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The ‘470 miles’ of HS2, and other unfacts

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During a visit to Crewe yesterday HS2 minister Andrew Stephenson said he was committed to ‘ensuring Yorkshire and the East Midlands benefit from high speed rail services’ amid further reports that the eastern leg of the scheme is to be scrapped (Cheshire Live reported on 24 August).

So, does this ‘commitment’ to ‘ensuring Yorkshire and the East Midlands benefit from high speed rail services’ mean that the the eastern leg of HS2 is going to be built?

In the view of the Beleben blog, probably not.

‘High speed rail services’, what does that mean? Yorkshire and the East Midlands have had high speed rail services for years, in the form of HSTs, etc.

twitter, @corecities: ;Cracking comment piece from @RAIL' [...], 23 Aug 2021

According to a ‘comment special’ focused on the HS2 eastern leg (“HS2E”) written and posted on twitter by ‘Rail’ magazine editor Nigel Harris, “Until I hear Prime Minister Boris Johnson reverse his […] unambiguous promise to “build the HS2 network in its entirety”, then Government policy remains unchanged, whatever the headlines.’

Whatever the headlines, government policy has (obviously) changed. Because HS2 Ltd has stopped development work on the eastern leg of HS2, on government instruction.

What is customarily referred to as ‘phase 2b’, now in practice refers to, ‘at best’, two different phases, with different delivery dates.

Mr Harris’s comment is the usual smorgasbord of unfacts, misinformation, and unverifiable statements, as might be expected. It gave the length of HS2 as “470 miles” (756 km), which is one of the unfacts disseminated across the internet by Gareth Dennis under his own name, and also using the ‘Permanent Rail Engineering’ moniker.

On further examination, much of the content of Mr Harris’s comment would seem to have originated in the imagination of Mr Dennis.

Nigel Harris, Rail Magazine edition 397, Comment, part one
Nigel Harris, Rail Magazine edition 397, Comment, part two
Article by Gareth Dennis published by CityMetric claiming that HS2 is 470 miles long and the Woodland Trust

Nigel Harris commentary The actuality
“Without the eastern arm, HS2’s whole purpose is destroyed and it becomes nothing more than a very expensive West Coast Main Line by-pass, benefiting only the western half of the country – and with a much worse BCR (benefit:cost ratio) as well.” With or without the eastern leg, HS2 is not much more than a very expensive West Coast Main Line by-pass.

 

As Jim Steer of Greengauge 21 admitted, HS2 would not have the capacity to take all express traffic from the Midland and East Coast Main Lines.

At the time of writing, neither the government nor HS2 Ltd have ever published a benefit-cost ratio for the eastern leg alone. (Or for the western leg, for that matter.)

“Far from ‘levelling up’, the Prime Minister would fragment the UK further by adding an east-west economic divide to the long-existing north-south problem.” There is no evidence for this claim.
“The Conservatives would be committing political suicide by scrapping HS2E” According to opinion polling, more people in northern England oppose HS2 than support it.
“Over the past 30 years, the ECML has not delivered performance much above 88%, which is an indication of how hard-pressed this near-200-year-old infrastructure is today.” The East Coast track, signalling, telecoms, and electrification is not “200 years old”, in any meaningful sense.
“Scrap HS2E and millions of people in and around Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Teesside and Tyneside will all have to struggle on with ancient rail infrastructure which can barely cope today” Construction of HS2 would not fix any ‘ancient rail infrastructure’ in and around Sheffield, Leeds, Bradford, Teesside and Tyneside.

 

Indeed, HS2 would likely crowd out investment in those lines.

“while to the west, a very expensive and shiny HS2 WCML by-pass will deliver major benefits for millions of people and hundreds of stations in western England.” There is no evidence that the HS2 western leg would deliver “major benefits” for “millions of people and hundreds of stations in western England”.
“For the UK to stand any chance of hitting its GHG (greenhouse gas) targets on time, rail needs to double its capacity in the next 30 years.” There is no evidence for this claim.
“This simply cannot be done by any amount of existing route capacity enhancement, and it is fantasy to think otherwise.” There is no evidence for this claim.
“Remember the West Coast Route Modernisation, 20 years ago? It came in five times over budget, caused a decade of ruinous and costly disruption, and yet yielded only minor capacity improvements.” WCRM was predominately replacement of worn-out assets, and deferred maintenance.

 

The Campaign for Better Transport stated that WCRM increased capacity by “up to three times” on key routes.

“…anyone who seriously believes that we can tackle climate change by fitting overhead live wires on motorways and pantographs on lorries is equally disconnected from reality” Anyone who believes climate change can be ‘tackled’ by HS2 would need to explain how HS2’s net increased CO2e emissions over 120 years, ‘tackles’ climate change.
“HS2E is the only way to achieve the doubling of capacity on the network as a whole.” There is no evidence for this claim.
“the fact that it’s the fast trains that will switch to HS2 turbo-charges this benefit because 125mph trains are very greedy on space – they need many miles to stop and require lots of dear track in front of them” HS2 would not serve important locations currently served by express trains (e.g. Coventry, Peterborough, Wakefield, Leicester), nor would it have the capacity to accept transfer of all express trains using the West Coast, Midland, and East Coast main lines.

 

The claim that 125mph trains are ‘very greedy’ on space is somewhat devoid of meaning. ‘Very greedy’, compared to what?

“Put all the WCML, MML and ECML fast trains onto HS2W and HS2E and you have three suddenly very quiet main lines on which you can run an intense 100mph stopping train service to many more intermediate stations, along with lots more freight.” HS2 would not have the capacity to accept transfer of all express trains using the West Coast, Midland, and East Coast main lines. There is no evidence  ‘you could run an intense 100mph stopping train service to many more intermediate stations, along with lots more freight.’ The PFM model makes no such claim.
“At Leeds, the removal of 125mph trunk route expresses from the East-West platforms onto HS2E’s new platforms will release both the currently heavily-congested terminus and through platforms for more services into the Wharfe and Aire valleys and towards Bradford, as well as much more space for services linking across the city towards Huddersfield in one direction and Hull in the other.” This claim is not supported in the PFM modelling, nor in the KPMG / SDG ‘Released capacity’ report.
“The emerging Transpennine Route Upgrade will become impossible because it relies on the released capacity at Leeds cre-ated by moving the fast trains onto HS2. “ Unevidenced. In fact, TRU is supposed to be completed in advance of HS2 phase two.
“At Sheffield (already congested by cut-backs), HS2E will provide greatly enhanced capacity through segregating infrastructure and enabling many more local services.” There is no evidence for this claim. HS2 trains would have to use existing track to access Sheffield, and be accommodated within the existing station envelope.
“In the East Midlands, both Derby and Nottingham would lose out because of the station capacity currently clogged up by regular direct London trains.” In the East Midlands, both Derby and Nottingham station capacity would be clogged up by Toton shuttle trains, if there were to be a shuttle to meet each HS2 train.
“Birmingham, too, would lose out heavily, as no HS2E means that New Street will have to continue serving long-distance expresses which would all move to Curzon Street.” This is ‘heavily’ nonsensical. HS2 could not replace many long distance services from Birmingham, such as cross country trains to Cambridge, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, and Reading.
“Building HS2E is by far the fastest, most cost-effective way to enable and deliver all these benefits to hundreds of stations and millions of people. Existing network upgrades, as the West Coast Route Modernisation proved two decades ago, are slower, more expensive, more disruptive and of only marginal benefit.” This is contradicted by the actuality.

 

The WCRM programme had a shorter timespan than HS2, cost a small fraction of HS2, and was far more cost-effective than HS2.

“Here’s just one clear benefit which critics choose to ignore. Capacity release enabled by HS2 at Birmingham New Street, for example, has a hugely beneficial impact on key services to Aberystwyth alone. It will enable more frequent services right across central Wales and its intermediate stations, and they might actually run on time, too, rather than being perpetually delayed (as at present) by waiting outside Wolverhampton to find their way through the congestion which HS2 would eliminate.” This is laughable. There is no evidence that HS2 would eliminate ‘waiting outside Wolverhampton’, and no standout benefit to running ‘mickey mouse’ trains from the lightly used Aberystwyth line all the way to Birmingham New Street, (or Birmingham International) anyway.

 

Perfectly sane options might include running Aberystwyth trains as far as Shrewsbury, or Wolverhampton, with a change of train for the onward journey to Birmingham, etc.

“HS2 deserves credit for having an impact on just 58 hectares of woodland over 470 miles of route.” These numbers may be incorrect. (The second number is definitely incorrect.)
“Scrapping HS2E would be political suicide for Prime Minister Boris Johnson personally, for the MPs of the ‘Red Wall’ […] Much more importantly, millions of people will be denied the life chances, jobs and wider benefits they both deserve and need.” This is magic mushroom stuff, completely unevidenced.

Written by beleben

August 24, 2021 at 7:07 pm

Posted in gibberish, HS2

When parroting nonsense is easy but fact checking is hard

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Why is so much of the railway coverage in the UK media misleading and inaccurate? To some extent, it must be down to correspondents not having the time or background knowledge required to cut through and furnish readers with cogent and reliable information.

Consider, for example, The Times article ‘Tickets, please, for the hybrid tech express‘ (Graeme Paton, Saturday July 24 2021) whose main story is about Chiltern Railways’ hype to “significantly cut” carbon emissions and air pollution by installing battery packs on its diesel trains, ensuring ‘that the “last mile” of the journey into each station runs solely on battery power’.

twitter, @GarethDennis, 'Good cutaway by 
@BenCooke135 in this Times piece... Compare Germany's sustainable transport ambitions to the UK's, and it becomes pretty clear how little interest our government has in actually tackling climate change.'

But where are the figures demonstrating this allegedly “significant” cut in emissions? And why is the main picture of Kings Cross, rather than of a station on Chiltern Railways?

Unfortunately, for the sub-article ‘It’s time Britain got on board with Germany’s rail revolution’ (Ben Cooke), The Times decided to treat Gareth Dennis as a reliable source.

twitter, @GarethDennis, 'Of course, you need enhanced regional and national links to enable suburban transport networks to exist in the first place... Again something we in the UK are desperately dragging our feet on. Good to see another journo who
S-Bahn Berlin GmbH traces 'birth' of the Berlin S-Bahn to the year 1924, although the name was apparently not used until 1930

In the sub-article, it is claimed that the S-Bahn networks in German metropolitan areas are “made possible by Germany’s intercity lines, which are dedicated to high-speed trains. In contrast, many slow, local trains in the UK share lines with faster trains, limiting capacity without a fast train crashing into a slow one.”

and

[Ben Cooke, parroting Gareth Dennis:] The main advantage of HS2 is not that it would speed up the journey from Birmingham to London but that it would free up space for local mass transit.

Needless to say, the S-Bahn networks in German metropolitan areas were not “made possible” by Germany’s intercity lines, nor are most of those lines “dedicated to high-speed trains”. Most high speed train travel in Germany happens on upgraded, legacy, mixed-traffic lines, and most of the S-Bahn systems were in existence years before work on the ‘InterCity Express network’ had even been thought of, or started.

And exactly where would the London to Birmingham HS2, “free up space for local mass transit”? Out of Euston, there already is a sort of S-Bahn (the ‘dc lines’), and another separate pair of outer suburban commuter tracks, running alongside those used by intercity trains.

On the two-track section between Coventry and Birmingham, HS2 is planned to make little or no difference to the mix of stopping and semi-fast trains, and the idea that it would somehow enable provision of ‘high frequency mass transit’ is laughable. With the possible exception of the Longbridge to Four Oaks section of the so-called ‘Cross city line’, the local train service in the West Midlands is low-capacity ‘mickey mouse transit’.

Written by beleben

July 26, 2021 at 2:01 pm

Pulling your (eastern) leg

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High Speed Two is a project built on lies, delusion, and wishful thinking. But mostly, just on lies, as is so amply demonstrated by the deplorable (and publicly-funded) ‘HS2 East’ campaign.

One of their latest claims is that ‘delivering’ the eastern leg of HS2 ‘could’ add nearly 70,000 trips between Leeds and London every day. Though, actually, this ‘could’ happen, in much the same way as Nottingham county council leader Kay Cutts ‘could’ be the first astronaut to walk on Mars.

HS2 East Prospectus, v1-0, 'HS2 could add 70,000 trips between London and Leedsdaily'

‘Adding 70,000 trips per day’, would mean adding about 25 million per year. To put that in context, in the year 2013 / 2014, there were about 1.8 million rail passenger journeys between Leeds and London, according to the HS2 Ltd South Yorkshire Report.

In the year 2013 / 2014, there were about 1.8 million rail journeys between Leeds and London, according to the HS2 Ltd South Yorkshire Report

twitter,  @Transport_Nottm, '#HS2East delivers benefits to a region larger than #London or the entire economy on Denmark[.] An additional £4.2b of economic output would seen across the East Midlands, North West and Yorkshire'

Written by beleben

July 9, 2020 at 3:40 pm

Posted in gibberish, Leeds

When you’re in a colossal hole, keep digging

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'Boris Johnson says Government must ‘keep digging’ on HS2', By Patrick Daly, PA Political Correspondent, 31 Jan 2020

Written by beleben

January 31, 2020 at 6:21 pm

Posted in Bizarre, gibberish, HS2

Where to start with this nonsense?

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twitter, @JohnMorrisHello, 'Excellent analysis of 'HS2 tosh' from Paul Bigland. If you prefer facts to assertions when it comes to HS2, you might want to read this. It demolishes the rather quirky claims made by an eminent professor.'

Following his assertion that Professor Dieter Helm should go talk to (unnamed) rail ‘experts’, the ‘official photographer’ for the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group blogged a bizarre ‘analysis’ which claimed Prof Helm ‘has no idea that we spent £9 billion upgrading the West Coast Main Line just 12 years ago’.

HSRILG official photographer's blog, '£9 bn spent upgrading the West Coast Main Line'

Actually, it seems likely that the Professor would have no idea that ‘we spent £9 billion upgrading the West Coast Main Line just 12 years ago’, because it’s (obviously) not true.

As the Department for Transport acknowledged, ‘the West Coast renewal and modernisation programme comprised £2.5 billion of infrastructure upgrades‘ (not £9 billion) and ‘£6.5 billion of infrastructure renewals’.

Campaign for Better Transport, West Coast main line, 'Capacity has been increased by up to three times on key routes'

Just £2.5 billion of infrastructure enhancements made possible a big increase in passenger numbers and freight traffic.

DfT, 'the West Coast renewal and modernisation programme comprised £2.5 billion of infrastructure upgrades and £6.5 billion of infrastructure renewals'

The official photographer then provided a link to Network Rail’s tragic ‘New Lines Programme’ (which claimed that the West Coast Main Line will be ‘full by 2020’, ‘there are no further enhancements that can be made to the existing route that could meet future demand’, and ‘a [£34 billion] high-speed line to Scotland more than pays for itself’).

Network Rail, 'The case for new lines', 'no further enhancements can be made'

Despite having provided a link to Network Rail’s claim that ‘there are no further enhancements that can be made to the existing route that could meet future demand’, the official photographer asserted that ‘No-one has claimed that existing lines can’t be upgraded’. Yes, they have. Network Rail have, as in, “there are no further enhancements that can be made to the existing route that could meet future demand”.

HSRILG official photographer, 'analysing' Roade trains

The official photographer also provided ‘a copy of actual train workings’ between ’07:00 and 08:00′ from ‘real time trains’ for Roade, ‘which is on the two track section of the West Coast Main line South of Rugby’. But inspection of the ‘copy of actual train workings’ revealed it showed trains using four tracks at Roade, not two, and over a time period of more than 60 minutes.

What this straw man nonsense was supposed to prove, is anyone’s guess. Obviously, the West Coast Main Line south of Rugby at 8am is not representative of Britain’s main line railways in terms of its capacity utilisation. What Professor Helm said about railway capacity and upgrading was, in essence, correct.

IMechE railway capacity report, 'While engineers and operators declare that the railway is capacity-constrained, tracks are empty most of the time.'

Written by beleben

September 12, 2019 at 11:14 am

Posted in gibberish, HS2

Beleben visits some fake HS2 claims

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“Just outside Paddington” is a vast building site turning a run down industrial area and old railway depot into Old Oak HS2 railway station, according to the IanVisits blog (20 Aug 2019), which was given site access to take pictures of dumper trucks and rubble.

twitter, @ianvisits, 'Taking a look at HS2's huge Old Oak Common station' … Just outside Paddington is a vast building site - turning a run down industrial area and old railway depot into a major HS2 railway station.

According to the IV blogpost, “The biggest problem affecting the railways today is a lack of capacity to handle the surging numbers of people who want to travel by train. So something needs to be done. Yes, they could upgrade the existing lines, but that was tried with the West Coast Mainline Upgrade, and it delivered a fairly modest upgrade at a massive £14.5 billion cost.”

Ian Visits, 'the West Coast Mainline Upgrade delivered a fairly modest upgrade at a massive £14.5 billion cost'

The West Coast Route Modernisation did not cost £14.5 billion, and its upgrade component (£2.5 billion) enabled large increases in capacity (e.g., London to Manchester intercity went from one train per hour, to three).

DfT: WCML modernisation had an upgrade component of £2.5 billion

At Euston, “it’s about fixing the bottleneck on the approach to the station”, according to the IV blog.

Ian Visits, 'Building not just more platforms for HS2, but critically, the extra tunnels for those trains to use shifts intercity services to the HS2 line, releasing lots of capacity in the old tunnels for suburban services.If that doesn’t sound too important, then where’s the UK’s most congested train… it’s the 17:46 out of Euston which carries more than twice the number of passengers that it’s designed for.'

[Taking a look at HS2’s huge Old Oak Common station, Ian Visits blog, 20 Aug 2019]

The station has enough platforms, but not enough railway tracks to get in and out, so trains have to wait for space in the tunnels to get into the station. And back out again. That’s a huge impediment to increasing the numbers of trains that commuters from North London and beyond can use.

Building not just more platforms for HS2, but critically, the extra tunnels for those trains to use shifts intercity services to the HS2 line, releasing lots of capacity in the old tunnels for suburban services.If that doesn’t sound too important, then where’s the UK’s most congested train… it’s the 17:46 out of Euston which carries more than twice the number of passengers that it’s designed for. When completed, HS2 is expected to more than double the number of seats out of Euston station during peak hours.

Actually, constructing HS2 into Euston appears to require a permanent reduction in classic capacity into the station. There is no sign of a “releasing lots of capacity in the old tunnels for suburban services”.

HS2 Ltd, changes to Euston approach tracks

Crowding on Euston commuter trains is not a problem best addressed by spending £60 to £105 (?) billion on HS2. The first go-to should be the use of space efficient rolling stock, as on Thameslink and Greater Anglia. If the 17:46 out of Euston in 2018 had been operated by a 10-carriage Greater Anglia ‘Aventra’, what would the load factor have been ?

Greater Anglia, new commuter trains

[Taking a look at HS2’s huge Old Oak Common station, Ian Visits blog, 20 Aug 2019]

It’s been badly branded as a high-speed line — derided as shaving a few insignificant minutes off trips for rich businessmen. No one ever seems to complain about making it easier for families visiting each other, it’s always the rich business men.

The HS2 business case is built around time savings for business users, and a supposed shortage of capacity in the peaks. How many families travel by rail, in the peaks, to visit each other?

Written by beleben

August 20, 2019 at 10:50 am

Doubling down on Doncaster drivel

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There are 1720 peak seats per hour for rail travel between Doncaster and Leeds. After HS2 opens in 2033, this is expected to MORE THAN DOUBLE to 4860 seats/hour, according to ‘Rail’ magazine fantasist and NCHSR lecturer Gareth Dennis.

twitter, @GarethDennis, 'For example, there are 1720 peak seats/hr between Doncaster and Leeds. After HS2 opens in 2033, this is expected to MORE THAN DOUBLE to 4860 seats/hr.'

This claim appears to be based on a tweet from HS2 Ltd, which stated that the evening rush hour seated capacity on the ‘Doncaster corridor’ would increase from 1,720 in 2017, to 4,860 ‘with HS2’.

twitter, @HS2ltd, evening rush hour seated capacity on the 'Doncaster corridor' would increase from 1,720 in 2017 to 4,860 'with HS2'

Contrary to what was claimed by Mr Dennis, rush hour seated capacity between Doncaster and Leeds is not expected to MORE THAN DOUBLE to 4860 seats per hour with HS2. Because HS2 trains could not stop at Doncaster, the line would not go to Doncaster, and there is no HS2 station planned for Doncaster.

DfT breakdown of 'Doncaster corridor' classic services in 2017, and 'with HS2'

Mr Dennis has taken an absurd Department for Transport claim about ‘Doncaster corridor’ capacity (tweeted by HS2 Ltd) and made it his own, by claiming the so-called ‘capacity between Doncaster and Leeds’ includes (obviously non-existent) Leeds to Doncaster HS2 trains.

What a load of claptrap

Written by beleben

August 18, 2019 at 4:02 pm

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

‘Rail’ readers kept in the dark by fake ‘tweet check’ service

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failogoThe Beleben blog claim that ‘capacity out of Euston on the West Coast Main Line could be increased by simply introducing new rolling stock’ was ‘featured’ in ‘Rail’ magazine’s ‘tweet check service’ on 31 July.

[Tweet Check, Rail magazine, 31 July 2019]

Tweet Check
RAIL’s new service aims to answer your questions, debunk the myths, and get to the unvarnished truth behind some of the most common claims and queries we spot on social media.

‘Rail’ magazine picked on a tweet by Dr Richard Wellings of the Institute of Economic Affairs, which had linked to the claim on the Beleben blog.

Despite the origin of the claim being clearly identifiable, ‘Rail’ misattributed it to Dr Wellings, thereby suggesting that the magazine doesn’t quite understand how twitter works.

(On twitter, people can link to external content which they may or may not have written, and with which they may or may not agree.)

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

[Tweet Check, Rail magazine, 31 July 2019]

Tweet Check

RAIL’s verdict: Richard Wellings, Deputy Director, Academic and Research at the Institute of Economic Affairs, and long-time HS2 sceptic, caused a storm on Twitter on July 21 with his assertion that capacity out of Euston on the West Coast Main Line can be increased by simply introducing new rolling stock, with no need to build HS2. With the WCML by most measures deemed to be the busiest mixed-use railway in Europe, Twitter users responded by telling Wellings to “come back when you’ve done your homework”, while pointing out that even if you could run longer or higher-capacity passenger trains, it would do nothing to release much-needed freight paths.

It would seem that when ‘Rail’ magazine do a ‘tweet check’, that may not mean they are ‘checking facts’, or ‘debunking myths’.

In this case, they were plainly not interested in trying to establish whether the tweet was factually accurate or not. The content of their ‘tweet check’ kept readers in the dark, and amounted to nothing more than excerpts from twitter reactions which happened to align with the magazine’s editorial viewpoint.

Nigel Harris on BBC Inside Out West Midlands, broadcast 6 March 2017

‘Rail magazine’ editor Nigel Harris helped instigate the astroturf ‘Campaign for High Speed Rail’ ran by London PR company Westbourne (now Cicero Communications)

The Beleben blog has certainly done its homework, and on 21 July, republished a table showing that intercity capacity out of Euston could be increased by 36%, without significant infrastructure changes.

[Beleben blog, 21 July 2019]

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.

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.

As for the ‘much-needed freight paths’ – mentioned in the ‘verdict’ – the last time the Beleben blog checked, it turned out that half of those on the West Coast route were not used.

Of course, there would be no ‘released capacity’ from HS2 on the cross-London tracks (such as the North London line) traversed by West Coast railfreight. The development of capacity on more suitable through routes — such as Felixstowe to Nuneaton — would cost less than 5% of HS2, yet allow far bigger goods volumes to be transported overall.

Other [curious and contradictory] responses to the original tweet came from @WilliamBarter1 and @WickendenGraham.

@WilliamBarter1 queried how Thameslink-style rolling stock would increase capacity, when it ‘has fewer seats per train than existing’ [?].

twitter, @WilliamBarter1, 'How do you work that one out, Richard, when the new Thameslink-style rolling stock suggested would fewer seats per train than existing?'

While @WickendenGraham thought you would get extra seats, but there’d be no toilets [?].

twitter, @WickendenGraham, 'This is the same person who has previously suggested that the trains used on Thameslink services (class 700) should be used instead of the current WCML trains. A big problem with that is that although your get an extra 67 seats there'd be no loos.'

Needless to say,

  • the distance from Bedford to London (served by Thameslink trains) is not all that different from Milton Keynes to London (served by West Coast commuter trains). So why would Thameslink-style trains not be suitable for Euston commuters?
  • Thameslink trains do have toilets
  • 12-car Thameslink trains have more usable interior space than 12-car Class 350 ones used on West Coast
  • different versions of the same new train can have different internal layouts and amenities
  • the exact seated and overall capacity of a Thameslink-style train would depend on the selected internal layout.

Written by beleben

August 2, 2019 at 11:18 am

Posted in gibberish, 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