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Archive for the ‘High speed rail’ Category

Working at breakneck speed

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Another Barry White facepalm momentTransport for the North is aiming to take ‘a fresh approach to transport’ in its forthcoming plan for transport in northern England, chief executive Barry White told the All-Party Parliamentary Rail Group on May 15.

[Railway Gazette, 18 May 2018]

A particular focus is on developing a transport network which would support ‘employment liquidity’, defined as making it easier for people to change jobs and lowering the risk of trying out new opportunities. White said London very successfully provides this liquidity, but in the north of England poor connectivity means people often feel they would need to move house to accept a job in another town, which creates a barrier that is holding back both employees and employers.

Mr White said TfN was ‘working at breakneck speed’ to prepare a high level plan for the cost, scope and business case for Northern Powerhouse Rail which will be submitted to the Secretary of State at the end of this year.

When one is not enough

[RG]

He stressed these would be ‘high level concepts rather than detailed route options’. Speed is not an end in itself, White emphasised, and is often used in public discussion as a proxy for frequency and capacity. If you are going to build extra capacity, it makes sense to build for speed too, he believes.

The Beleben blog was under the impression that (absurd) ‘high level concepts’ have been in existence for years. In fact, they predate Transport for the North itself. So what this ‘breakneck speed’ cobblers is all about, is anyone’s guess.

Equally perplexing is the ’employment liquidity’ shizzle, which, apparently, was dreamt up after the TfN Strategic Transport Plan was closed to public consultation.

‘Employment liquidity’, for whom?

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Written by beleben

May 20, 2018 at 11:09 am

The advantages of going loopy

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One of the attractions of Elon Musk’s hyperloop is that it is “significantly less expensive than conventional rail infrastructure”, according to former Conservative transport minister Steven Norris.

[The hyperloop train is leaving the station – and the UK must be on it, Steven Norris, City A.M., 18 April 2018]

It could connect Gatwick and Heathrow so that they operated as one super-hub airport. It could link London to Glasgow faster than HS2. It could unlock the Northern Powerhouse.

Written by beleben

April 18, 2018 at 11:24 am

Barca-ing Mad claims

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Since the opening of the Camp de Tarragona – Barcelona section 10 years ago, 85.5 million passengers have travelled on the Madrid – Barcelona AVE high-speed rail. Considering the impact on climate change, pollution and accident rates it can be estimated that €1.3 billion has been saved during the 10 years of the high-speed line’s operation. The environment has been spared 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 [sic], which in energy consumption is equal to almost 1 million tonnes of oil [Global Rail Review reported on 21 February].

grr-mad-barca-ave-21feb2018

However, no source was given for any of these claims. The idea that the environment has been ‘spared’ 4.2 million tonnes of CO2 looks fanciful in the extreme, given the massive greenhouse gas emissions associated with building the line.

Frontier, Atkins, ITS ex post economic evaluation of Mad - Barca AVE, 2011

Written by beleben

March 16, 2018 at 2:24 pm

Emerging baloney research

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The economy of northern England is set for a £15 billion boost if a Northern powerhouse rail station is built in Bradford city centre, according to a report commissioned from Genecon by Bradford city council.

Apparently.

West Yorks Combined Authority, 'North’s economy set for £15 bn boost from Bradford city centre station on Northern Powerhouse Rail', 14 March 2018

Although the report’s claims have been publicised on the West Yorkshire combined authority and Bradford council websites, there seems to be no way of actually consulting the report itself.

Bradford Council, Northern economy set for £15 bn boost, 14 March 2018

Written by beleben

March 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm

De-scoped ‘hub vision’ is a longer platform

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Woo-hoo Homer SimpsonOn 9 March the government announced its support for ‘the’ Crewe HS2 hub, following a consultation which yielded just 146 responses (some of which were categorised as null responses, including: identical responses from a single respondent, blank responses, and requests for specific information).

[Government confirms commitment to Crewe Hub vision, gov.uk, 9 Mar 2018]

“… the government’s support for the Crewe Hub vision means plans for HS2 Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will be modified to include:

* extension of Platform 5 at Crewe to 400 metres, to allow for the splitting and joining of HS2 services, which also opens opportunities to serve Stoke-on-Trent with HS2

* a more efficient design for the proposed platform on the Manchester independent lines, incorporating a transfer deck to the main station

* a change to the design of the southern connection from HS2, so that HS2 joins, and takes over, the central 2 lines on the existing network

The Secretary of State also intends to ask the franchise operator, West Coast Partnership, to include a high speed service to Stoke-on-Trent in its market development and service plans.”

But what exactly is ‘the’ HS2 hub?

It certainly doesn’t resemble what Cheshire East council were promoting, or even what Crewe town council were promoting.

Crewe HS2 Farrells hub visualisation

[Government confirms commitment to Crewe Hub vision, gov.uk, 9 Mar 2018]

Combined with a HS2 junction north of Crewe (which will be considered as part of Phase 2b), this could allow 5 to 7 HS2 trains per hour to call at Crewe and improve connectivity on the lines from Crewe to Shrewsbury, Chester and Stoke-on-Trent (subject in some cases to further investment beyond Crewe itself).

In summary: HS2 Crewe hub (March 2018 version) = a platform extension at the existing Crewe station, to allow portion working of one HS2 path to Liverpool and Preston.

Written by beleben

March 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Council could nott borrow for Toton extension

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'No rate of return' for NET tramway to TotonNottingham city council ‘will not pay out’ for a NET tram extension to the proposed ‘East Midlands’ HS2 train station. Its deputy leader, Graham Chapman, said any costs for a tramway to Toton HS2 would have to come out of the Government’s pocket (the Nottingham Post reported).

Councillor Chapman opined, “We don’t have the money for it. We could not borrow to extend the line because there is no rate of return.”

Written by beleben

January 30, 2018 at 11:12 am

What is the thinking behind Northern powerhouse rail?

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According to Transport for the North’s Northern powerhouse rail factsheet

[TfN (undated)]

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) is a major strategic rail programme, designed to
transform the northern economy and meet the needs of people and business. It will transform connectivity between the key economic centres of the North. The programme promises radical changes in service patterns, and target journey times. By delivering NPR more than 40% of businesses identified as having the North’s prime capabilities would be within 90 minutes rail travel of four or more of the North’s largest economic centres, compared with only 12% today.

Currently fewer than 10,000 people in the North can access four or more of the North’s largest economic centres within an hour. This would rise to 1.3 million once NPR is delivered. NPR would transform the job market, giving businesses access to skilled workers in larger labour markets and offer individuals the opportunity for flexible career development and progression, all within the North.

Transport for the North, Northern powerhouse rail factsheet, undated

However, TfN’s January 2018 draft Strategic Transport Plan stated that “the North is home to 16 million people”.

It is entirely unclear why it would be worth spending billions of pounds, just so that 8 per cent of the population of “the North” could “access four or more of the North’s largest economic centres within an hour”.

John Armitt, of the National Infrastructure Commission, described TfN’s strategic plan as a ‘major step forward’.

John Armitt described the TfN strategic plan as a major step forward

Which says quite a lot about John Armitt.

Written by beleben

January 18, 2018 at 12:57 pm