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Archive for March 2018

Heathrow Crossrail to have premium fares

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In a press release dated 16 March 2018 and titled “Mayor of London announces TfL fares will apply to Elizabeth line”, mayor Sadiq Kahn was ‘delighted to announce that the cost of travelling on the Elizabeth Line [Crossrail 1] in Zones 1 – 6 will be the same price as a similar journey on the tube – fulfilling a key manifesto pledge’.

The press release then went on say that journeys to Heathrow Airport on Crossrail 1 would not be the same price as by Underground.

In other words, the title of the article, and the prominent mayoral quote, are directly at odds with what is actually intended.

Transport for London press release, 'Mayor of London announces TfL fares will apply to Elizabeth line', 16 Mar 2018


Written by beleben

March 19, 2018 at 11:58 am

The lack of detail on HS2 costs

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On 15 March Lord Berkeley wrote to transport secretary Chris Grayling to update him on Michael Byng’s costings for HS2 phase one.

twitter @tonyberkeley1, 'HS2 Phase 1 costs now £51 bn, due to increased scope', 17 Mar 2018

Lord Berkeley letter to Chris Grayling, 2018-03-15, page 1

Lord Berkeley letter to Chris Grayling, 2018-03-15, page 2

Lord Berkeley letter to Chris Grayling, 2018-03-15, page 3

Written by beleben

March 18, 2018 at 10:22 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

Boondoggle versus cleaner air and safe cycling

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UK recommended route cycle signThe number of cyclists killed or seriously injured because of Britain’s badly maintained roads has more than trebled since 2007. But campaign group Cycling UK believes the statistics do not tell the full story because they only cover incidents where police attended the scene – and not all cyclists report injuries to the police (reported the BBC on 16 March).

“Cycling UK is incredibly concerned to see what is clearly a trend on the up showing more people being killed or seriously injured while cycling, all because our roads are in a shocking state,” said campaigns director Simon Jones.

“Unfortunately for cyclists if they hit a pothole, then it’s not just a costly repair bill but also a strong possibility of personal injury or in the worst cases death.”

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West told BBC News that funds earmarked for HS2 should be raided to fix roads.

She said the government would never be able to meet its clean air targets unless it made cycling to work safer for people living in “big cities”.


Written by beleben

March 16, 2018 at 8:29 pm

Posted in Cycling, HS2, Politics

Barca-ing Mad claims

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Since the opening of the Camp de Tarragona – Barcelona section 10 years ago, 85.5 million passengers have travelled on the Madrid – Barcelona AVE high-speed rail. Considering the impact on climate change, pollution and accident rates it can be estimated that €1.3 billion has been saved during the 10 years of the high-speed line’s operation. The environment has been spared 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 [sic], which in energy consumption is equal to almost 1 million tonnes of oil [Global Rail Review reported on 21 February].


However, no source was given for any of these claims. The idea that the environment has been ‘spared’ 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 looks fanciful in the extreme, given the massive greenhouse gas emissions associated with building the line.

Frontier, Atkins, ITS ex post economic evaluation of Mad - Barca AVE, 2011


Written by beleben

March 16, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Emerging baloney research

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The economy of northern England is set for a £15 billion boost if a Northern powerhouse rail station is built in Bradford city centre, according to a report commissioned from Genecon by Bradford city council.


West Yorks Combined Authority, 'North’s economy set for £15 bn boost from Bradford city centre station on Northern Powerhouse Rail', 14 March 2018

Although the report’s claims have been publicised on the West Yorkshire combined authority and Bradford council websites, there seems to be no way of actually consulting the report itself.

Bradford Council, Northern economy set for £15 bn boost, 14 March 2018


Written by beleben

March 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm

Will ‘HS2 college’ train 1,200 students every year?

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The young apprentices at the National College for High Speed Rail [NCHSR] in Birmingham will train 1,200 students every single year, using cutting-edge technology and world-class teaching to get the qualifications and experience they need to build our future railway, according to a Birmingham Mail article ‘written by’ West Midlands mayor Andy Street and HS2 Minister Nusrat Ghani.

'The young apprentices at the National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham will train 1,200 students every single year' (?)

But how would young apprentices be able to train students?

And are there plans to train 1,200 people every single year?

According to figures seen by the Beleben blog, NCHSR had just 69 learners enrolled in January 2018.

NCHSR, learners enrolled in October 2017 and January 2018

For the year 2018 / 2019, the target is 639 learners (apprentices plus ‘Cert HE’), and for the year 2019 / 2020, 852.

How cost-effective, or viable, is NCHSR?


Written by beleben

March 13, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

De-scoped ‘hub vision’ is a longer platform

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Woo-hoo Homer SimpsonOn 9 March the government announced its support for ‘the’ Crewe HS2 hub, following a consultation which yielded just 146 responses (some of which were categorised as null responses, including: identical responses from a single respondent, blank responses, and requests for specific information).

[Government confirms commitment to Crewe Hub vision,, 9 Mar 2018]

“… the government’s support for the Crewe Hub vision means plans for HS2 Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will be modified to include:

* extension of Platform 5 at Crewe to 400 metres, to allow for the splitting and joining of HS2 services, which also opens opportunities to serve Stoke-on-Trent with HS2

* a more efficient design for the proposed platform on the Manchester independent lines, incorporating a transfer deck to the main station

* a change to the design of the southern connection from HS2, so that HS2 joins, and takes over, the central 2 lines on the existing network

The Secretary of State also intends to ask the franchise operator, West Coast Partnership, to include a high speed service to Stoke-on-Trent in its market development and service plans.”

But what exactly is ‘the’ HS2 hub?

It certainly doesn’t resemble what Cheshire East council were promoting, or even what Crewe town council were promoting.

Crewe HS2 Farrells hub visualisation

[Government confirms commitment to Crewe Hub vision,, 9 Mar 2018]

Combined with a HS2 junction north of Crewe (which will be considered as part of Phase 2b), this could allow 5 to 7 HS2 trains per hour to call at Crewe and improve connectivity on the lines from Crewe to Shrewsbury, Chester and Stoke-on-Trent (subject in some cases to further investment beyond Crewe itself).

In summary: HS2 Crewe hub (March 2018 version) = a platform extension at the existing Crewe station, to allow portion working of one HS2 path to Liverpool and Preston.

Written by beleben

March 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2