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Archive for July 2019

Honestly spread truths

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'Failogo'‘Rail’ magazine editor Nigel Harris is concerned “dishonestly spread untruths” about HS2 have been “allowed to take root”, and fears the project is “ill equipped to deal with the approaching storm”.

[Nigel Harris, ‘Rail’ magazine, 31 July 2019]

Here’s an example. A newspaper report [not named by Mr Harris] ages ago claimed that when HS2 is complete at Euston, it will reduce the number of residual non-HS platforms by one third and that ordinary services will be ‘decimated.’ This has been repeated (‘amplified’) relentlessly on social media, where it is left to folk such as you and me to challenge this nonsense. I have seen little – if any – sign of effective and determined HS2 engagement to kill off this view.

The reality here is that there are 18 platforms at Euston now for all express, suburban and commuter traffic. HS2 adds six new platforms for Phase 1, giving a total of 24. For Phase 2, we lose existing Platforms 14-18 to accommodate five further HS2 platforms. That will create 11 HS platforms, leaving 13 platforms for conventional traffic.

So, the number of residual non-HS platforms would be reduced by (5 / 18), or roughly, one third. Whether the newspaper said ‘one third’, or ‘about one third’, is not clear, because the article in question was not identified by Mr Harris.

[Nigel Harris, ‘Rail’ magazine, 31 July 2019]

Yes, this is five platforms fewer than today’s 18 – but all bar a handful of the long-distance trains will have migrated to HS2

This is misinformation from Mr Harris. According to the July 2017 HS2 strategic case, most (4,200 seats) of the Euston long-distance classic capacity would be retained (see ‘Figure 3’ reproduced below).

DfT, July 2017 HS2 strategic case, Figure 3

[Nigel Harris]

– and when you consider that there are some 47 ‘Pendolino’ departures from Euston to Manchester today, this will be a massive reduction in conventional express traffic.

There would not be a reduction of 47 conventional intercity departures from Euston to Manchester (says the Department for Transport’s PFM 7.1 Assumptions Report). In peak hours, two thirds of London – Manchester classic trains would be retained, and in the off-peak, one third.

According to the July 2017 HS2 strategic case, most of Euston’s long-distance classic capacity would be retained (see ‘Figure 3’, reproduced above).

[Nigel Harris]

Further, if we say that broadly six Euston platforms are in use routinely today at any one time for commuter and suburban trains, then there’s an argument to be made that the 13 post-HS2 conventional platforms will represent not a cut of one third, but actually a doubling! Especially as at that point all conventional platforms are effectively for suburban/commuter trains.

This is incorrect. At that point, conventional platforms have to accommodate 4,200 long distance hourly seats in and out, according to ‘Figure 3’ from the July 2017 HS2 strategic case (reproduced above).

Or possibly more than 4,200. For example,

  • Network Rail’s Route Study planning for the year 2043 includes restoration of a third intercity train each hour from Euston to Coventry and Birmingham New Street, and
  • the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders ‘Why HS2’ report suggested new classic long distance trains from Euston to Barrow-in-Furness, Sutton Coldfield, etc.

Written by beleben

July 31, 2019 at 9:27 am

Posted in HS2

HS2 ‘is a £28 billion project’

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HS2 is ‘not a £42 billion project’, it is a ‘£28 billion project with a 50% contingency attached’, Andrew Adonis told the Lords Economic Affairs Committee on 11 November 2014 [from about 17:14:34 on the video].

Andrew Adonis speaks to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee, 11 Nov 2014

Written by beleben

July 29, 2019 at 11:35 am

Posted in HS2

Tom and his issues

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Those who would simply switch out the budget from HS2 have little to say on how to solve the issues that it’s needed to fix, wrote ex-researcher-for-Phillip-Blond-Respublica and Labour politics numpty Tom Follett.

[Tom Follett, Citymetric, 26 July 2019]

Namely, more people travelling between Birmingham and the North; freeing-up space for manufacturers to import materials and export goods along existing lines; and relieving the unreliable and congested West Coast artery.
Whether HS2 is technically the cheapest way to achieve the goals is a fair question. Endless reviews return the same conclusion: it is cheaper to build from new in the fields than pouring concrete around the current route, the most intensively used in Europe, while it’s still running.

Like his former boss Phillip Blond, Mr Follett hasn’t the foggiest idea about the relative costs of new and upgraded rail infrastructure, or the ‘need’ for HS2.

Phillip Blond: 'The cost of the twenty miles more link to Liverpool is between £1.5 and 2.5 billion'.

The cost of a twenty miles more HS2 railway to Liverpool is not going to be “£1.5 to £2.5 billion”. And to cater for ‘more people travelling between Birmingham and the North’ by rail, there is no sign of much need to go ‘pouring concrete around the current route’.

Many of the current services between the Midlands and the northwest, and the Midlands and the northeast, are provided by rinky-dink toytown trains, just four or five cars long. As the 2007 Invensys ‘transport capacity research paper’ concluded, train lengthening is almost always the most cost-effective starting point for capacity uplift.

Invensys transport capacity research paper, extract, Nov 2007

All the evidence suggests that building HS2 is a very poor way of enabling more railfreight. For example, ‘manufacturers’ mostly ‘import materials’ through places which aren’t on the West Coast Main Line (like Felixstowe, Teesport, and Immingham) and whose railways are in poor condition. In many cases goods trains have to traverse busy Overground tracks in London, and these would certainly not be capacity-relieved by HS2.

Written by beleben

July 29, 2019 at 8:13 am

Posted in gibberish, HS2

No-one more fanatical

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Yesterday, on his first visit to Birmingham as Prime Minister, Boris Johnson said the HS2 high speed rail line ‘will cost more than £100 billion‘.

[Boris Johnson: HS2 will cost more than £100bn but I don’t want to scrap it, Jonathan Walker, Birmingham Live, 26 JUL 2019]
And he suggested that Birmingham’s HS2 station at Curzon Street, in the city centre, would be operating as planned in 2026.
Mr Johnson has asked rail expert Doug Oakervee to review HS2, but he suggested this was designed to look for waste rather than to lead to cancelling the scheme.

“I want him to look at it. I want him to look at the profile of the spend, to establish if there’s waste and whether it could be re-profiled in any way.

“But I want to stress to everybody that, look there’s no-one more fanatical about major infrastructure projects than me … I’m going to hesitate for a long time before scrapping any major infrastructure project.”

In October 2013, Railnews reported that ‘expberkt‘ Mr Oakervee – at that time chairman of HS2 – had said that the cost of HS2 phase one was set at £17.6 billion, and he was ‘not interested‘ in any of the £14.4 billion contingency that the Treasury had insisted should be added.

'Andrew Gilligan appointed as bojo transport adviser', The Guardian, 26 Jul 2019

BBC News, Boris Johnson backs high speed Leeds to Manchester rail route, 27 Jul 2019

twitter, @mragilligan, northern support for HS2

twitter, @carltonreid, British PM's transport advisor has a dim view of the government department he will now need to work with: “The DfT I’ve always thought were a complete waste of time.”

Written by beleben

July 27, 2019 at 8:42 am

Posted in HS2

Release the minimal

with one comment

In a series of tweets on 26 July, rail consultant and HS2 enthusiast William Barter admitted that HS2 phase two released no significant rail capacity.

twitter @WilliamBarter1, tweets about building HS2 phase two first

Written by beleben

July 26, 2019 at 9:04 pm

Posted in HS2

The power of love

with 2 comments, HS2 saved our wedding

“With 3 days to go until the big day, the mother of the groom approached a High Speed 2 (HS2) Limited contractor for help.”

As you do.

twitter, @Penny_Gaines, 'Can't help wondering if the Holly Johnson helped by Balfour Beatty at the HS2 site is the same Holly Johnson on Linkin who works for Balfour Beatty'

But does that ‘approach’ tactic, work with other HS2 contractors – or other rail contractors, more generally? If so, there’s people in Yardley who might need some cut-up tree trunks disposed of. Bulky garden waste, it is. Perhaps LM could pop round, with one of their lorries?

Written by beleben

July 26, 2019 at 3:24 pm

Posted in Bizarre, HS2

That pesky Victorian wiring

with one comment

twitter, @WesleyTaylor2, 'Chaos with yet another de-wirement on the ECML today. Do we spend billions patching up a Victorian railway for sub optimal gains, or do we build a brand new purpose built mainline with huge capacity gains and without the inherent flaws of existing lines?'


Written by beleben

July 24, 2019 at 7:44 am

Posted in Bizarre, HS2, Railways

Significantly less Patrick

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Patrick McLoughlin's HS2 comments reported in the Daily Telegraph, 11 Sep 2013

Patrick McLoughlin MP, HS2 trainspotting

Written by beleben

July 23, 2019 at 11:03 am

HS2 station is a waste of space, says Andy Burnham

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Mancunian metro-mayor and HS2 supporter Andy Burnham has attacked HS2 Ltd’s plans for a ‘surface’ high speed station at Manchester Piccadilly, at an IPPR North event on the future of rail services. Apparently, he wants a ‘Stuttgart 21‘ type arrangement at Piccadilly, to free up space for real-estate development.

twitter, @dneuerer, '#Stuttgart21 wird für die #Bahn wohl zum Finanzdesaster'

[Manchester is so congested, so manic, the mayor reckons we need an underground tube system, Jennifer Williams, MEN, 19 JUL 2019]

Adding that in Manchester rail bosses only want to do so ‘because they can’, he added: “What right has the rail industry got to come here and take all the land away around our train station just because they can, because it’s cheaper?”
Instead, he said, HS2 – which will need to be tunnelled under parts of Manchester anyway – should be linked up with HS3, also known as Northern Powerhouse Rail, and into a wider underground network.

“That for me is now what Manchester needs,” he said, rather than a ‘cut price’ option, adding that he ‘struggles to come to any conclusion that it needs something other than underground’.

“To do all this on the surface won’t make sense, otherwise you turn most[*] of Manchester into a railway station” […]

[* The Guardian’s account of this speech says “half of central Manchester”.]

Andy Burnham: HS2 a 'poor deal for most of the region's taxpayers', MEN, 4 Feb 2014

Written by beleben

July 22, 2019 at 8:42 am

Posted in Manchester, Politics

Capacity facts are bilge, says ‘Rail’ Richard

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On the Great Western and East Coast railways, the introduction of more space-optimised rolling stock has supported an intercity capacity increase of 28% to 40%, according to IEP train manufacturer Hitachi.

On intercity West Coast, the use of space-optimised rolling stock would allow a ~36% increase in seated capacity in the peak, without the need for platform lengthening, or significant lineside interventions.

twitter, @Clinnick1, 'Absolutely one for @paul_rail and @RAIL's TweetCheck column. What bilge. #HS2'

It’s no secret that a 260-metre (10-car) IEP train, or Stadler ‘Flirt 200’, could seat around 715 passengers. So, such trains would be compatible with existing platform lengths on West Coast, and the resulting increase in seats in the high pm peak would be around 36%, compared to the ‘current’ seats in the July 2017 HS2 strategic case.

‘Long distance’ services in
5pm – 6pm peak hour out of Euston (with 11 of 15 fast paths allocated to intercity)
‘Current’ seats
(HS2 July 2017
Strategic Case)
Seating with
26 metre carriages
using full
platform length
1 Birmingham New Street 470a 715d
2 Birmingham New Street 470a 715d
3 Glasgow 591b 715d
4 Glasgow 591b 715d
5 Holyhead 512c 630e
6 Lancaster 470a 715d
7 Liverpool 591b 715d
8 Liverpool 470a 715d
9 Manchester 591b 715d
10 Manchester 470a 715d
11 Manchester 470a 715d
Total 5696 7780
a = Pendolino 9-car | b = Pendolino 11-car | c = Voyager 2 * 5-car | d = IEP 10-car | e = IEP 2 * 5-car
Figures sourced from the Department for Transport

Obviously, much the same reasoning can be applied to increasing commuter capacity out of Euston, comparing ’12-car Class 350′ against ’10-car Class 730′, or variants of the ’12-car Class 700′ with different seating configurations.

twitter, @XandF, 'Perhaps if the rolling stock had no seats then yes technically capacity would increase, but I doubt passengers would put up with it!!'

@XandF on twitter, 715-seat trains have no seats (?)

Written by beleben

July 21, 2019 at 1:05 pm

Posted in HS2