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Archive for the ‘HS2’ 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.


Written by beleben

November 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Posted in HS1, HS2, London

What are the decongestion benefits of HS2?

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The official documentation for the proposed HS2 railway does not seem to make much mention of ‘decongestion’ as a benefit of the scheme. Where the word does occur, it tends to be in the context of the supposed road, rather than rail, decongestion effects.

However, some supporters of HS2 are claiming the scheme would ‘decongest the existing rail network’.

What is patently lacking, is any meaningful definition of ‘decongestion’, or evidence of how that would take place.

twitter, @WhatTrainToday,

Consider, for example, the idea that ‘HS2 is decongestive’ because ‘each express train on the existing West Coast line eats up 3 to 6 stopping paths’.

In fact, ‘express trains’ out of Euston run on their own separate tracks, and have done for decades. The idea that removing one of those express trains, would allow 3 to 6 stopping trains to run in its place, is laughable.


Written by beleben

November 6, 2018 at 1:12 pm

Posted in HS2, misinformation

Consigned to history

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A Virgin West Coast trainVirgin Trains has “consigned Friday afternoon peak restrictions from London Euston to history, enabling thousands of people to start the weekend earlier, for less”, the company announced on November 1.

The existence of the peak restrictions played a huge part in the so-called ‘capacity case for high speed rail’, so by abolishing the restrictions, one of the last remnants of the HS2 capacity case has also been consigned to history.

[Virgin Trains]

Restrictions will be removed permanently from 2 November 2018, following a 13 week trial that has also helped dramatically reduce congestion on key evening services.

During the trial, the popular 19:00 London Euston to Manchester service saw the average maximum number of passengers fall by 61%. Normally this would be the first service available for passengers with off-peak tickets. Similar benefits were seen on the West Midlands route where the average maximum number of passengers on the 19:03 London Euston to Birmingham New Street fell by 75%.

'Virgin Trains scraps Friday afternoon peak restrictions', 01 Nov 2018

In the complete absence of any better ‘story’, the government’s West Coast Demand and Capacity Pressures (DaCP) report had to focus on the remote possibility of future crowding in the evening, created and driven by peak restrictions. DaCP was a ‘supplement’ to HS2’s October 2013 Strategic Case, but did not appear until November 2015, which might indicate the difficulty in coming up with a case for spending tens of billions of pounds on something that is not needed.

DaCP doom-mongered what ‘might’ happen, if Euston’s intercity service in the year 2033 / 2034 was like the service in 2014 – i.e., with peak restrictions until 7pm, and with just 9 trains leaving between 7pm and 8pm. Plainly an absurd and artificial scenario, concocted just for HS2 propaganda purposes.

DfT, West Coast DaCP report, Nov 2015 extract, ICWC evening crowding

With a sensible ticketing policy, available paths taken up, and the right rolling stock, all forecast demand, and more, could be accommodated using the existing infrastructure, without building a single yard of HS2.

Written by beleben

November 1, 2018 at 8:13 pm

Gareth and the Beeston massive

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According to NCHSR lecturer Gareth Dennis, when Midlands Connect ‘do their work’ to allow a fast (up to 125mph [200 km/h]) shuttle between Derby, HS2 Toton, and Nottingham, the rail journey time between Birmingham and Nottingham will be 30 minutes, and places like Long Eaton and Beeston ‘will gain massively’ from ‘taking away fast services’.

twitter, @garethdennis, 'when Midlands Connect do their work to allow a fast (up to 125mph [200 km/h]) shuttle between Derby, Toton, and Nottingham, the rail journey time between Birmingham and Nottingham will be 30 minutes'

Eh? If Midlands Connect wanted a “125mph shuttle” between Toton and Nottingham, the chances are those shuttles would have have to go through Beeston station, etc, without stopping. So much for, er, ‘taking away fast services’ and ‘freeing up capacity’.

Location of the proposed HS2 station at Toton

Written by beleben

October 28, 2018 at 4:53 pm

Posted in HS2

It is becoming increasingly difficult to argue in favour of HS2

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Several senior Labour MPs have told the Observer that the huge sum of money earmarked for the HS2 railway would be better spent on other schemes, the newspaper reported.

'Northern-mp MPs tell Labour: Change your mind on HS2', Eleni Courea, 27 Oct 2018

[Northern MPs tell Labour: change your mind on HS2, Eleni Courea, The Observer, 27 Oct 2018][…]

Lisa Nandy, the Labour MP for Wigan, said: “It’s becoming increasingly difficult to argue in favour of HS2 in my constituency.”
Karl Turner, the shadow transport minister responsible for shipping, aviation and road safety, speaking in his capacity as MP for Hull East, said[…] “investing in existing rail networks in the region offers a better deal”.
Ian Mearns, MP for Gateshead, said: “Twenty years ago, there was a train that travelled from Newcastle to London [along the east coast mainline] in 160 minutes. With HS2 we will be spending another £53bn 40 years later, and by going on that route people could gain just 20 minutes.” Mearns said that this showed HS2 was “little more than a vanity project”.
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, said in 2014 that HS2 represented a “poor deal for most of the region’s taxpayers”.

Jo Platt, MP for Leigh, said that HS2 would run through her constituency “without offering any connectivity”, while Emma Hardy, MP for Hull West, said that Crossrail for the North would “make a huge difference, while being far less disruptive than HS2”.

Meanwhile Sir Kevin Barron, the MP for Rother Valley, who has supported the project thus far, said that he was being forced to rethink because of plans to build the eastern leg of HS2 along the M18 motorway.

It is the most senseless thing I’ve ever seen,” Barron said.

Terminating the HS2 scheme would not just benefit the north. The cancellation dividend would allow a wide range of infrastructure improvements across the country, such as electrification of the Great Western main line from Newbury to Plymouth, an RER-type system for Birmingham, and step-free access for a vastly increased number of stations nationwide.

The reality of rail in the 'Northern powerhouse': Kirkby station by Raymond Knapman

Some reviews of Transpennine rail from Tripadvisor, viewed Oct 2018

According to a September 2018 poll by ComRes, three in five British adults think that HS2 is poor value for money, and 85% think the money should be spent on improving the capacity of existing railways instead of building it.

Written by beleben

October 27, 2018 at 7:05 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

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 benchmarking mysteries

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For a variety of reasons, Britain’s HS2 high-speed rail line ‘will cost taxpayers 25 per cent more than similar schemes in other countries’, according to a PricewaterhouseCoopers report, focused on phase 2 of the project, that has been kept secret from Lord Berkeley and the public for the past two years (source: Financial Times, 18 October).

'HS2 will cost 25% more than schemes abroad, says hidden report', Financial Times, 18 Oct 2018

[From the FT article, by Jim Pickard and Gill Plimmer]

HS2 will have 25 stations — far more than equivalent schemes abroad — and they are more likely to be in city centres.

Moreover, the 10-year hiatus between the UK’s first high-speed line and HS2 meant that the UK did not have the “base, industry and knowledge”, according to one person who has seen the report, to deliver the project easily.

The FT story is a bit baffling.

HS1 cost benchmarked against 6 other high speed lines, 2009

According to HS2 Ltd’s David Higgins, HS2 was expected to cost 15 per cent more than HS1 (which itself was far more expensive than other high speed lines).

HS2 benchmarking in 'HS2 Plus' report

Written by beleben

October 19, 2018 at 9:29 am

Posted in HS2