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Archive for August 2019

Usefully dismissive Jim

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In a November 2013 Greengauge 21 blogpost, rail lobbyist Jim Steer disparaged ‘attempts’ to ‘re-define’ costs of the HS2 scheme ‘ever-upwards’ (with £14 billion of extra contingency added to the “actual” cost of £28 billion).

Greengauge 21 blogpost of 13 Nov 2013, 'actual cost of HS2 is £28 billion'

But in August 2019 – following press reports that the actual cost of HS2 had gone ever upwards, and could vastly exceed the ‘contingency-padded’ £56 billion budget – Greengauge / Jim published a blogpost which completely contradicted their earlier position.

Greengauge 21 blog, 'Review for HS2', extract, 29 Aug 2019

Greengauge 21 spokesperson explains whether additional contingency should be included in the cost of HS2

Greengauge 21 spokesperson explains whether additional contingency should be included in the cost of HS2

Greengauge 21 high speed two proposition (extract), June 2007, costs

Written by beleben

August 30, 2019 at 8:35 am

Posted in HS2

Momentum against the HS2 project is growing

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Spiralling costs, severe environmental damage and unproven use cases mean rumours of failure around high speed rail network project HS2 are growing, Railway Technology reported. Many argue the project’s money should instead be funnelled into improving current services (29 August 2019).

'HS2 proponents hope to revive beleaguered project', Railway Technology, 29 Aug 2019

Written by beleben

August 29, 2019 at 6:19 pm

Posted in HS2

BBC news reports on Crossrail and HS2 ‘to be analysed’

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twitter, @TomBurridgebbc, 'Today we’ve shown that Ministers and HS2 bosses knew #HS2 was over budget years ago. Story took months of work. We all knew that a massive overspend didn’t fall from the sky...but establishing facts surrounding this hasn’t been easy.'

twitter, @catrionalewis, 'Yet again ⁦⁦ @BBCBreaking ⁩news and ⁦@BBCRadio4 are broadcasting one sided anti-HS2 news reports. You don’t question the huge comparitive cost & overrun of Crossrail because you all live in London. This is our West Coast reality  #hs2 #crossrail #brokencountry'

twitter, @catrionalewis, 'Crossrail - £18 billion - 73 miles - only of benefit to people who live in the south = no negative publicity despite being a year late. HS2 - £56 billion - 330 miles - 4.5 times the length but only 3 times the cost - is this a case if under budgeting? @BBCNewsnight @BBCNews'

twitter, @catrionalewis, 'Crossrail is £18 billion for 73 miles. HS2 is due to cost £56 billion for 330 miles so it’s 4.5 times the length but only 3 times the cost. Is today’s real news that it was under budgeted? Any students want a job comparing reports on Cross rail & HS2?  @BBCNews @BBCNewsnight'

twitter, @catrionalewis, 'If the Government refuses to spend money on infrastructure outside London - let’s campaign for lower personal and corporate taxes? Last time I looked the infrastructure investment it was £70 per person per year who lived outside London and £2,000 per person for lucky Londoners'

twitter, @catrionalewis, 'Thanks for all the CVs for the job of analysing all BBC news reports on Crossrail & HS2 - we’ll interviewing next week with a view to a start date of 2nd Sept. Thanks also for the  offers from universities to publish - massively appreciated and I’ll be in touch! @BBCBreakfast'

Written by beleben

August 29, 2019 at 8:51 am

Posted in HS2

Estate of (awful) confusion

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twitter, @CopleyHill, 'Not one single one of you will listen to the people who actually have any expertise in railways, engineering or transport systems. With no practical alternative on the table to address capacity issues of rail in this country, it’s #HS2 or more cars/roads at this point. Awful.'

twitter, @copleyhill with massive Volvo estate car

Written by beleben

August 28, 2019 at 9:22 am

Posted in HS2

Most outrageous claims, by Doug

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'Doug 90 loading'

When Douglas Oakervee was chairman of HS2 Ltd, he said he was “confident we will keep within” the £42.6 billion budget, opponents had ambushed the project with “most outrageous claims” on Twitter, and “It would be catastrophic for the UK [if HS2 were cancelled].”

[Douglas Oakervee: ‘I think the name HS2 is unfortunate’, Mark Leftly meets Douglas Oakervee, The Independent, Sunday 8 September 2013]

[DO:] “What it is going to mean is that the services on the West Coast Mainline initially and East Coast Mainline will rapidly deteriorate. We estimate on the mainline up to Birmingham that for every 10 people seated there will be 10 standing, and you get the same pattern having developed to Manchester by the mid-2020s or 2030.”
[…]
[ML:] He makes several assertions without providing much evidence to substantiate his claims. For example, he claims the consultants’ fees, which The Independent on Sunday revealed earlier this year, were in excess of their initial budgets, well before their contracts had come to an end, are “still within” HS2’s own estimates.

He also makes the rather bold claim that HS2 has “underspent” in quite a few areas. Asked to explain, he says the details are “commercially privileged”, and glares back: “I’ve said, we’re underspent.”

What he forgets is that it is difficult to take HS2’s word on costs as gospel. Earlier this year, the organisation continually denied it had any IT problems. It was only when presented with its own board minutes proving that its systems were plagued by flaws that Alison Munro conceded it was an area “under review”.

'Programming Doug'

Given his history with the project, one might wonder how Mr Oakervee could deliver the ‘independent and rigorous review’ of HS2 that the government put him in charge of, last week. Has the Cabinet Office got some kind of machine that they can load Doug into, to completely change his mindset, while he’s doing his ‘reviewing’?

'Doug 90'

Written by beleben

August 27, 2019 at 8:29 am

Posted in HS2

Sin HS2 posiblemente Talgo

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Sources close to Spanish train building company Talgo say ‘plans to bring more than 1,000 jobs to Fife’ with a £40 million factory at Longannet could still happen ‘if the controversial HS2 scheme is scrapped’.

[ Craig Smith, The Courier, August 26 2019]

[…] The Courier has been assured the Talgo project is still very much on track, with a spokesman insisting the plant is not dependent on it winning the contract to supply the fleet for HS2.

“Recent announcements regarding a review of HS2 are a matter for the UK Government,” the spokesman said.

“Although HS2 is a very important contract, Talgo’s plans for Longannet are not solely reliant on it.”

Written by beleben

August 26, 2019 at 9:58 am

Posted in HS2

‘Defaffinating’ northern rail

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Although it is not true to say that rail lines on the prime routes are already dominant in those transport corridors, concentration on expanding the existing large traffic flows, such as London – Birmingham, London – Manchester, London – Leeds, etc will not achieve a major modal shift – mainly because rail already has a significant slice of the market on those routes which, by themselves, do not constitute the majority of passenger travel in the UK (noted Professor Roger Kemp in his paper ‘Scope for reduction in transport CO2 emissions by modal shift’).

However, this idea of “expanding the existing large traffic flows” lies at the heart of the proposed HS2 railway. Another fundamental problem with HS2 is its inability to free up (or create) more capacity for local travel in conurbations like Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, and Nottingham.

Roger Kemp. 'Scope for reduction in transport CO2', Manchester - Leeds example

‘Northern powerhouse rail’ is supposed to reduce the rail journey time between Manchester and Leeds by spending billions of pounds on a new line, but as Professor Kemp noted, the existing weekday service is four ‘reasonably fast’ trains per hour.

The problem is generally not the in-vehicle time on the intercity portion of such trips, but the ‘faff’ and unreliability associated with real point-to-point travel, which doesn’t start and finish at big-city ‘hauptbahnhof’ stations.

Sadly, these facts are completely lost on many northern and London politicians, and public sector bodies like Transport for the North.

Written by beleben

August 26, 2019 at 9:12 am