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The difficultee with Oakervee orthographee

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By the end of the week “we are due to find out the results of the independent Overkee [sic] Review into HS2”, according to a ludicrous article by Mark Casci, of The Yorkshire Post.

'This is our last chance to dispel the myths of the HS2 naysayers - Mark Casci', Yorkshire Post,14 Oct 2019

But is that true? Has it been announced that the Oakervee review “results” are going to be made public this week?

twitter, @MarkCasci, 'This week's column - our last chance to blow the HS2 myths out of the water.'

twitter, @BRCWCo, 'I take it the misspelling of Oakavee was a typo? The rest was well put, not that the stopHS2 muppets will agree, not until it's finished and they can't miss the benefits that is.'


Written by beleben

October 15, 2019 at 10:07 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

Connecting Leeds HS2 through Manchester

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Extending the hugely expensive HS2 railway from Manchester to Leeds instead of building its eastern leg via Toton is being ‘considered’ as part of the government’s review of the scheme, The Sunday Times reported (October 13 2019).

No shqet sherlök, as they say in Albania.

twitter, @DavidCollinsST, 'This will be controversial in Leeds, Yorkshire and generally East of England; HS2 Leeds route could go via Manchester to save £10bn'

[HS2 Leeds route could go via Manchester to save £10bn, David Collins, Northern Correspondent, The Sunday Times | October 13 2019]

A plan for direct train links between Manchester and Leeds is being considered as part of the government’s review of the £88bn HS2 high-speed rail project.

Trains from London would run through Birmingham to Manchester and then to Leeds, creating a journey time between Manchester and Leeds of just 20 minutes. The average now is 1hr 11 min.

The plan is an alternative to the proposed HS2 route, which splits into east and west legs after Birmingham. The eastern line, which goes to Leeds via Toton, a new station between Nottingham and Derby, is at risk of being dropped, saving up to £10bn. […] {Rest of story is paywalled}

The headline says “to save £10bn”, yet the story beneath it says “up to £10bn“.

But who actually has a credible costing for the HS2 eastern leg via Toton, or for a new transpennine line to allow travel between Manchester and Leeds in “20 minutes”? The ‘Northern powerhouse rail’ aspiration was for Manchester to Leeds in thirty minutes, not twenty.

[The case for new lines, Network Rail, 2009]

Connecting Leeds through Manchester has a large incremental cost and does not provide a significant journey time benefit over the London-Leeds direct service on the East Coast Main Line[.]

Most likely, the idea of routeing London to Leeds trains via Manchester is part of a wider package of de-scoping, as a sort of last-ditch alternative to scrapping the entire HS2 project.

Cancellation of the eastern leg would reduce the size of the HS2 station(s) needed in London, and the number of trains circulating. At present, the Bickenhill to London stretch is supposed to accommodate 17 high speed trains per hour in each direction (which is not achieved anywhere in the world).

With fewer trains running on HS2 and East Coast passengers staying on the East Coast Main Line, the case for building the Old Oak to Euston section would diminish further.

Written by beleben

October 13, 2019 at 2:23 pm

Posted in HS2, Leeds, Manchester

Miffing in action

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The HS2 review was the top story on the 6 pm Central ITV News (11 October 2019), for the second evening in a row.

Gareth Owen reports from London on the HS2 review for ITV Central News, 11 Oct 2019

Reporter Gareth Owen attempted to ‘catch up’ with members of the review panel, leaving its last scheduled meeting.

Tony Travers and Stephen Glaister in Westminster for the HS2 review, ITV Central News, 11 Oct 2019

While none of them would give a quote about the meeting, Andy Street, the West Midlands metro mayor, appeared to be in a state of some discontent.

West Midlands mayor Andy Street in London for the HS2 review, ITV Central News, 11 Oct 2019

Written by beleben

October 11, 2019 at 7:54 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

Toton ist nicht tot

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twitter, @grantshapps, [ITV Central News report on HS2 is] 'Totally untrue, both on timetable and on review outcome which is ongoing.'

Yesterday’s ITV Central News story about the HS2 review is “totally untrue”, both on the timetable and on the outcome, which is ongoing, transport secretary Grant Shapps tweeted.

Monty Python, dead parrot sketch

Written by beleben

October 11, 2019 at 9:53 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

Ist Toton tot?

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ITV News Central has been told by two sources that the ‘independent review’ into the future of HS2 is expected to present its findings to government ‘next Friday’ (18 October 2019), unless Brexit events intervene.

ITV News Central reporters discuss HS2 on the local evening news show | 10 Oct 2019

ITV News Central reporters discuss HS2 on the local evening news show | 10 Oct 2019

On its 6 pm evening news show (10 October 2019), reporter Mark Gough said he had learned that the phase two eastern leg from Birmingham through to the East Midlands and Yorkshire was “definitely dead”, and the western leg to Manchester was “being downgraded”.

Regarding HS2 phase one, one source had told Mr Gough that London to West Midlands would go ahead but with ‘reduced speeds, so the track is cheaper to build’. But another source had intimated that the recommendation could be that the entire scheme is suspended.

twitter, @HS2ltd (10 Oct 2019), 'The #HS2 East #Midlands Hub station at #Toton will spark a regeneration. It could provide 74,000 new jobs and add an extra £4bn a year to the economy around #Leicester #Nottingham and #Derby. Learn more about this and how journeys will be transformed: (...)'

Written by beleben

October 10, 2019 at 7:28 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

Turning West Coast Fast tracks to mixed-traffic means fewer trains, not more

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In the blurb for its video posted on Youtube on 8 October, HS2 Ltd claimed that the High Speed Two railway “will improve your journey, even if you don’t use our trains. Building HS2 frees up a massive amount of space on the existing railway by placing high speed services on their own pair of tracks. Once HS2 is operating, services can run much closer together, there will be space for future growth in passenger numbers and more freight can travel by rail.”

HS2 Ltd Youtube video, posted 08 Oct 2019

Of course, HS2 is irrelevant to the needs of everyday travellers. The best way to improve rail journeys from Croydon to London, Rainford to Liverpool, Helensburgh to Glasgow, or Merthyr to Cardiff, would be to move funds away from HS2, to the existing network.

Outdated and uncompetitive rail transport in the North: Kirkby station, Merseyside, by Raymond Knapman (Creative Commons)

The claim that HS2 would place high speed services on their ‘own pair of tracks, allowing other services to run much closer together’, has no factual basis.


High speed services from Euston already have their own pair of tracks, known as the Fast lines. The HS2 plan for these Fast lines is to turn them into a mixed-traffic railway, where fewer – not more – trains could run.

DfT confirmation of fewer (not more) trains on WCML South in the modeled HS2 scenarios

DfT confirmation of fewer (not more) trains on WCML South in the modelled HS2 scenarios

Written by beleben

October 9, 2019 at 11:52 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

Blackadder bottles out

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On 2 August 2019 David Blackadder-Weinstein of Midlands Connect announced that they would be providing ‘Joe-proof’ numbers of the extra trains that could run on the Midland, West Coast, and East Coast railways, as a result of HS2 ‘released capacity’.

twitter, @weinsteinlinder, ''I think HS2 releases capacity for an extra 8 trains an hour on the WMCL, 4 on the MML and 4 on the ECML. But before I qualify that to “HS2 will release” I want to check and double check our working so that it’s Joe-proof. Thanks for your ongoing challenge Joe. You’re a big help.''

But at the time of writing, Mr Blackadder-Weinstein and Midlands Connect still appear unable or unwilling to produce these details. Without them, it is not possible to fully evaluate Midlands Connect’s claims of ‘144 extra freight trains per day’, or ’73 stations on the existing network indicatively benefiting from improved services post-HS2′.

[‘HS2 releaaed capacity table‘ Midlands Connect, 4 Oct 2019, extract]

Please note: these projected benefits are indicative, based on an in-depth analysis of current local rail strategies, rail models and the Midlands Connect
technical programme.

Sources: Planet rail models (Department for Transport, WMRE West Midlands Rail Investment Strategy, Midlands Connect technical business cases.

@midsconnect, 'HS2 released capacity' table, 04 Oct 2019, page 1

@midsconnect, 'HS2 released capacity' table, 04 Oct 2019, page 2

@midsconnect, 'HS2 released capacity' table, 04 Oct 2019, page 3

@midsconnect, 'HS2 released capacity' table, 04 Oct 2019, page 4

@midsconnect, 'HS2 released capacity' table, 04 Oct 2019, page 5

@midsconnect, 'HS2 released capacity' table, 04 Oct 2019, page 6

@midsconnect, 'HS2 released capacity' table, 04 Oct 2019, page 7

@midsconnect, 'HS2 released capacity' table, 04 Oct 2019, page 8

Written by beleben

October 4, 2019 at 1:59 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics