die belebende Bedenkung

Archive for the ‘HS2’ Category

The lack of detail on HS2 costs

with 2 comments

On 15 March Lord Berkeley wrote to transport secretary Chris Grayling to update him on Michael Byng’s costings for HS2 phase one.

twitter @tonyberkeley1, 'HS2 Phase 1 costs now £51 bn, due to increased scope', 17 Mar 2018

Lord Berkeley letter to Chris Grayling, 2018-03-15, page 1

Lord Berkeley letter to Chris Grayling, 2018-03-15, page 2

Lord Berkeley letter to Chris Grayling, 2018-03-15, page 3


Written by beleben

March 18, 2018 at 10:22 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

Boondoggle versus cleaner air and safe cycling

leave a comment »

UK recommended route cycle signThe number of cyclists killed or seriously injured because of Britain’s badly maintained roads has more than trebled since 2007. But campaign group Cycling UK believes the statistics do not tell the full story because they only cover incidents where police attended the scene – and not all cyclists report injuries to the police (reported the BBC on 16 March).

“Cycling UK is incredibly concerned to see what is clearly a trend on the up showing more people being killed or seriously injured while cycling, all because our roads are in a shocking state,” said campaigns director Simon Jones.

“Unfortunately for cyclists if they hit a pothole, then it’s not just a costly repair bill but also a strong possibility of personal injury or in the worst cases death.”

Hornsey and Wood Green MP Catherine West told BBC News that funds earmarked for HS2 should be raided to fix roads.

She said the government would never be able to meet its clean air targets unless it made cycling to work safer for people living in “big cities”.

Written by beleben

March 16, 2018 at 8:29 pm

Posted in Cycling, HS2, Politics

Emerging baloney research

with one comment

The economy of northern England is set for a £15 billion boost if a Northern powerhouse rail station is built in Bradford city centre, according to a report commissioned from Genecon by Bradford city council.


West Yorks Combined Authority, 'North’s economy set for £15 bn boost from Bradford city centre station on Northern Powerhouse Rail', 14 March 2018

Although the report’s claims have been publicised on the West Yorkshire combined authority and Bradford council websites, there seems to be no way of actually consulting the report itself.

Bradford Council, Northern economy set for £15 bn boost, 14 March 2018


Written by beleben

March 14, 2018 at 2:47 pm

Will ‘HS2 college’ train 1,200 students every year?

leave a comment »

The young apprentices at the National College for High Speed Rail [NCHSR] in Birmingham will train 1,200 students every single year, using cutting-edge technology and world-class teaching to get the qualifications and experience they need to build our future railway, according to a Birmingham Mail article ‘written by’ West Midlands mayor Andy Street and HS2 Minister Nusrat Ghani.

'The young apprentices at the National College for High Speed Rail in Birmingham will train 1,200 students every single year' (?)

But how would young apprentices be able to train students?

And are there plans to train 1,200 people every single year?

According to figures seen by the Beleben blog, NCHSR had just 69 learners enrolled in January 2018.

NCHSR, learners enrolled in October 2017 and January 2018

For the year 2018 / 2019, the target is 639 learners (apprentices plus ‘Cert HE’), and for the year 2019 / 2020, 852.

How cost-effective, or viable, is NCHSR?


Written by beleben

March 13, 2018 at 12:11 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

De-scoped ‘hub vision’ is a longer platform

with one comment

Woo-hoo Homer SimpsonOn 9 March the government announced its support for ‘the’ Crewe HS2 hub, following a consultation which yielded just 146 responses (some of which were categorised as null responses, including: identical responses from a single respondent, blank responses, and requests for specific information).

[Government confirms commitment to Crewe Hub vision,, 9 Mar 2018]

“… the government’s support for the Crewe Hub vision means plans for HS2 Phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe will be modified to include:

* extension of Platform 5 at Crewe to 400 metres, to allow for the splitting and joining of HS2 services, which also opens opportunities to serve Stoke-on-Trent with HS2

* a more efficient design for the proposed platform on the Manchester independent lines, incorporating a transfer deck to the main station

* a change to the design of the southern connection from HS2, so that HS2 joins, and takes over, the central 2 lines on the existing network

The Secretary of State also intends to ask the franchise operator, West Coast Partnership, to include a high speed service to Stoke-on-Trent in its market development and service plans.”

But what exactly is ‘the’ HS2 hub?

It certainly doesn’t resemble what Cheshire East council were promoting, or even what Crewe town council were promoting.

Crewe HS2 Farrells hub visualisation

[Government confirms commitment to Crewe Hub vision,, 9 Mar 2018]

Combined with a HS2 junction north of Crewe (which will be considered as part of Phase 2b), this could allow 5 to 7 HS2 trains per hour to call at Crewe and improve connectivity on the lines from Crewe to Shrewsbury, Chester and Stoke-on-Trent (subject in some cases to further investment beyond Crewe itself).

In summary: HS2 Crewe hub (March 2018 version) = a platform extension at the existing Crewe station, to allow portion working of one HS2 path to Liverpool and Preston.

Written by beleben

March 12, 2018 at 12:44 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

More photo-opps than answers

with 2 comments

twitter, @andy4wm at Brierley Hill

On a whistle stop photo-opp tour of the Black Country with mayor Andy Street yesterday, transport secretary Chris Grayling visited “the future site of Willenhall Railway Station”, the Midland Metro depot at Wednesbury (to see an ‘upgraded’ battery bi-mode tramcar), and the planned terminus of the Metro extension at Brierley Hill.

twitter @BBCPeterPlisner, 'Transport sec Chris Grayling was in town to see the first upgraded [Metro] vehicle'

Another photo-opp at Moseley village, in nearby Birmingham, was in support of ‘reworked plans’ to reopen some stations on the Camp Hill line.

twitter, @TransportforWM, Transport secretary Chris Grayling MP meets @Andy4WM in a visit to the Midlands and confirms @transportgovuk will consider plans to reinstate passenger services on Birmingham's Camp Hill line

Previous local authority plans to restore stopping services on the Camp Hill line had envisaged the construction of a new viaduct at Bordesley, to enable trains to run into Moor Street station.

This “Bordesley chord” was promoted as an essential part of the Camp Hill ‘reactivation’, helping to de-congest New Street station.

The Bordesley chord, mentioned in a BBC Midlands Today report in March 2017, now appears to have been abandoned

But in February, West Midlands mayor Andy Street said that the difficult-to-construct Bordesley chord would not be needed if existing trains from Hereford ran via the Camp Hill line, stopping at the rebuilt stations, and then ran into, er, Birmingham New Street.

[Birmingham Mail, 28 Feb, updated 1 Mar 2018]

[Andy Street:] “But instead of turning round [at New Street] and taking up platform space for valuable extra minutes, the service would then go forward to somewhere like Shrewsbury”.

twitter, @andy4wm, reopening Walsall to Wolverhampton railway is a key priority

Beyond the photo-opps, how much of all this stands up, in terms of value for money?

twitter, @andy4wm, talking with Neil Elkes


Written by beleben

March 9, 2018 at 9:33 am

Posted in HS2, Politics, Transport

Resistance or bust

leave a comment »

Last year, West Midlands mayor Andy Street said he had a plan to “bust” congestion — but he wouldn’t explain what it is. In August of 2017, Anne Shaw was appointed ‘director of network resilience’ at the West Midlands Combined Authority, but since then, nothing has been heard of any ideas she may have come up with. 

The Inrix Global Traffic Scorecard 2016 found that Birmingham was the ‘third most-congested [city?] in England’ and that, on average, motorists in the city spent nine per cent of their total journey time in traffic (the Birmingham Post reported on 18 October 2017).

That might indicate, perhaps, that the local authorities have failed in their efforts to relieve congestion and improve traffic movement.

Construction of the HS2 railway has the potential to worsen the situation, by creating ‘significant disruption on the regional motorway and road networks’, unless ‘carefully managed’, according to a Combined Authority news release dated 1 March 2018. It stated that a mayoral ‘Resilience Partnership’ has now been set up to ‘bust congestion’.

WMCA, 'congestion busting HS2 partnership' 01 Mar 2018

The Express and Star reported it was a “resistance partnership” that had been set up. That might be a more appropriate name, given Mr Street and WMCA’s ongoing ‘resistance’ to explaining how they are going to ‘bust congestion’.

Express and Star, 2018_03_06, 'Significant disruption warning over HS2 build'


Written by beleben

March 6, 2018 at 10:41 am

Posted in HS2