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Archive for the ‘HS1’ Category

Tom’s personal delight

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HS2 connectivity fails in Birmingham, the West Midlands, London, and the East Midlands

Improving Euston Road will form a “key part” of making the connection between High Speed 2 (HS2) and HS1 a success, Camden Council’s director of regeneration and planning David Joyce has said.

[Call for Euston Road to be ‘sorted out’ for HS2 to HS1 connection, Katherine Smale, NCE, 13 November 2018]

A 10 minute, 750m walking route is currently the favoured option to connect the two stations [Euston and St Pancras]. However, the main route of the two proposed walking routes would be along the major six lane road running through north London.
[…]
Joyce said the council was not in favour of some of the other schemes which had been presented. These include an elevated automated people mover (APM or monorail solution) priced at around £226M to build or a direct rail link between the two which was taken out of the hybrid bill at an early stage.
[…]
“We also weren’t in favour of putting in things like a monorail through Somers Town.”

HS2 commercial director Tom Venner said he was “personally delighted” that the two stations were not physically connected as he said making people walk between the two would “enliven” the area.

Referring to £248M sub-surface APM which was also proposed, he said there would be a “missed opportunity” if people remained underground between the two stations.

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Written by beleben

November 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Posted in HS1, HS2, London

Parkway is the right way, says John Armitt

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Infrastructure is for the public, not engineers. But “the public” don’t know what’s best for them, as evidenced by their rejection of an ‘Ashford parkway’ high speed station, their dislike of HS2, and their support for rail renationalisation (apparently).

[Sir John Armitt: “Infrastructure is not for engineers. It’s by engineers, for the public”, Sebastian Whale, The House magazine, 18th October 2018]

“Infrastructure is not for engineers. It’s by engineers, for the public,” he explains. The public pays for the projects, he adds, but generally speaking “they’re not treated as seriously as a stakeholder or the rest of the industry”. This failure to earn public buy-in on projects must be addressed, he argues, which in turn would make politicians’ lives easier.

twitter, @railindustry |  Sir John Armitt, Chairman, NatInfraCom: 'If high-speed rail does not go north of Birmingham, then I would argue there's not much point.'

[JA:] “It shouldn’t be the government ministers, it should be the profession, it should be the industry. Engineers should accept this is very much part of their role, to get out there and not hide behind their computer,” he says.
[…]
Armitt also suggests there should be a change in approach when it comes to city centre regeneration. Citing the example of the redeveloped Birmingham New Street Station, he asks whether the money would have been better placed being put into a new station on the edge of the city.

He experienced this first hand with High Speed 1, when local people called for a train station in central Ashford through which the Eurostar would pass, as opposed to one on the outskirts. “Fine, that’s what they got. But it added several hundred million pounds to the cost of the project,” he says.

Mr Armitt was engaged by the Labour party to conduct an ‘infrastructure review‘, but disagrees with its flagship policy of rail renationalisation (which is supported, it seems, by a majority of Conservative voters).

[The House magazine]

The Labour party has been clear of its intentions to nationalise rail, water and parts of the energy sector. Armitt, who is speaking more in a personal capacity, is sceptical about taking these industries back into public ownership.

The first challenge, he says, is finding the money to “pay a fair price”. Despite changing ownership, the “people running those businesses are essentially going to be the same”, he says. “Again, I think the issue here is we’re more than happy to trust Marks and Spencer and Safeway and Tesco with the provision of the thing most fundamental to us, which is food. Why can’t we create an environment in which we’re equally trusting of private sector companies to provide us with those key utilities?” he asks.

Written by beleben

October 23, 2018 at 8:51 am

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

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

HS1 and Kentish tourism

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The economic impact that High Speed 1 has had on Kent’s tourism economy ‘has been revealed for the first time in a report independently produced by Visit Kent and tourism economists Destination Research Ltd’.

HS1 website with Kentish tourism story, on 20 Sep 2017

But what role did HS1 Ltd play in commissioning and funding the ‘tourism impact study’? And how plausible are its findings?

[‘HS1 adds £72 million to Kent economy in 2016 as leisure journeys increase nine-fold’, HS1 Ltd news, 15 Sep 2017]

[…] Almost three quarters (73%) of tourism businesses in Kent believe that leisure tourism in the county has increased as a result of HS1. Over half (54%) believe that HS1 has specifically benefitted their own business. 94% of these tourism businesses said that they had benefited because of HS1’s high speed connections, with 80% saying that HS1 has helped attract visitors from further afield.

Almost a third (30%) of tourists said they were influenced in their decision to visit Kent by the presence of the HS1 service. Almost half (47%) of all visitors to Kent who travelled by rail did so via the HS1 service.

Interviews for the study seem to have been mainly conducted in places served by HS1 trains, rather than across Kent as a whole. Another oddity is the distribution of interviews in particular locations.

HS1 tourism impact study 2017, interviewees, extract

All in all, the report’s plausibility looks suspect. It is difficult to make sense of the claim that “only a proportion of journeys made on HS1 infrastructure were on HS1 trains, and not on regular (or classic) rail stock”. Because the only passenger trains using ‘HS1 infrastructure’ are (a) Eurostar (which mostly don’t stop in Kent), and (b) ‘Javelin’.  No classic passenger trains circulate on HS1.

hs1ltd-leisure-journeys-2017-extract

Written by beleben

September 20, 2017 at 8:00 am

More concentration in London

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Construction of the HS2 Y network would result in a migration of corporate decision-making away from the north of England, and increased concentration of managerial jobs in London, if French microeconomic research is to be believed. The findings, by Pauline Charnoz, Claire Lelarge and Corentin Trevien, are to be presented at the Royal Economic Society’s annual conference in Bristol in April 2017.

HS2 could further concentrate corporate decision making in London

Written by beleben

April 11, 2017 at 11:51 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS1, HS2

Going loco for Toto at lo-lo

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HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins has a ‘vision’ of people travelling to a new city around Toton parkway, at budget airline-style ‘lo-lo’ prices.

[‘Next arrival on the HS2 line: a brand new city’, Mark Hookham, The Sunday Times, 12 Feb 2017]

“Check every Eurostar — it’s always packed. You know why Eurostar is packed? It’s because it’s run on a Ryanair/ easyJet model,” he said.

However, the vision is not shared by Toton’s MP, Anna Soubry.

Anna Soubry MP described David Higgin's Toton 'vision' as irresponsible nonsense

Anna Soubry MP described David Higgin’s Toton ‘vision’ as irresponsible nonsense

Is Eurostar always “packed”?

And is it run anything like a low-cost airline?

The Eurostar service depends on billions of pounds of dedicated high-cost infrastructure (i.e. HS1, the Channel Tunnel, and LGV Nord), which means that commercial ‘low-cost’ operation is not possible.

Although Eurostar managed to take a large part of the Paris and Brussels travel market from airlines, that was only possible because of public subsidies running into billions of pounds.

Eurostar's £2 billion losses reported in the Daily Express, 2010

Eurostar had to be bailed out by the British government

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Mr Higgins predicted that a new city coud be built around the Toton HS2 station.

[‘Next arrival on the HS2 line: a brand new city’, The Sunday Times]

[David Higgins:] “You’ve got two big cities either side of it [Toton HS2]. You’ve got a big university within a very short distance. It will be well under an hour to both London and Leeds. So this is a city.”

Were HS2 to offer travel to ‘a new city’ at Toton at ‘lo-lo prices’ – assuming space for a city could be found – there would be a need for enormous subsidies, to cover HS2’s high fixed infrastructure costs.

Written by beleben

February 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Posted in HS1, HS2, Politics