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Archive for March 2019

For boondoggle, please sign here

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HS2 would ‘fail a rigorous cost benefit analysis’ and ‘always had a low economic return compared to other projects’, according to Lord Macpherson of Earls Court, who ‘initially signed off the project’.

HS2 would 'fail a rigorous cost benefit analysis' and 'always had a low economic return compared to other projects', Daily Telegraph | No shet Sqlërlok, as they say in Albania

So why did he sign it off?

Olympic Delivery Authority chairman John Armitt: '“Making the economic case for major infrastructure is fruitless [...] I believe economists are capable of delivering any answer the government wants – frankly I don’t believe any of it [...] When you look at these analyses, none of them stand up.”', New Civil Engineer, 2012-06-28

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Written by beleben

March 26, 2019 at 11:17 am

Posted in HS2

It shaw looks grim

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‘Early designs’ by Grimshaw and Glenn Howells Architects for a revamp of Birmingham’s Moor Street railway station ‘to get it ready for HS2’ have been slated by readers of the Birmingham Live website.

Birmingham Live readers' fury at planned revamp of Moor Street station

One of the highlights of the Grimshaw / GHA ‘vision’ must surely be the tragi-comic ‘alien spaceship’ footbridge, which would extend over the Moor Street platforms, and link to the adjacent Curzon Street high speed rail station.

Grimshaw / GHA Moor Street station redevelopment visualisation, 18 Mar 2019

Design of the Curzon HS2 terminus has also been entrusted to Grimshaw and GHA, with equally incongruous results.

HS2 Curzon, Grimshaw and GHA, interior visualisation

In essence, it resembles a Barlow trainshed, but with all of the sense of arrival eliminated by a concrete deck built right over the platforms.

This was the best of the designs submitted?

Written by beleben

March 21, 2019 at 11:06 am

HS2 can rely on Lilian

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Following media coverage of the March 2019 NEF report on HS2, high speed rail stalwart Lilian Greenwood MP took to twitter to claim ‘If passengers undertaking intercity journeys transfer onto HS2 it frees capacity on the existing network for more reliable stopping services & freight enabling modal shift’.

twitter, @LilianGreenwood, 'If passengers undertaking intercity journeys transfer onto HS2 it frees capacity on the existing network for more reliable stopping services & freight enabling modal shift.'

Really? Where is any actual evidence that HS2 would

(a) free any worthwhile capacity on the existing network,

(b) make stopping services more reliable,

(c) enable freight modal shift?

Only a few days ago, transport secretary Chris Grayling went to Cheshire and said HS2 would mean a 'whole load of extra space for local services'

For example, would Winsford’s one stopping train per hour become ‘more reliable’ after £60 billion has been sunk into HS2? If so, how much ‘more reliable’?

Winsford in the HS2 PFM 7.1 assumptions report

Written by beleben

March 20, 2019 at 12:29 pm

Posted in HS2

People’s rail versus vanity rail

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The government’s planned HS2 high-speed railway would make the UK even more divided and should be cancelled in favour of boosting services in the less well-off parts of the country, the New Economics Foundation said, in a report published on 20 March.

'HS2 would widen UK north-south divide and should be axed, says report', The Guardian, 19 Mar 2019

The report, which was commissioned by Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, was also covered by The Times.

The Times, 'HS2 will deepen regional divide as north loses out'

And the Daily Express.

Daily Express, New Economics Foundation HS2 story, March 2019

The analysis looks strong on the big-picture issues, but there is the odd blooper / WTF (for example, on page 14, it says “the capacity of Pendolino Class 390 trains is around 390”).

[A RAIL NETWORK FOR EVERYONE | PROBING HS2 AND ITS ALTERNATIVES, NEW ECONOMICS FOUNDATION, 20 Mar 2019]
[…]
Following a shambolic 18 months on the railways, with disastrous timetable
changes, the wrong kind of weather, and the cancellation of planned
electrification schemes, the government has launched a ‘root and branch’ review.
However, the review is missing some key roots and branches, two of them being HS2 and the latest package of maintenance and upgrades agreed with Network Rail. These have been deemed out of scope but should be included.

There are two fundamental problems with the railways in the UK that, in the interests of ensuring immediate and long-term value for public money, need
addressing before the much-needed major investment is committed. The first is the absence of an overarching rail or transport strategy, which leaves HS2 looking like the solution to a problem that has not yet been defined. It is what many in the rail industry call an engineering-led project rather than something that enjoys strong strategic or economic justification. The second fundamental problem is the chaotic ownership and management structures that will almost certainly lead to the squandering of investment capital.

Written by beleben

March 20, 2019 at 11:41 am

Posted in HS2, Politics, Railways

The next train from platform minus one

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Greater Birmingham chambers, 'Moor Street station designs for HS2 link revealed', 18 Mar 2019

Grimshaw / GHA Moor Street station redevelopment visualisation, 18 Mar 2019

Birmingham Moor Street station vision, initial concepts, Mar 2019

Birmingham Moor Street station, visualisation of Grimshaw / Glenn Howells Architects redevelopment proposal, 18 Mar 2019

Birmingham Moor Street station, visualisation of redevelopment proposal, Grimshaw / Glenn Howells Architects, 18 Mar 2019

twitter @weinsteinlinder, Moor Street station transformation

Written by beleben

March 19, 2019 at 10:22 am

Posted in Birmingham, Centro, HS2, Politics

Absurdity writ large

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‘Northern powerhouse rail’ would mean “a greater number of people living within sensible distances of their jobs, fuelling productivity and economic growth”, according to the Confederation of British Industry twitter feed.

twitter, @CBItweets, 'Northern powerhouse rail will mean a greater number of people living within sensible distances of their jobs'

Eh? Wasn’t Northern powerhouse rail intended to allow ‘people living in Bradford to commute to work in Manchester’ (etc)?

Meaning the ‘idea’ behind NPR is more like the antithesis of having a greater number of people living within “sensible distances of their jobs”.

twitter, @CBItweets, '#NorthernPowerhouseRail will mean shorter journey times and a greater number of people living within sensible distances of their jobs, fuelling #productivity and economic #growth. But it's NOT possible without HS2!'

Obviously, the whole NPR concept is unworkable fantasy, and has nothing to do with local transport in the north. 

Why is the CBI putting out this drivel, and why is it reminiscent of the misinformation put out a few years ago by the Westbourne ‘Campaign for High Speed Rail’?

@dplarge, head of infrastructure, @CBItweets

Written by beleben

March 17, 2019 at 9:47 am

The Edgeley straw man

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The ‘inventor of the world wide web’, Tim Berners-Lee, has his own anxieties about its future, the BBC reported on 11 March. He said, “I’m very concerned about nastiness and misinformation spreading”.

To see examples of ‘online nastiness and misinformation’, one need look no further than the #HS2 Twitter stream. The unrelenting torrent of abuse emanating from an account controlled by the ‘official photographer’ for the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group led to Twitter shutting it down (but of course the perpetrator is back again, using a different name).

Much of the misinformation about HS2 posted on social media seems to take the form of intentionally misrepresented propositions, such as the ‘Edgeley straw man’ offered by ‘@CEaston66’.

twitter @CEaston66, 'People say: scrap HS2 and expand the existing network.[...] How would you go about expanding the approach to Stockport by widening for extra tracks?

Why anyone would want or need to ‘widen the approach to Stockport Edgeley station for extra tracks’, is a bit of a mystery. The station’s existing platforms could accommodate intercity trains seating more than 700 passengers (for example, a 10-car Hitachi IEP, or a 200 km/h version of the Stadler Class 745). And if there were ever a need to reduce the number of movements at Edgeley, there would be numerous options for routeing trains via other lines.

Written by beleben

March 13, 2019 at 11:21 am

Posted in HS2