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Archive for November 2017

Respublica on the inside

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Respublica North, Max Wind-Cowie

Interesting to see that Max Wind-Cowie, deputy director of ‘red tory’ Phillip Blond’s Respublica North lobbying vehicle, is ‘lead on cities’ for the government’s National Infrastructure Commission.

Max Wind Cowie

Written by beleben

November 8, 2017 at 5:20 pm

On the wrong foot

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From what HS1 Ltd chairman Rob Holden has ‘seen and observed’, HS2 got off ‘completely on the wrong foot with Camden council and the local community at Euston’.

[HS1 10 years on: What can HS2 learn?, Daniel Kemp, Construction News, 7 Nov 2017 (paywall)]

[Rob Holden:] “Once you’re in that position with an authority, particularly quite an influential one like Camden, it takes a long time to get it back to where it needs to be.”

In an interview for Construction News, Mr Holden appeared to credit John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott with saving HS1 from cancellation. 2J thought it would have ‘regeneration benefits’, but that seems an odd description for reducing the Midland Main Line to four platforms at St Pancras, to make space for designer boutiques and pizza joints.

'HS1’s funding projections required every single man, woman and child in the South-east of England to be making multiple journeys every single year to Paris and Brussels' in order to generate enough cash

Mr Holden said that HS1 was a “French railway”, but HS2 was trying to do “things which have not been proven anywhere else”.

[Construction News]

[RH:] “One decision we made very early on, and I would put my name to it, is that we decided to make this railway an extension of TGV Nord,” he says. “[HS1] is a French railway, with French signalling technology. It was designed to operate out of the box – we were not going to be the first anything.

“Contrast that with HS2 and what they’re trying to do […] to create a legacy. They’re doing things which have not been proven anywhere else. That imparts huge amounts of risk, and maybe because I’m an accountant I’m more cautious than most. I like to minimise the risk I’m carrying, [which] therefore gives ourselves a better chance of success in what is a complicated environment.”

Written by beleben

November 7, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS1, HS2

The shape and the size

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The Guardian online, 5 Nov 2017 TSGN breakup planned

The Guardian online, 5 Nov 2017

The Department for Transport said it was “actively looking at the shape and size of the next Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise on expiry of the existing contract in 2021”, the Guardian reported on 5 November.

Who’d have thought it?

Beleben blog, 4 May 2017

Beleben blog, 4 May 2017

Written by beleben

November 6, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Posted in Politics, Railways

How do vey do that?

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Not long ago, Conservative MP Esther McVey was a big supporter of the government’s high speed rail scheme. But according to the Winsford Guardian, she is now questioning the whole ‘value and purpose’ of HS2.

Has HS2 lost its 'vey'?

Has HS2 lost its ‘vey’?

Written by beleben

November 6, 2017 at 2:03 pm

Scrapping rail electrification ‘will mean 30-minute longer journeys between Manchester and Liverpool’

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On 3 November, the Yorkshire Post published a column by Hull North Labour MP Diana Johnson, asserting it is time for transport secretary Chris Grayling to be ‘held accountable’.

On Monday (6 November) she will lead a Commons debate on transport in northern England.

Yorkshire Post column by Diana Johnson, 3 Nov 2017

But wouldn’t efforts to hold Mr Grayling accountable have more gravitas, if they eschewed claims such as “scrapping rail electrification will mean 30-minute longer journeys between Manchester and Liverpool”?

Readers of the Beleben blog might recall a similar claim in a Labour press release from August 2017.

[Diana Johnson, Yorkshire Post, 3 Nov 2017][…]

The evidence shows that scrapping rail electrification in favour of hybrid trains will mean 30 per cent more CO2, maintenance costs increasing by a third and fuel costs rocketing 25 per cent. It will mean 30-minute longer journeys between Manchester – Liverpool, and 20-minute longer waits to get from Leeds – Newcastle. No rail network that is not fully electrified merits the prefix ‘high speed’.

While there is a case to be made for electrification of the Midland Main Line, CO2 benefits are unlikely to play much of a role. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see Paul Maynard’s ‘non-answer’, on 31 October, to a question about electric and bi-mode emissions.

Question and 'answer' about MML bimode-vs-electric train carbon emissions, Oct 2017

Written by beleben

November 4, 2017 at 10:36 am

Posted in Politics, Transport

HS2 phase one train bidder shortlist

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Five ‘train-builders’ have been shortlisted for the ‘£2.75 billion’ rolling stock contract for HS2 phase one, High Speed Two Limited has announced. They are Alstom Transport (France), Bombardier Transportation (Germany), Hitachi Rail (Japan), Patentes Talgo S.L.U. (Spain), and Siemens (Germany).

In September 2017, Alstom and Siemens announced plans for the former to be acquired by the latter, with the merged rolling stock operation being headquartered in France. If the merger goes ahead, there is likely to be ‘rationalisation’ of Alstom Siemens manufacturing capacity, and product lines.

Bombardier is also looking to further rationalise its train production capacity, most of which is located in Germany.

Given the extent of factory overcapacity, it seems unlikely that bidders for HS2 phase one trains would want to create significant manufacturing capacity for high speed trains in Great Britain.

gov.uk, hs2 phase one train bidders, 02 Nov 2017

gov.uk, hs2 phase one train bidders, 01 Nov 2017

Written by beleben

November 2, 2017 at 1:00 pm

Posted in HS2