die belebende Bedenkung

Archive for September 2021

Midlands Connect ‘true HS2 capacity benefits’ were made up

leave a comment »

26 September 2019 was the day the ‘true benefits of High Speed Two were REVEALED for the first time’, according to a news release from the sub national transport body Midlands Connect about their own ‘in-depth research’ into HS2 released capacity.

Midlands Connect, news release, HS2 released capacity research, 26 Sep 2019

[Midlands Connect, 26 Sep 2019]

Revealed for the first time, 73 stations on the existing rail network stand to benefit from improved passenger services as a direct result of the capacity released by HS2, including 54 stations with no direct HS2 services;

Evidence submitted to the Oakervee HS2 Review by Midlands Connect;

* High speed line will take long-distance rail journeys off the existing network, providing capacity for new routes, as well as faster and more frequent local and inter-regional services;

* HS2 will create space for 576,000 extra seats per day on the high speed network, reducing overcrowding on existing lines;

* Released capacity essential to deliver major regional transport plans Midlands Engine Rail and Northern Powerhouse Rail;

* HS2 frees up space for 144 extra freight trains per day, enough to transport over 2.5 million more lorries’ worth of cargo on our railways each year.

HS2 will free up enough space on the existing railway network to improve rail services for 73 stations across the country, technical analysis by Sub-national Transport Body Midlands Connect has revealed for the first time.

The extra capacity provided by the new high speed line will create space on the existing network to introduce faster and more frequent services, reduce crowding and introduce new services between destinations that do no currently have a direct rail link.

Of the 73 locations that could benefit from HS2’s released capacity, 54 are stations not served by HS2 trains.

By moving long-distance traffic from our current rail infrastructure onto the new high speed line, HS2 will create the extra room needed to improve local and inter-regional services.” […]

[‘True benefits of HS2 REVEALED for the first time; extra capacity would mean improved rail services for 73 stations on existing network’ | Midlands Connect | Thursday 26 September 2019]

The news release was mostly ignored by the mainstream media, but Midlands Connect’s ‘findings’ appeared online in various places, such as the Logistics UK website.

[Zoe McLernon, Multimodal Policy Manager at Logistics UK:] “HS2 presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to make Britain’s transport network more sustainable, and the opportunity for freight via released capacity from HS2 is substantial. HS2’s development will free-up space on the existing rail network for up to 144 extra freight trains per day, potentially removing 10,944 HGVs from the UK’s congested roads every day. 

[HS2: Government must pledge to grow rail freight, says Logistics UK | Friday 06 November 2020]
Midlands Connect, 'Our programme of work is underpinned by a strong evidence base'

Midlands Connect claim that their programme of work is underpinned by a strong evidence base, but curiously, they did not publish the evidence supporting their HS2 released capacity claims. All that was published was a map and ‘projected benefits’ table, allegedly created by ‘in-depth analysis of current local rail strategies, rail models and the Midlands Connect technical programme’.

So, one might ask, in which of these strategies and models can be found support for the specific claims made by Midlands Connect? For example,

  • HS2’s development will free up space on the existing rail network for up to 144 extra freight trains per day‘, and
  • ‘HS2 will free up enough space on the existing railway network to improve rail services for 73 stations across the country’?

When Midlands Connect were asked in a freedom of information request to provide the evidence supporting their September 2019 released capacity claims, West Midlands Combined Authority, which handles their FoI correspondence, did not respond. Eventually, after an intervention by the Information Commissioner’s Office, they did ‘respond’ – by sending the same evidence-free map and table that was already online.

Midlands Connect were then asked to review their response to the FoI request, and provide the ‘in-depth analysis’ mentioned in the ‘projected benefits’ table. Again, they did not respond, until the Information Commissioner told them to.

Finally, on 4 August 2021, the Combined Authority and Midlands Connect admitted, “We have conducted a review and search of the information we hold relevant to your request. We can confirm that we have not identified any additional information we hold. Therefore, we are not in a position to provide you with any further information, that represents “technical analysis”.

ICO direction for Midlands Connect to respond

Written by beleben

September 1, 2021 at 12:09 pm