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Archive for August 2018

Useless nonsense perspective

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Apparently, ‘Rail’ magazine is going to start a sort of ‘fact checking’ service for claims on social media.

Perhaps they should begin with some of the factoids put about by their ‘technical expert’, Gareth Dennis.

Gareth Dennis onabout

Thameslink ‘current’ peak system capacity is 24 trains per hour in each direction? Not on their nelly. Whether that will be reliably achievable with the proposed service pattern, is open to question.

Which bits of the Metropolitan line see 36 trains per hour?

And how does Crossrail ‘currently’ do 24? It hasn’t even opened yet.

twitter, @GarethDennis, useful technical perspective?

In any case, throughput on a metro-type railway is not going to be any kind of guide to capacity on a 360 km/h intercity railway like HS2.

Written by beleben

August 9, 2018 at 10:50 am

A light on disembarkations

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The rail utilisation strategies published by the Strategic Rail Authority contained information of a kind not replicated in later documents created by Network Rail. For instance, the 2005 West Midlands strategy included a breakdown of passenger arrivals at Birmingham New Street, by time of day.

Because of the existence of Silverlink, it was possible to see the relative (un)importance of both intercity and regional West Coast Main Line traffic at Birmingham New Street.

Strategic Rail Authority, 2005, alighting at Birmingham New Street by time band

Most of the passenger volume was, and is, non-WCML and / or short distance. No doubt total volume has increased since the mid-noughties, but the proportions are probably much the same.

Written by beleben

August 9, 2018 at 9:43 am

Easy eighteen

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Pretty easy to achieve

Written by beleben

August 8, 2018 at 9:30 am

Posted in HS2

Opportunity costs of HS2 include more road traffic casualties

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The Times has ‘backed John Armitt’s call for £43 billion for local transport made in the National Infrastructure Review to make the most of HS2’.

twitter, @sjeffrey, 'The Times has 'backed John Armitt's call for £43 billion for local transport made in the National Infrastructure Review to make the most of HS2'

But is ‘a boost for major cities totalling £43 billion’, the same thing as a ‘call for £43 billion for local transport’?

[National Infrastructure Commission]

The National Infrastructure Assessment’s spending plans include funding for projects including Crossrail 2 in London, and Northern Powerhouse Rail linking the major Northern cities, and recommends a boost in funding for major cities totalling £43 billion to 2040, with cities given stable five-year budgets, starting in 2021.

The ‘facts’ and arguments put forward in the Times leader bear little relation to reality. Spending money on bum schemes like the Rotherham tram train, and £872 million airport Midland Metro, makes no sense whatsoever.

Rotherham tram-train, Parkgate

The argument that spending billions of pounds on HS2, and links to it, would encourage a shift from road to ‘a safer form of transport’, is deluded. Building and operating HS2 is bound to result in increased road fatalities, compared to an alternative scenario in which more money was spent directly on making roads safer.

HS2 modal shift as estimated in October 2013

Road travel is generally far more dangerous than rail travel, but the benefit-cost of reducing casualties on the road network by direct improvement is vastly superior to spending the same money on further increasing rail safety, or facilitating a tiny number of motorists to switch to HS2.

Written by beleben

August 7, 2018 at 12:57 pm

Not-quite-so-dirty air zone

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According to Birmingham city council, a ‘Clean Air Zone’ is not actually an area where air would be ‘clean’. Rather, it is an area where “targeted action is taken to improve air quality”. So, a more honest name might be “Not-quite-so-dirty air zone”, or somesuch.

[Birmingham council]

Clean Air Zones aim to reduce all types of air pollution, including nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter, so that people breathe in less of all these pollutants.

Between 4 July and 17 August [2018], Birmingham will be consulting on a Clean Air Zone for the city centre. This would mean that the most polluting vehicles would have to pay a charge to enter the zone.

Birmingham proposed 'Clean Air Zone'

Presumably, ‘the most polluting vehicles entering the zone’ would be the two-stroke EMD Class 66 freight locomotives. So far as can be ascertained, under current plans, all diesel trains would pay £0.00 to enter the zone.

The CAZ proposals appear to be riddled with such absurdities. National Express West Midlands must be Birmingham’s largest single producer of transport pollution, but the council intends to give them a generous ‘quantity discount’. Diesel buses clocking up miles and miles, going in and out of the CAZ all day, would pay just ‘£50 to £100‘ each.

Written by beleben

August 6, 2018 at 7:12 pm

Posted in Birmingham

Crossrail (and HS2) platform height dubbed complicated and burdensome

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London Assembly Transport Committee leader Caroline Pidgeon says 1100mm non-standard height platforms on the new-build central section of the Elizabeth Line (Crossrail) in London will make journeys “unnecessarily complicated and burdensome” for those with disabilities, ‘Rail’ magazine reported.

'Rail' magazine, 1100mm Crossrail platforms are burdensome

Apparently the magazine’s ‘technical expert’, Gareth Dennis, has decided that the Crossrail platforms should have been built at the standard 915mm height. However, Mr Dennis, an HS2 aficionado, or ‘afictionado’, has been strangely quiet about the decision to build HS2 stations with, er, 1100mm platforms. The HS2 trains would stop at more stations on the classic network, with the lower platforms, than they would at the new-build stations.

The effect of choice of platform height on disabled travellers is probably viewed as ‘acceptable collateral damage’, when the focus is on fast boarding for ‘able-bodied’ people. HS2 trains are supposed to spend just 120 seconds, from wheel stop to start, at intermediate stations on the captive network.

Written by beleben

August 6, 2018 at 6:13 pm

Posted in HS2

Spend another £43 billion to make the most of HS2, says John Armitt

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People reaching the end of their journey on the HS2 railway would in many cases face inadequate public transport links, suggested John Armitt, chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), as he claimed that “to get the biggest bang for our buck”, £43 billion extra needs to be spent on something or other.

John Armitt: 'HS2 local links inadequate', Telegraph, August 2018

John Armitt Telegraph article, 5 Aug 2018, via @andrew_adonis

NIC’s July 2018 National Infrastructure Assessment recommended “a boost in funding for major cities totalling £43 billion to 2040”, with mayors and city leaders developing “long-term strategies for transport, employment and housing in their areas”.

Successive mayors may not share the same ideas about transport, employment and housing, so a stable ‘long-term strategy’ might prove difficult to sustain. The power imbalance in the elected mayoralty system tends to lead to the pursuit of vanity projects, such as Boris Johnson’s cable car and garden bridge, and Andy Street’s airport tramway.

Written by beleben

August 5, 2018 at 2:46 pm

Posted in HS2