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Archive for the ‘Bizarre’ Category

Is Crossrail ‘complex’? It’s complicated

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Crossrail is not ‘complicated’, says Crossrail chief executive Mark Wild, but the complex nature of the project is ‘not lost‘ on him (according to ‘Rail’ magazine).

Crossrail is not complicated, says TfL's Mark Wild, but the complex nature of the project is not lost on him

But surely, if Mr Wild is saying ‘Crossrail is not complicated’, then the ‘complex nature of the project’ is ‘lost on him’?

Borat, thumbs up


Written by beleben

August 20, 2019 at 1:36 pm

Posted in Bizarre, London, Railways

Tom has left the building

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'HS2 exit' by Beleben

Former Tony Blair spin doctor Tom Kelly has left High Speed 2 Ltd after over five and a half years, New Civil Engineer revealed on 14 August (then took the story offline, and then put it back again).

Mr Kelly, who utterly failed to turn public opinion on HS2, is understood to have left HS2 Ltd at the start of August. The company ‘has lined up Aileen Thompson as Kelly’s replacement’.

[HS2 director for stakeholder engagement exits, Tim Clark, NCE, 15 Aug, 2019]

Kelly’s departure also comes weeks after the departure of HS2’s phase one managing director Jim Crawford.
Earlier this month the Serious Fraud Office also launched a call for evidence regarding whether HS2 had breached the law relating to the acquisition of properties along the route.

Written by beleben

August 15, 2019 at 8:31 am

Tramway to Curzon HS2 ‘delayed four years’ by Curzon HS2

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The “£137 million” extension of the West Midlands Metro tramway to the proposed Curzon HS2 station and Birmingham ‘Eastside’ may not be operational until 2026, the BBC “understands“.

Laura Shoaf of TfWM on BBC Midlands Today, 14 Aug 2019

TfWM chief Laura Shoaf regrets a possible four-year delay in delivery of this boondoggle

‘Initially earmarked for a 2022 opening’, the extension might now have to be ‘built in two halves and connected in the middle once HS2 has built its station’.

Midland Metro Alliance, Metro routes

West Midlands Metro tramway, airport route (2003 version)

This potheaded scheme forms part of Transport for West Midlands’ bizarre plan to build a tramway from central Birmingham to Elmdon airport and the HS2 ‘interchange’ at Middle Beetroot Bickenhill, at a cost probably exceeding £1,000 million.

Borat, thumbs up

Written by beleben

August 15, 2019 at 6:54 am

Burnham Piccadilly bust-up threatens HS2 eastern leg

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HS2 East campaign IDDuring a “heated” behind-closed doors meeting of Transport for the North’s board in Leeds on 31 July, Manc metro mayor Andy Burnham “refused to back the decision to allow work to continue on HS2 based on the current design, which would allow the line to connect to NPR at six touch points across the North”.

[Exclusive: Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham’s bid for £6bn underground station could delay arrival of high speed rail in the North, Rob Parsons, Yorkshire Post, 9 August 2019]

TfN’s chairman John Cridland was forced to withdraw his officers’ recommendations and the matter will be discussed again at the next TfN board meeting in September.
It is now feared that a lack of agreement may potentially delay the Government’s plans for HS2 to be extended from the Midlands to Leeds and Manchester under Phase 2b of the controversial project, though TfN insists its work is not holding HS2 up.

The current plan is for the legislation to be placed before the Commons in June 2020, based on having a surface station at Piccadilly and an extra HS2 platform at Leeds station instead of a proposed ‘touchpoint’ south of the city where the two high speed lines would intersect.

Any major changes to the Bill would have to come via an ‘additional provision’ (AP), which takes months to prepare and develop.

A confidential TfN document seen by The Yorkshire Post says that a decision later than Summer 2019 “may not leave sufficient time” to develop an AP, potentially meaning the main HS2 Bill can’t be placed by June and jeopardising the promised arrival of the line in the North by 2033. […]

With Mr Burnham wanting through underground platforms at Piccadilly and prime minister Boris Johnson having talked up a new high speed line between Manchester and Leeds, it seems that the eastern leg of HS2 is losing support.

Written by beleben

August 12, 2019 at 9:25 am

Posted in Bizarre, HS2

Taking ownership of BRCW

with one comment

The Beleben blog’s claim that West Coast rail capacity out of London Euston could be doubled by using land earmarked for HS2 was ‘challenged’ by the twitter troll ‘@BRCWCo’ on 7 August.

This person alleged it was ‘the standard stop HS2 scam of double counting’ [?], ‘using 12 coach IEPs on commuter services’ [?], and ‘adding one coach to the current Pendolino’ [?].

@brcwco on twitter, bizarre interaction, 07 Aug 2019

At this point, it might be worth recalling that

  1. the HS2 land at Euston is intended to provide ‘extralong’ platforms for HS2 trains
  2. this land could be used to facilitate extralong platforms for longer West Coast trains, and reorganisation of existing platforms, instead
  3. the fast lines out of Euston are capable of supporting twelve intercity trains per hour, in and out
  4. with signalling renewal, these lines ought to be able to support more than twelve long-distance trains per hour.


  1. if there were twelve intercity departures in an hour, operated by 12-car IEP trains (for example), the total capacity would be in the region of 10,800 seats (i.e. 12 * 900)
  2. 10,800 is roughly double the figure for Euston’s ‘year 2014’ hourly long-distance capacity, as reported by the Department for Transport. (As previously discussed on the Beleben blog.)


'Grey fail'This piece of trolldom foundered on the usual lack of knowledge (for example, believing a 12-car IEP would only have a ‘9% increase in capacity’ over an eleven-car 589-seat Pendolino), combined with an abject failure to read what had actually been written.

Written by beleben

August 8, 2019 at 8:08 am

Posted in Birmingham, Bizarre, 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