die belebende Bedenkung

Archive for May 2019

Nought out of ten

leave a comment »

One reason Richard Fisher, owner of Ten Transport Consultancy Ltd, can’t wait for HS2 to be built is that he can’t wait for the day when he’s not following mixed traffic at walking pace [on the railway] between Coventry and Birmingham!

twitter, @RichRichbaboon, 'One reason I can’t wait for HS2 to be built is that I can’t wait for the day when I’m not following mixed traffic at walking pace between Coventry and Birmingham!'

It looks like Mr Fisher will be in for a very long wait. Because HS2 would not eliminate mixed traffic on the railway between Coventry and Birmingham.

SLC Rail, Coventry - Birmingham timetable structure in 2013

If HS2 were built, the legacy two-track line via Stechford and Hampton in Arden would still need to accommodate fast and stopping passenger services, as well as freight.

High Speed Two would release virtually no capacity between Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, and Coventry.

Even if it were possible, removing fast trains from the classic line would not be a desirable objective.

Centro, Coventry line HS2 connectivity, 2014

‘Eliminating mixed traffic’ would mean anyone travelling between Coventry and Birmingham having to endure a somewhat tedious ride on the stopping trains.

Written by beleben

May 31, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Posted in gibberish, HS2

What is the predicted demand for Euston commuter seats?

leave a comment »

Although ‘Figure 3’ of the July 2017 Strategic Case presented figures for the modelled peak hour supply of Euston commuter seats ‘with HS2’, there was no corresponding presentation of the anticipated demand for these seats.

Euston capacity, HS2 strategic case, July 2017

So what information is held by the Department for Transport regarding this demand?

DfT FoI response, April 2019, no information is held on forecast demand for Euston rail commuter seats

Written by beleben

May 22, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

Les décennies de négligence

leave a comment »

Further cutbacks of classic railways in France could leave entire regions of the country ‘completely isolated’ (Railway Technology reported).

Extract from 'Saving Frances rural railways', 02 May 2019

[Saving France’s rural railways: is there a light at the end of the tunnel?]

[…] “Regional railways have been neglected for decades as the priority has been given to high-speed lines, and there is also a constant, important decline of regional lines,” explains Michel Quidort, a member of FNAUT’s National Board and president of the European Passengers’ Federation.

Extract from 'Saving Frances rural railways', 02 May 2019

Written by beleben

May 19, 2019 at 8:51 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

More technical illiteracy from Midlands Connect

with 4 comments

In their response to the House of Lords Economic Affairs report ‘Rethinking HS2’, Midlands Connect claimed: “Speed is fundamental to increasing capacity. Slowing the new railway down will limit its capacity, ability to support faster and more efficient trains, and its attractiveness as an environmentally-friendly alternative to domestic air and car travel.”

Midlands Connect: 'Speed is fundamental to increasing capacity. Slowing the new railway down will limit its capacity, ability to support faster and more efficient trains, and its attractiveness as an environmentally-friendly alternative to domestic air and car travel. '

Obviously, Midlands Connect don’t understand the relationship between train speed, signalling, and capacity.

Bombardier, HS2 capacity evaluation, 2011, figure three

Yet they’re supposed to be in charge of developing the West Midlands rail network (!)

Written by beleben

May 16, 2019 at 4:04 pm

Repurposing HS2 land and prep

leave a comment »

Much HS2 destruction has taken place, but no construction

On BBC Radio’s Westminster Hour (12 May), the outgoing head of the National Audit Office, Amyas Morse, questioned whether it would still be possible to cancel HS2 phase one (London to West Midlands).

Intercity trains at Euston

The situation is that although well over £4 billion has been spent, not one yard of track has been laid. Cancelling HS2 phase one is a feasible and attractive option, and much of the land and property acquired on the route could easily be re-sold.

There would also be the possibility of repurposing certain HS2 lands for alternative transport purposes. For instance, on the west side of Euston, new long platforms could be built, but connected into the West Coast Main Line. This would enable 12-car IEP, or similar trains, to run from London to the Midlands and north, on existing tracks, at some point in the future.

For example, the metro mayor of Liverpool, Steve Rotheram, wants to build a new station with long platforms in his city. So, in principle, 900-seat intercity trains could run from Euston to Merseyside, on existing West Coast Main Line tracks.

Another repurposing option might entail building a section of HS2 from Old Oak Common as far as the Great Central alignment in Buckinghamshire. Re-using the existing GC alignment from there as far as the outskirts of Leicester would create new capacity with much reduced environmental impacts (e.g. much lower embedded carbon), and allow local benefits which are entirely absent in the HS2 scheme. Connection with the West Coast Main Line could be made east or west of Rugby, and would require some kilometres of new-build.

Calvert interchange station concept (Beleben)

The local benefits of this option would come from stations at Calvert, Brackley, Woodford Halse, Rugby, and Shawell.

Written by beleben

May 16, 2019 at 10:01 am

Posted in HS2

‘There should be no embarrassment’

leave a comment »

On 16 May, the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee published its report ‘Rethinking High Speed 2‘, which considered the business case for the railway, and followed up on its 2015 report ‘The Economics of High Speed 2’.

[House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee, 16 May 2019]

As we concluded in our 2015 report Economics of High Speed 2, “there should be
no embarrassment in being prepared to revise the project: the objectives and
cost are too important.”

HS2 needs rethinking says Lords Economic Affairs Committee, 16 May 2019

[BBC News, 19 May 2019]

HS2 will not offer value for money and risks “short changing” the North of England, a group of peers has warned.

A report from the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee also said it was “far from convinced” the new high-speed railway will be built within the £55.7bn budget.

It said the project should not go ahead without a new assessment of its costs and benefits.

The government said it “fundamentally disagreed” with the report.

twitter, Nottingham MP @LilianGreenwood, HS2 would be transformative for our connectivity

4% of 'HS2 full network' transport user benefits would accrue to the East Midlands

Written by beleben

May 16, 2019 at 8:14 am

Posted in HS2, Planning, Politics

It’s totes unknown

leave a comment »

Borat thumbs up

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, the company responsible for developing and promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network, holds no information about transfer times between platforms at London Euston and London St Pancras; Bickenhill HS2 and Birmingham International; Birmingham Curzon Street and Birmingham New Street; Toton HS2 and Nottingham; or Toton HS2 and Derby (according to the company’s April 2019 response to a freedom of information request).


Joe Rukin
26 April 2019

Dear J Rukin,

Thank you for your information request of 25 March. Your request has been considered under the Freedom of Information 2000 (“the FOIA”).

In your email you requested the following information:

Please provide me with the transfer times you expect between the station
platforms which passengers would be expected to take following to
completion of HS2, noting the the £55.7bn funding envelope for HS2. I wish
to be very specific that you should not include any assumptions that there
would be any additional expenditure on transport infrastructure outside
the £55.7bn HS2 budget envelope.

* London Euston to London St Pancras
* Birmingham Interchange to Birmingham International
* Birmingham Curzon Street to Birmingham New Street
* Toton to Nottingham
* Toton to Derby


Under the FOIA you have the right to:
• know whether we hold the information you requested
• be provided with that information (subject to any exemptions under the Act which may apply).

We hold no information in respect of this request.

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited is the company responsible for developing and
promoting the UK’s new high speed rail network.

Birmingham City Council (, Transport for London
(, Nottingham City Council
( and Derby City Council
( may be able to assist you, specifically point-to-point journey times by available modes of transport. Other online resources such as journey planners could also assist you in identifying this information.

Right to Review
If you are unhappy with the way we have handled your request or with the
decisions made in relation to your request, you may complain in writing to HS2 Ltd at the address below. Please also see attached details of HS2 Ltd’s complaints procedure and your right to complain to the Information Commissioner.

Please remember to quote reference number FOI19-3165 in any future communication relating to this request.

Yours sincerely

Alistair Hobbs
Briefings, Correspondence and FOI Adviser
High Speed Two (HS2) Limited

Your right to complain to HS2 Ltd and the Information Commissioner

You have the right to complain to HS2 Ltd within two calendar months of the date of this letter about the way in which your request for information was handled and/or about the
decision not to disclose all or part of the information requested.
Your complaint will be acknowledged and you will be advised of a target date by which to
expect a response. Initially your complaint will be re-considered by the official who dealt with
your request for information. If, after careful consideration, that official decides that 
his/her decision was correct, your complaint will automatically be referred to a senior independent
official who will conduct a further review. You will be advised of the outcome of your complaint and if a decision is taken to disclose information originally withheld this will be done as soon as possible.

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:

Information Commissioner’s Office
Wycliffe House
Water Lane

Written by beleben

May 14, 2019 at 12:46 pm

Posted in Bizarre, HS2

Doing any more

leave a comment »

'TfN has a Strategic plan?'Peter Hendy, Network Rail’s chairman and a board member of Transport for the North (TfN), credits TfN chair John Cridland as the “real hero” for turning ‘demands into a strategic plan’.

[The north is on track for a boom, says former London transport chief, Gwyn Topham, The Guardian, 8 May 2019]

The transport secretary, Chris Grayling, has said Crossrail 2 cannot move ahead before the one nailed-on infrastructure scheme for the next five years: the TransPennine upgrade, wholly northern, and, at nearly £3bn, the top project in Network Rail’s current funding round. Hendy denies it is a watered-down version of the promised rail work, despite the shelving of full electrification. The plans are as extensive as possible given the disruption further engineering work would spell for passengers, he says: “In five years, if we do any more we will destroy rail travel between Manchester and Leeds.”

“Do any more”, than what?

So far as can be ascertained, the ‘plan’ is to close the line east of Stalybridge for months on end, in order to, er, not gauge clear it, and not install electrification.

twitter, @tonyberkeley1, 'At an All party rail in the North meeting, Andrew Haines, Chief Executive of Network Rail, reminded the audience that the upgrade of the main transpennine route would involve complete closure for 39 weeks each year for 4 years. I wonder how many passengers have twigged this?'

Written by beleben

May 13, 2019 at 9:56 am

The state of things to come

leave a comment »

Kirkby station by Raymond Knapman, Creative Commons

twitter @WilliamBarter1, Northern rail investment like this, right now

Picture of Kirkby station by Raymond Knapman, Creative Commons, with impression of CAF diesel train instead of railbus

Borat, thumbs up

Written by beleben

May 8, 2019 at 10:53 am

Why all the short trains?

leave a comment »

In 2008, the Department for Transport approved the manufacture of 106 additional Alstom Pendolino vehicles for extra capacity on the intercity West Coast  (ICWC) franchise. These vehicles allowed the lengthening of 31 existing Class 390 trainsets from nine to eleven carriages, and creation of four additional eleven-carriage units.

At that time, there was an option for the Department to procure a further 42 vehicles, to allow the 21 remaining nine-carriage Pendolinos to be lengthened to eleven carriages.

However, this option was not taken up. As a result, in 2017, only four of the eleven peak-hour ICWC departures from Euston were ‘full length’ (i.e., making full use of the available platform expanse).

Information from DfT about intercity West Coast Euston train composition, 2018

So if there is a ‘looming intercity capacity crunch’ on the West Coast Main Line, why didn’t the Department opt to have all Pendolinos lengthened to 11 carriages?

The indications are that the Department deemed the forecast demand as insufficient to justify the investment.

Needless to say, increasing capacity by lengthening trains is vastly cheaper than building new lines.

Written by beleben

May 8, 2019 at 9:12 am

Posted in HS2, Politics