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Archive for the ‘High speed rail’ Category

Cheshire connectivity spin meets reality

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Improving journey times to the ‘Cheshire science corridor’ opens up ‘new possibilities for collaboration and innovation’, according to HS2 Ltd.

twitter, @HS2ltd, 'Improving journey times to the Cheshire science corridor'

But does HS2, or even ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’, really improve journey times to the ‘Cheshire science corridor’? And if so, how?

ITV News Granada, northern powerhouse transport let-down, Aug 2017

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Written by beleben

December 13, 2017 at 1:15 pm

No mention of a design capacity

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London’s first inter-city train station, Euston, now caters for around 42 million passengers a year – more than double the design capacity of the current station which was built in 1968. That’s according to the government, and HS2 Ltd’s Rupert Walker.

'HS2 plans can unlock Euston potential' press release (8 Sep 2015)

However, according to freedom of information responses from HS2 Ltd and Network Rail, those organisations hold no documents from the time Euston was rebuilt, which mention a ‘design capacity’.

Written by beleben

November 24, 2017 at 12:51 pm

HS2 and decreased capacity

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According to Network Rail, HS2 ‘releases capacity’ for ‘faster, more frequent trains’ on the West Coast Main Line.

Network Rail claims HS2 releases capacity for faster, more frequent trains

However, the available evidence suggests that HS2 is more about ‘decreased capacity’ than ‘released capacity’.

On the busiest section of the West Coast Main Line – the London approach – the number of tracks would be permanently reduced from six to five, so at any one time, inbound and outbound capacity would not be equal.

HS2 Ltd, Euston overview, approach track diagrams 2018 to 2026

This problem would be compounded by the number of classic platforms at Euston reducing from 18 to 13.

Euston platform build sequencing, AP3 (HS2 Ltd)

At St Pancras, hundreds of millions of pounds were spent on a cack-handed redesign of the station, which left the Midland Main Line with just four platforms. Despite growing commuter demand from the east of London, half the capacity of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (HS1) goes unused, because it, and New St Pancras, was not designed to take trains from Essex.

Is Theresa May’s government really going to proceed with an even bigger botch?

Written by beleben

November 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm

Adonis golden arrow delusion

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Andrew Adonis 'golden arrow' delusionThe theoretical throughput of HS2 is about 19,000 passengers per hour, in each direction. So if its entire capacity were used for commuting in the 2-hour morning peak, HS2 would allow a one-time increase of just 38,000 commuters to London, from everywhere served by its trains.

The capital’s population is reportedly growing at around ‘100,000 per year‘, but according to Andrew Adonis, ‘HS2 helps fix the housing crisis by bringing more homes within easy distance of London’.

[We need a ‘golden arrow’ to link London and the north, Evening Standard, 16 Nov 2017]

[Andrew Adonis:] With HS2, you could live on the outskirts of Manchester and easily commute daily, or a few times a week, to Birmingham or London.

In the opinion of Mr Adonis, “In respect of London, there is a readiness to commute up to three hours a day – an hour and a half each way – provided that all-told quality of life is good enough, that is, whatever the trade-off between housing costs and amenities that works for each individual and family”. But, he says, it’s “critical” that “each of the HS2 stations also have good metro and other fast, high capacity connections to get passengers from the HS2 stations across the respective cities and regions”.

HS2 is supposed to connect Manchester Piccadilly to Euston in ~68 minutes. So how would anyone living on the ‘outskirts’ of Manchester, ‘easily commute’ to a London workplace in ‘an hour and a half each way’?

The Black Country tram extension, approved by the government yesterday, is part of the Transport for West Midlands so-called ‘HS2 connectivity package’. But how long would it take to commute from Brierley Hill to a London office, with a 25 km tram ride, and HS2?

Written by beleben

November 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

More (m)or(e) less

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According to Network Rail, HS2 ‘frees up space’ for ‘faster, more frequent trains on the West Coast Main Line’.

Network Rail, 'HS2 frees up space for faster, more frequent trains'

According to rail consultant and HS2 enthusiast William Barter, running more West Coast trains into Euston would require enlargement of WCML Euston.

@WilliamBarter1, running more West Coast trains into Euston would require enlargement of WCML Euston

According to AJ magazine, WCML Euston is to be reduced from 18 to 13 platforms, to make room for HS2.

Architects Journal, HS2 seeks architects for stations contracts

On the evidence available, at Euston, HS2 ‘takes up space’, meaning fewer, less frequent trains on the West Coast Main Line.

Written by beleben

November 16, 2017 at 11:24 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Respublica on the inside

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Respublica North, Max Wind-Cowie

Interesting to see that Max Wind-Cowie, deputy director of ‘red tory’ Phillip Blond’s Respublica North lobbying vehicle, is ‘lead on cities’ for the government’s National Infrastructure Commission.

Max Wind Cowie

Written by beleben

November 8, 2017 at 5:20 pm

On the wrong foot

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From what HS1 Ltd chairman Rob Holden has ‘seen and observed’, HS2 got off ‘completely on the wrong foot with Camden council and the local community at Euston’.

[HS1 10 years on: What can HS2 learn?, Daniel Kemp, Construction News, 7 Nov 2017 (paywall)]

[Rob Holden:] “Once you’re in that position with an authority, particularly quite an influential one like Camden, it takes a long time to get it back to where it needs to be.”

In an interview for Construction News, Mr Holden appeared to credit John ‘Two Jags’ Prescott with saving HS1 from cancellation. 2J thought it would have ‘regeneration benefits’, but that seems an odd description for reducing the Midland Main Line to four platforms at St Pancras, to make space for designer boutiques and pizza joints.

'HS1’s funding projections required every single man, woman and child in the South-east of England to be making multiple journeys every single year to Paris and Brussels' in order to generate enough cash

Mr Holden said that HS1 was a “French railway”, but HS2 was trying to do “things which have not been proven anywhere else”.

[Construction News]

[RH:] “One decision we made very early on, and I would put my name to it, is that we decided to make this railway an extension of TGV Nord,” he says. “[HS1] is a French railway, with French signalling technology. It was designed to operate out of the box – we were not going to be the first anything.

“Contrast that with HS2 and what they’re trying to do […] to create a legacy. They’re doing things which have not been proven anywhere else. That imparts huge amounts of risk, and maybe because I’m an accountant I’m more cautious than most. I like to minimise the risk I’m carrying, [which] therefore gives ourselves a better chance of success in what is a complicated environment.”

Written by beleben

November 7, 2017 at 12:19 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS1, HS2