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Archive for the ‘High speed rail’ Category

Profitability versus maximum utilisation

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Rail consultant and HS2 ‘afictionado’ William Barter wants anyone who thinks the West Coast Main Line is not ‘full in the peaks’ to download Network Rail’s working timetable, and tell him where they would path another train.


Um, why? Network Rail themselves accept the line is not technically ‘full’ in the peaks. Indeed, it cannot be ‘full’, because the 20-minute interval intercity service to Manchester and Birmingham is “incompatible with maximum utilisation”.

To achieve technically optimal capacity utilisation, the route timetable would need to be re-cast. Upon which, it would be possible to operate Birmingham and Manchester intercity trains four times an hour (every 15 minutes, as was originally proposed).

Thirty-three per cent more seats. Who would object to that?

Probably, first in the queue of objectors would be Richard Branson, closely followed by Brian Souter. Having to run a fourth Virgin train each hour from London to Birmingham, and to Manchester, would likely increase costs faster than revenues, and profitability would fall.

An even worse outcome for Messrs Branson and Souter would be another operator being handed these fourth slots, and competing against Virgin head-on. It may have escaped some people’s attention, but Virgin and Stagecoach are not a charity, and their objective is making money, not carting air.

Mr Barter is also concerned about the load factor for Euston commuter trains being ‘too high’ (he claims greater than 100%). Apparently, he remains unaware of the various ways of vastly increasing West Coast commuter capacity, such as using Thameslink-style trains.

Capacity comparison of Class 700 and Class 350/2 240 metre trains

How hard can it really be to design a Thameslink-style train, but without the torture chamber lighting and ironing board seats (etc)?


Written by beleben

April 18, 2019 at 9:53 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

It shaw looks grim

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‘Early designs’ by Grimshaw and Glenn Howells Architects for a revamp of Birmingham’s Moor Street railway station ‘to get it ready for HS2’ have been slated by readers of the Birmingham Live website.

Birmingham Live readers' fury at planned revamp of Moor Street station

One of the highlights of the Grimshaw / GHA ‘vision’ must surely be the tragi-comic ‘alien spaceship’ footbridge, which would extend over the Moor Street platforms, and link to the adjacent Curzon Street high speed rail station.

Grimshaw / GHA Moor Street station redevelopment visualisation, 18 Mar 2019

Design of the Curzon HS2 terminus has also been entrusted to Grimshaw and GHA, with equally incongruous results.

HS2 Curzon, Grimshaw and GHA, interior visualisation

In essence, it resembles a Barlow trainshed, but with all of the sense of arrival eliminated by a concrete deck built right over the platforms.

This was the best of the designs submitted?

Written by beleben

March 21, 2019 at 11:06 am

Absurdity writ large

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‘Northern powerhouse rail’ would mean “a greater number of people living within sensible distances of their jobs, fuelling productivity and economic growth”, according to the Confederation of British Industry twitter feed.

twitter, @CBItweets, 'Northern powerhouse rail will mean a greater number of people living within sensible distances of their jobs'

Eh? Wasn’t Northern powerhouse rail intended to allow ‘people living in Bradford to commute to work in Manchester’ (etc)?

Meaning the ‘idea’ behind NPR is more like the antithesis of having a greater number of people living within “sensible distances of their jobs”.

twitter, @CBItweets, '#NorthernPowerhouseRail will mean shorter journey times and a greater number of people living within sensible distances of their jobs, fuelling #productivity and economic #growth. But it's NOT possible without HS2!'

Obviously, the whole NPR concept is unworkable fantasy, and has nothing to do with local transport in the north. 

Why is the CBI putting out this drivel, and why is it reminiscent of the misinformation put out a few years ago by the Westbourne ‘Campaign for High Speed Rail’?

@dplarge, head of infrastructure, @CBItweets

Written by beleben

March 17, 2019 at 9:47 am

Closely observed trains

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There is “no question that if you take a fast train off a main line, you make room for a couple more slow trains… we could have great deal more commuting capacity into London“, claimed ‘Modern Railways’ writer Ian Walmsley (interviewed by Kelvin McKenzie about HS2, on Lovesport radio on 8 February 2019).

twitter, @RAIL, 'This'

Actually, removing a ‘fast’ train might create less than (not ‘more than’) one path for ‘slow’ trains. This can be seen in slide #6 in Professor Andrew McNaughton’s ‘Released Capacity’ presentation (2015), where stopping Train #3 requires three technical paths (not ‘less than one’ fast path). The number of train paths available in a mixed traffic situation will vary, depending on a number of factors.

Andrew McNaughton, diagram of 2 fast trains being followed by a slow one

Slide #13 from Prof McNaughton’s presentation (2015) demonstrated that HS2 would not allow a doubling or tripling of the number of trains on the West Coast Main Line.

Andrew McNaughton, indicative HS2 and WCML service pattern, February 2015 Released Capacity slide 13

Written by beleben

February 19, 2019 at 8:04 pm

Midlands ‘needs to have an idea’

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The Midlands Connect January 2019 newsletter claimed that their ‘open letter’ to party leaders had ‘turned the tide for Phase Two of HS2’.

Midlands Connect newsletter, Jan 2019, 'The Midlands Marches on Westminster'

‘Turned the tide’, which way? According to BBC reporter Chris Doidge (18 February 2019), “Staffordshire County Council leader Philip Atkins says the region needs to start thinking about what it’ll request if phase 2b of HS2 is cancelled. He said the Midlands needs to have an idea so the money doesn’t just go back to London”.

twitter, @BBCChrisD, 'Political leaders in the Midlands are expressing growing concerns over #HS2. Some feel the latter sections are now more likely to be scrapped than go-ahead.'

Written by beleben

February 18, 2019 at 5:57 pm

Tool if you think it’s lower

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High speed rail is literally the best tool we have to decarbonise transport, according to high speed rail lecturer and ‘Rail’ magazine contributor Gareth Dennis.

twitter, @GarethDennis, 'Nuclear power and high speed rail. Literally the two best tools we have to decarbonise energy and transport. Nothing quicker or cheaper.'

He claims that HS2 offers the quickest way to reduce the UK’s transport emissions.

twitter, @GarethDennis, 'What's the quickest way to reduce the UK's transport emissions? HS2'

But according to the phase one carbon information paper E10, it seems that the level of carbon emissions would be lower, if HS2 were not built.

HS2 phase one carbon information paper E10, para 6.4

Written by beleben

February 9, 2019 at 1:59 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Wood you like some ‘facts and stats’ about Northern powerhouse rail?

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twitter, @LUCYLucyprior, 'This is not about the railway...It's about the population...transforming lives....removing barriers to movement.... #NPR will grow the Northern econony by billions

Where are the “facts” and the “stats”?

Written by beleben

February 8, 2019 at 4:06 pm