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Archive for the ‘HS2’ Category

(Belatedly) speaking truth unto trainspotters

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Twitter, @CarlShillitoUK at the 'National Rail Conference'

At Bauer’s “National Rail Conference” today (15 June 2017) the ‘moderator’ is Steve Norris, and the ‘keynote speaker’ is HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins.

Would that be the same Steve Norris who helped run the incompetent and now-defunct track maintenance company, Jarvis?

The Guardian, 'Jarvis crash year bonuses', 15 Sep 2004

And the same David Higgins who

  • mismanaged Network Rail’s Great Western electrification project, contributing to costs almost tripling?
  • was appointed to “drive down” the cost of HS2, and completely failed to do so?
  • on 17 November 2014, told the House of Commons transport committee that “a railway line where trains travel at 220 miles an hour as opposed to 120 miles an hour clearly has nearly twice the capacity because you can have twice as many trains on it”?

Mr Higgins’ capacity dissemblance was revealed on the Beleben blog on 18 November 2014. But the largely trainspotter readership of Bauer’s “Rail” magazine had to wait more than two years to be told the capacity truth.

Extract from www.christianwolmar.co.uk, Rail magazine 823, March 2017, 'HS2 fails to spark public imagination'

Written by beleben

June 15, 2017 at 10:47 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

Who wants more austerity, to pay for HS2?

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‘£56 billion’ spent on HS2 would mean ‘£56 billion’ not spent on fixing Britain’s collapsing public services, dilapidated roads, and social housing stock.

World Bank, health expenditure as percentage of GDP, France / Germany / UK / USA

Yet there are still some people who think building HS2 is a good idea.

Bauer 'National Rail Conference 2017', sponsored content in the Birmingham Post

Bauer 'National Rail Conference 2017 programme'

Bauer 'National Rail Conference 2017 speakers'

Written by beleben

June 15, 2017 at 8:06 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

HS2 and self-driving cars

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Although KPMG UK were happy to take the government’s shilling(s) to eulogise HS2, KPMG worldwide seems to take a different view on high speed rail.

Twitter, @JennyBelleW, 'KPMG have long suggested that high speed rail isn't needed when you have autonomous cars'

Written by beleben

June 2, 2017 at 10:40 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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Getting a commuter seat at Euston

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On 23 May, train operator London Midland updated its online guide to ‘getting a seat’ on trains from London Euston in the evening peak. The guide is one of a series which are produced for various stations on Govia’s London Midland and TSGN ‘franchises’.

Getting a seat from Euston on London Midland, weekday evenings, from May 2017

The May 2017 Euston guide shows that most commuter trains still do not run at ‘full length’ in the peak, yet the need for travellers to stand for more than 20 minutes is quite limited.

The December 2016 ‘getting a seat’ guides for London Victoria, St Pancras, and Blackfriars suggest that capacity out of those stations is more of a problem.

The government and Network Rail’s intention is to provide more capacity south of the Thames by upgrading existing lines. It should be fairly obvious that HS2 is not necessary to meet future commuter demand from Milton Keynes, Dacorum, and Three Rivers.

'Getting a seat from St Pancras' (Mondays to Fridays, Thameslink), from December 2016

Written by beleben

May 25, 2017 at 7:43 am

Posted in HS2

Efficiency versus vanity

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The 21 May edition of the ‘Sunday Politics West Midlands’ tv show included an interview with Green party co-leader Jonathan Bartley.

Sian Grzeszczyk

BBC reporter Sian Grzeszczyk interviewing the Green party’s Jonathan Bartley

When asked by BBC reporter Sian Grzeszczyk about the party’s opposition to HS2, Mr Bartley stated that it would be better to put the money into schemes which would deliver more and better benefits, such as improving local transport.

Jonathan Bartley (Green party)

Jonathan Bartley

After that interview was shown, presenter Patrick Burns asked studio guest Diana Toynbee, also from the Green party, about its ‘pretty consistent opposition’ to HS2.

[Patrick Burns, in a question to Green party councillor Diana Toynbee, on BBC Sunday Politics West Midlands, tx 21 May 2017]

[PB:] I don’t understand why you’re not welcoming these much more energy efficient modern locos onto the infrastructure of transport, rather than replacing the older ones which, which I would presume, are less efficient?

Diana Toynbee from the Green party

Diana Toynbee (Green party)

Unfortunately neither Mr Burns nor Ms Toynbee seemed to be aware that very high speed rail (like HS2) is inherently more energy- and carbon-intensive than conventional (200 km/h) high speed rail.

Traction energy requirements of high speed trains at different speeds (Systra for Greengauge 21)

In Britain, 200 km/h trains are the ‘efficient’ ones, and that speed looks fast enough, considering the distances between the major cities. HS2’s 360 km/h operation does not suit an economic geography in which major population centres are just 100 to 150 km apart.

Written by beleben

May 22, 2017 at 10:08 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

Building to cost and to time

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'McNaughton hits back at reports of HS2 going over budget', RTM magazine, May 2017

RTM magazine, May 2017

Written by beleben

May 18, 2017 at 4:11 pm

Posted in HS2

How to excel at muddle

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Tory Chancellor ‘Spreadsheet Phil’ Hammond went on BBC Radio 4 this morning to attack the figures in the Labour party manifesto, but ended up getting his own figures in a muddle.

spreadsheet-phil-skewered-daily-mirror-17may2017

The Mirror

[Tory Philip Hammond skewered in BBC interview as he gets his figures in a major muddle, Mikey Smith, The Mirror, 2017-05-17]

Mr Hammond claims there’s a £58 billion hole in Labour’s funding – but didn’t appear to know the true cost of HS2 – the major rail project linking London with Leeds, Birmingham and the East Midlands.

Asked for the cost of the major project by the BBC’s John Humphrys, Hammond said: “About £32 billion.”

Humphrys said: “£32 billion? Not £52 billion?”

A flustered Hammond replied: “Er it’s…over…I mean…there’s a huge amount of contingency built in to the budgeting for these projects.”

“And they’re usually met, these contingencies, aren’t they?” Humphrys shot back.

“These things almost always cost more than we expect.”

The Mirror seems to have been the only newspaper to have reported on Mr Hammond’s inexactitude – in contrast to ‘wall-to-wall’ coverage afforded to gaffes by the Green party’s Natalie Bennett and Labour’s Diane Abbott.

'Theresa May numbers gaffe', the Independent, 17 May 2017

Written by beleben

May 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics