die belebende Bedenkung

Wide does he bother

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In his propaganda video for HS2 Ltd filmed at Milton Keynes Central station, ‘independent rail planning consultant’ William Barter raised the prospect of having to ‘widen’ the West Coast Main Line, if HS2 were not built.

He also claimed that ‘most of the trains on this line are running to the length that the stations can deal with’.

Which is, of course, complete nonsense.

The facts are,

  • ‘most of the trains on this line’ are not ‘running to the length that the stations can deal with’,
  • the capacity of the West Coast Main Line can be vastly increased,
  • and there is no sign of any need for fifth and sixth track plainline north of Watford.

In the Department for Transport’s ‘Maximising WCML capacity without HS2’, the end-state ‘smart-upgrade’ one-way WCML capacity is given as 27,800 passengers per hour, which is considerably higher than the HS2-phase-one-plus-WCML capacity in HS2’s July 2017 economic case.

DfT 'Maximising WCML capacity without HS2' vs Fig 3 from the HS2 July 2017 economic case

If anything, in the view of the Beleben blog, the “27,800” figure is an underestimate of what the WCML should be able to achieve.

Written by beleben

July 10, 2020 at 11:06 am

Posted in HS2

One Response

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  1. There are another 6 tracks already in place (with land, still in place – and originally Parliamentary powers for an additional 2 tracks – in 1906) between London and ‘Milton Keynes’ (the Bedford-Bletchley-Aylesbury arc) All also offer a 12x125mph-track option of routes between London and Birmingham from any one of 4 London termini, and inter-connected at 3 points between London and Milton Keynes

    2 of the routes are approx 112 miles (London-Birmingham) and both can deliver a London-Birmingham journey time of 55-60 minutes with current trains and signalling technology

    There are 3 approaches that can be used to arrive in to Birmingham, one already electrified, one requiring infill electrification, and one main line requiring a full electrification project, and all connecting with 18-22 platforms of a single integrated Central Birmingham station, which also offers through running (without reversals) to every route. The full ‘2 train’ (400m) straight platforms at Snow Hill could also be properly utilised.

    The current Birmingham stations can be connected with a new main concourse (red lounge extension) closing the 400 metres under the centre of the city and giving an station entrances from key locations in the city centre – the distances between platforms are no worse than going from platform 1 to platform 14 at Manchester Piccadilly, and a moving ‘pavement’ can be used. The former Anchor telephone exchange tunnels (and the Royal Mail link to the Mailbox site) might also be used to connect to this new concourse, and enlarged station)

    The delivery of this could have been completed over the past 10 years through a structured plan of smaller projects, which ‘enabled’ long closures of some lines, as trains were re-routed over the alternative routes, as has happened in Scotland, where Transport Scotland’s plan has now delivered 5 fully electrified routes between Edinburgh & Glasgow, a 20% reduction in the fastest journey time (from 50 min (NOT 1 hour as claimed by Greengauge 2020 and HS2) to 40 min, with 3 stops – a faster journey speed for the 100mph trains than St Pancras to Ebbsfleet on HS1!)


    July 19, 2020 at 2:59 pm

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