘Picvic 21’).

 

Written by beleben

September 15, 2017 at 9:04 am

Posted in Leeds, Railways

Inexactitude of additionality

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Scotland will benefit from 34,000 additional seats per day from London when HS2 is completed in 2033, according to Rail magazine.

[‘HS2 offers thousands of extra seats to Scotland’, Richard Clinnick, 13 Sep 2017]

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell revealed the figure in a Commons Written Reply to Alan Brown (SNP, Kilmarnock and Loudon), who had asked three questions relating to HS2.
[…]
He said the business case assumes two 400-metre HS2 trains per hour between London and Scotland, and that these will split or join at Carstairs, with half serving Glasgow and the other half serving Edinburgh.

[…] Each 400m train is assumed to have 1,056 seats.

“Assuming 16 hours of departures per day, the services assumed in the business case would provide a total of 34,000 seats between London – Glasgow and London –
Edinburgh on HS2 in both directions each day,” said Mundell.

Rail magazine, '34000 additional seats per day to Scotland from London when HS2 is completed in 2033'

“Additional” means “supplementary to what is already present or available“. The story does not say what London – Scotland seat capacity is already present or available, or what would happen to it when HS2 trains started running.

Of course, it is not at all necessary to spend £60 billion to increase Anglo-Scottish rail capacity. Furthermore, as a percentage of total UK passenger traffic, the volume of cross-border travel is chicken feed.

Written by beleben

September 13, 2017 at 11:52 am

Posted in HS2, misinformation

May the lord be with you

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Theresa May is being urged to sack a Labour peer who heads the government’s infrastructure body after he damned David Davis’s negotiating approach and vowed to attempt to reverse Brexit, The Times reported.

[May told to fire Labour peer after Brexit attack, Sam Coates, The Times, 11 Sep 2017]

Lord Adonis, head of the National Infrastructure Commission, declared that “eight-year-olds have a better grasp of the power dynamics” of Brexit than Mr Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the European Union. He also set out his vision to “defeat” Brexit in an article in The Observer yesterday, a position which is incompatible with government policy.

Although the commission he chairs is independent of government, the ferocity of his personal criticism is likely to provoke a review of his position in No 10 and the Treasury.

Lord Adonis accepts that he was largely responsible for creating the “Frankenstein’s monster” system of student finance in England. As transport secretary in Gordon Brown’s government, he initiated electrification of the Great Western main line, without even bothering to establish Network Rail’s ability to deliver it. And of course, he was largely responsible for promulgating the £60 billion white elephant that is HS2.

Theresa May must be pretty desperate, to have him ‘in charge’ of planning national infrastructure.

Ponzi scheme?

Andrew Adonis was ‘largely responsible’ for creating the Frankenstein’s monster of tuition fees

Written by beleben

September 12, 2017 at 9:54 am

Posted in Bizarre, HS2, Politics