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Archive for the ‘HS2’ Category

Calling Captain Invisible

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Boris boondoggle The Emirates AirlineHS2 logoBoris boondoggle Garden BridgeThe flawed Borismaster bus

'The former Labour minister Margaret Hodge, whose review of the Garden Bridge project led to its abandonment, said she was shocked at how “irresponsible” Johnson was with public money. But during her review [of the Garden Bridge] she was also struck by the lack of scrutiny of his profligate spending decisions when mayor.'

Boris Johnson, the frontrunner in the race to become the UK’s next Prime Minister, has asked [former HS2 Ltd chairman ‘Captain Invisible‘] Douglas Oakervee to review the case for building the high speed rail line, the Birmingham Mail reported (17 June 2019).

[Tory leadership front-runner Boris Johnson has already set up a review of the HS2 high speed rail line, Jonathan Walker, Birmingham Mail, 17 JUN 2019]
But Mr Johnson, who has been a critic of HS2 in the past, also made it clear [at a private hustings in London for Conservative Party constituency ‘chairs’ over the weekend] that he would be reluctant to cancel the project outright.

He said: “I worry about cancelling a big national project of that scale without anything else to replace it.”

He floated the option of “re-profiling the spend” so that construction of the northern leg of HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail scheme – a proposed rail line between Leeds and Manchester – become the top priority.

'Captain Invisible' [Doug Oakervee] replaced: Sir David Higgins named as new HS2 chief, Mark Leftly, The Independent, 25 Sep 2013


Written by beleben

June 17, 2019 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Bizarre, HS2, Politics

Don’t touch that jar

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In a letter to New Civil Engineer magazine, former High Speed 2 technical director Andrew McNaughton has hit back at those calling for the speed of HS2 to be slashed, claiming that doing so would only have a “small effect” on cost, but would be a “major dis-benefit” to passengers.

[Ex-HS2 technical director ‘sets record straight’ on speed, Katherine Smale, NCE, 11 June, 2019]

Last February National Infrastructure Committee commissioner and economist Bridget Rosewell said “she had never understood why” the new high speed line was looking to run trains at 360km/h and the additional cost that incurred.

But in a letter to New Civil Engineer, McNaughton – who stepped down from the role last year after having held the post since the project’s inception – said that the current design speed had been meticulously calculated to provide the “best balance” between cost and passenger journey times.

Um, thanks for that bonkers ‘insight’, Prof. And very well done for making sure no-one is spending the ‘massive amount’ of ‘HS2 contingency’.

NCE, 'HS2 chief engineer rails against construction inefficiency' | 21 May, 2013 | By Alexandra Wynne

Written by beleben

June 12, 2019 at 4:47 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

When the going gets stuffed

with 2 comments

Billy Ocean, 'Go and get stuffed'

Britain’s West Coast Main Line is absolutely stuffed, at peak time it is basically the busiest conventional rail corridor in the world (claimed Jon Stone, Europe Correspondent at the @Independent [7 June 2019]).

But he doesn’t have any data to back that claim up, though [NCHSR lecturer] ‘Gareth Dennis may be able to help’.

twitter, @joncstone, West Coast Main Line is stuffed at peak time, 07 Jun 2019

According to Mr Dennis, passenger crowding data on the DfT website shows that suburban crowding into all north-facing London stations is “pretty dreadful, which will be helped from Day 1 of HS2 Phase 1 opening”.

But the DfT figures do not show that north-facing suburban crowding is ‘pretty dreadful’, compared to other lines.

Nor do they show that the West Coast Main Line at peak time is ‘basically the busiest conventional rail corridor in the world’.

In the Table ‘RAI0215’, peak am crowding on a typical autumn weekday in 2017, Mr Dennis highlighted the “Passengers standing” for Thameslink, Great Northern, and West Midlands Trains.

But ‘passengers standing’ is not the same thing as ‘overcrowding’. Obviously, standees make up a high proportion of the ‘official’ (non-overcrowded) capacity on many commuter routes, e.g., Thameslink and London Overground.

A somewhat more relevant measure would be the ‘Passengers in excess of capacity’ (PiXC) metric. For West Midlands Trains, the RAI0215 morning PiXC figure in 2017 was 7%, and for Thameslink, 0%.

So, to reduce Euston outer suburban PiXC to zero (and save £60 billion by not building HS2), run 12-car Thameslink-type trains out of Euston.

twitter, @joncstone, 'From now on I’ll be writing a fortnightly column on transport policy for @Independent, by the way'

Written by beleben

June 10, 2019 at 10:02 am

Posted in Bizarre, HS2

Nonsense bunched up closely

with 3 comments

According to Network Rail, HS2 phase one would ‘free up space‘ for ‘faster, more frequent trains‘ on the West Coast Main Line.

According to Network Rail, HS2 phase one would 'free up space' for 'faster, more frequent trains' on the West Coast Main Line

And according to ‘Rail’ magazine writer Gareth Dennis (@PermanentRail), ‘Once HS2 is operating, services on the existing railway can bunch up nice and closely together, more like Crossrail or Thameslink. […] Capacity can leap upwards.’

twitter, @PermanentRail, 'Once HS2 is operating, services on the existing railway can bunch up nice and closely together, more like Crossrail or Thameslink. [...] Capacity can leap upwards.'

However, the October 2013 strategic case for HS2 is based on the use of the West Coast fast lines being reduced, not increased.

HS2 strategic case, Oct 2013, 'The critical difference here arises on the West Coast Main Line, and specifically on the fast pair of tracks. Whereas the use of these lines will be reduced in the HS2 case, it will be intensified under the [Atkins] upgrade options.'

So much for ‘faster, more frequent’ trains on the existing railway, and ‘services bunching up nice and closely together’.

How much would the use of the West Coast fast lines have to be reduced, with HS2?

  • At Euston, the number of classic platforms would be cut, and one of the approach tracks taken out.
  • The fast lines between London and Milton Keynes would become more of a mixed traffic railway than they are today,
  • with increased commingling of commuter and intercity trains,
  • and more flat crossing manoeuvres to and from the slow lines.

According to the July 2017 strategic case and PFM v7.1 modelling, the peak hour ex-Euston commuter fast capacity with-HS2 would be 5,300 seats, with more trains heading to Northampton.

However, the Department for Transport are declining to say where these trains would transition to the slow lines in order to get to Northampton.

On the evidence available, the modelled classic service provision in HS2’s July 2017 strategic case seems unlikely to be achievable.

Written by beleben

June 3, 2019 at 10:36 am

Posted in HS2

Nought out of ten

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One reason Richard Fisher, owner of Ten Transport Consultancy Ltd, can’t wait for HS2 to be built is that he can’t wait for the day when he’s not following mixed traffic at walking pace [on the railway] between Coventry and Birmingham!

twitter, @RichRichbaboon, 'One reason I can’t wait for HS2 to be built is that I can’t wait for the day when I’m not following mixed traffic at walking pace between Coventry and Birmingham!'

It looks like Mr Fisher will be in for a very long wait. Because HS2 would not eliminate mixed traffic on the railway between Coventry and Birmingham.

SLC Rail, Coventry - Birmingham timetable structure in 2013

If HS2 were built, the legacy two-track line via Stechford and Hampton in Arden would still need to accommodate fast and stopping passenger services, as well as freight.

High Speed Two would release virtually no capacity between Birmingham New Street, Birmingham International, and Coventry.

Even if it were possible, removing fast trains from the classic line would not be a desirable objective.

Centro, Coventry line HS2 connectivity, 2014

‘Eliminating mixed traffic’ would mean anyone travelling between Coventry and Birmingham having to endure a somewhat tedious ride on the stopping trains.

Written by beleben

May 31, 2019 at 12:50 pm

Posted in gibberish, HS2

What is the predicted demand for Euston commuter seats?

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Although ‘Figure 3’ of the July 2017 Strategic Case presented figures for the modelled peak hour supply of Euston commuter seats ‘with HS2’, there was no corresponding presentation of the anticipated demand for these seats.

Euston capacity, HS2 strategic case, July 2017

So what information is held by the Department for Transport regarding this demand?

DfT FoI response, April 2019, no information is held on forecast demand for Euston rail commuter seats

Written by beleben

May 22, 2019 at 12:04 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

Les décennies de négligence

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Further cutbacks of classic railways in France could leave entire regions of the country ‘completely isolated’ (Railway Technology reported).

Extract from 'Saving Frances rural railways', 02 May 2019

[Saving France’s rural railways: is there a light at the end of the tunnel?]

[…] “Regional railways have been neglected for decades as the priority has been given to high-speed lines, and there is also a constant, important decline of regional lines,” explains Michel Quidort, a member of FNAUT’s National Board and president of the European Passengers’ Federation.

Extract from 'Saving Frances rural railways', 02 May 2019

Written by beleben

May 19, 2019 at 8:51 am

Posted in HS2, Politics