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Archive for the ‘High speed rail’ Category

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?

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Written by beleben

August 20, 2019 at 10:50 am

Make Central Great at the Common

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Reactivating the Great Central route to Rugby and Leicester with new connections to the West Coast and Midland Main lines would be much cheaper, less disruptive, and greener than building HS2. But how could trains from ‘GCR2’ be accommodated in London?

The Old Oak site intended for HS2 has room for a 12-platform long distance station, as can be seen by HS2 Ltd’s visualisation of the footprint of a twelve platform HS2 terminus station at Old Oak.

Old Oak, footprint of a 12 platform long distance station (HS2 Ltd, 2016)

A new long-distance (non-HS2) station at Old Oak could be built with through tracks to Paddington, but how many trains could continue to Paddington would depend on Crossrail enabling vacation of more surface platforms there. At present, Crossrail is being planned as a lop-sided project, with more services operating in east London, than in the west.

Written by beleben

August 16, 2019 at 10:51 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Woodland of confusion

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The UK has roughly one million hectares of ancient woodland, according to an article attributed to Ian Walmsley (Modern Railways magazine, presumably August 2019).

The UK has roughly 1 million hectares of ancient woodland, according to an article attributed to Ian Walmsley of Modern Railways magazine

But according to the Woodland Trust (2000), the figure is more like 309,000 hectares (excluding Northern Ireland).

No doubt a fair bit of the remaining ancient woodland must be in Scotland. Figures for how much there is in England, do not seem to be readily available.

The Woodland Trust (2000), there around 309,000 ha of ancient woodland in Great Britain

Written by beleben

August 16, 2019 at 8:11 am

Midlanders mostly unenthused by HS2

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Jake Gyllenhaal shaking head (gif)A YouGov survey for ITV News Central has found that just 26 per cent of Midlanders are ‘supportive’ of HS2, and just 8 per cent describe themselves as ‘strong supporters’.

  • A majority in the region either oppose the scheme, or have no strong opinion.
  • 34% don’t believe phase one of HS2 (Euston to Birmingham and Armitage) will be completed, 33% think it will happen, and the rest (34%) don’t know.
  • The survey ‘involved 1,119 adults in the ITV News Central region who were quizzed between July 26 and 31, 2019’.

Written by beleben

August 1, 2019 at 8:05 am

Cross country counts

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Alleged train operator XC Trains Limited has waded into the high speed rail debate, claiming that the HS2 would ‘relieve the Cross Country network’.

twitter_CrossCountryUK_status_1150345885840072706

Surely, the quickest and best way to bring ‘relief’ to users of the Cross Country rail network, would be to have some company other than XC Trains Limited, operating the service.

Trustpilot, XC trains, reviews, extract

[Rail magazine, 10 July 2019]

A petition has been sent to Kenilworth and Southam MP Jeremy Wright calling for stored High Speed Trains to be used by CrossCountry.
[…]
In the House of Commons on June 24, Layla Moran (Liberal Democrat, Oxford West and Abingdon) asked what assessment had been made of the potential merits of introducing high-speed trains on XC services serving Oxford, to increase capacity.

Rail Minister Andrew Jones replied: “The Department is aware that additional capacity is needed on CrossCountry routes, including Oxford. The Department is working with the operator to introduce extra rolling stock into CrossCountry. This remains a priority for the Department as we consider successor franchise arrangements when the current franchise ends.”

However, sources within the rail industry suggest using HSTs is not a simple solution, as some believe.

One XC source told RAIL: “We cannot use the GWR power cars without the Automatic Train Protection being removed, as none of our drivers are trained on it. Until that changes, and the Direct Award is sorted out, there’ll be no change. We do need more stock, though!”

“The Department is working with the operator”. To not get disused trains sitting in sidings, into use, apparently.

Interesting that that the “privatised railway”, in the form of XC Trains, can’t manage to [not] do anything by itself.

Written by beleben

July 15, 2019 at 3:39 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Diminutive flows, enormous expenditure

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The use of generalised load factors on railways which serve multiple destinations ‘is not fit for purpose and doesn’t reflect the travel conditions that passengers actually experience’, according to page 13 of the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders Group report ‘Why Britain Needs HS2′.

But page 12 of the very same report includes a diagram, produced by Atkins in 2003, intended to support high speed rail. This shows Atkins’ forecast of the number of daily rail trips on north south routes in 2031 and, er, the generalised load factors.

HSRILG, Why HS2 report, July 2019, Figure 8

As for Atkins’ forecast of daily trips into Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and Leeds, the volumes are, in essence, chicken feed.  This might explain the Labour party’s opposition to HS2, until Andrew Adonis got involved.

Written by beleben

July 15, 2019 at 11:45 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Over and above

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From a passenger crowding point of view, the additional capacity provided by HS2 on the West Coast Main Line appears to be over and above what is required to meet capacity pressures for several decades, according to the House of Commons Library HS2 briefing paper written by Andrew Haylen (20 June 2019).

'High Speed 2: the business case, costs and spending', 20 June 2019 (cover of)

[High Speed 2: the business case, costs and spending, House of Commons Library, June 20, 2019][…]

The analysis in the paper shows that much of the capacity constraints on the network, from a passenger crowding point of view, only occur during the peak periods of the day and on confined parts of the network. During most other periods of the day, trains are travelling at less than half of their capacity.
[…]
While the [Atkins] strategic alternatives to Phase 1 [“P1”] do not provide this same step-change, the increase will be enough to ensure that there is sufficient capacity on the network during the busiest periods of the day. They can also be delivered at a much lower cost, and in the case of the West Coast Main Line constraints, they can be addressed for between 20 and 25% of the cost of HS2.

Some have questioned whether it makes sense for such a surplus of capacity to be delivered on one part of the network when other sections remain capacity constrained, particularly the lateral connections in the North of England as observed by the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee.

Mr Haylen notes ‘There is a great deal of ambiguity as to how much HS2 will cost’.

HS2, formal and derived cost estimates, House of Commons Library, 21 June 2019

[House of Commons Library, High Speed 2: the business case, costs and spending, Published Thursday, June 20, 2019][…]

A large part of this confusion lies in the fact that very few estimates of the costs have been published. A comprehensive breakdown of the costs for the full Y-network of HS2 has not been published since 2013.

Various estimates of costs get circulated in the public domain, most notably the £55.7 billion for the full Y-Network. It is important to note that this is not a cost estimate, but rather a funding envelope. The former is an estimate of how much needs to be spent, the latter relates to what is available to spend. There have only been three estimates published by DfT and HS2 Ltd for the cost of the full Y network and account for the infrastructure and rolling stock costs:

• The first estimates for the costs of HS2 were published in the February 2011 HS2 Economic Case. The Phase 1 costs were estimated to be £19.6 billion (2009 prices), with the full Y network estimated at £37.5 billion.

• For the January 2012 economic case update, the cost of the full Y-network HS2 was estimated at £40.8 billion (2011 prices).

• In 2013 the total cost of the cost of the full Y-network HS2 was estimated at £50.1 billion, 94 including £42.6 billion for construction and £7.5 billion for rolling stock (in 2011 prices).

The official HS2 cost estimates do not include the bill for Davenport Green (‘Manchester Airport’) station, upgrading the existing line north of Sheffield Midland (for Birmingham – Sheffield – Leeds HS2 trains), or redevelopment of Crewe station as a full HS2 hub, etc.

Written by beleben

June 24, 2019 at 9:09 am