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Archive for the ‘HS2’ Category

Released capacity for Whitlocks End

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According to Midlands Connect, HS2 will release capacity on the Derby to Stoke railway, Birmingham’s Cross-City line, and, er, the North Warwickshire line.


This suggests that Midlands Connect does not understand what ‘released capacity’ is.

Perhaps not too surprising, given that they seem to think running a bubble car between Leamington Spa and Coventry once an hour is a ‘step change in capacity in the NUCKLE corridor’.


Written by beleben

May 16, 2018 at 9:12 am

Posted in gibberish, HS2

Much less physical intervention

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On BBC Radio 4’s Today programme (10 May 2018) Network Rail chief Mark Carne explained the benefit of the ‘Digital Railway‘ as he saw it.

[MC:] The exciting thing about the Digital Railway is that it requires much less physical intervention than building new railways, and that’s really why I like it so much.

So, if it’s possible to ‘increase capacity on existing lines with new digital signalling’, and this new signalling

  • requires much less trackside intervention on existing lines than traditional interventions,
  • and is much less expensive than building new lines,

then what is the point of HS2?

'Making the Digital Railway a Reality', 2018-05-10, York

Written by beleben

May 10, 2018 at 3:27 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

Information causes confusion

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Information causes confusion and information is bad, m'kay?

In a response published on the What Do They Know website, HS2 Ltd stated its reasons for refusing to release correspondence between the company and the Department for Transport about the concept of terminating the high speed line at Old Oak Common instead of Euston.

HS2 FOI18-1976, Response, page 1

HS2 FOI18-1976 Response, page 2

HS2 FOI18-1976, Response, page 3

[HS2 Ltd]

It is also contrary to the public interest to disclose information reflecting possibilities considered before a decision has been made, as such disclosure would be likely to lead to confusion and ill-informed debate.


[HS2 Ltd]
There is a public interest in favour of ensuring that a public authority does not have to expend resources on explaining and justifying information on possibilities. Therefore public officials require a thinking space in which to appraise and assess all available options before making public announcements.

The exemption requires that the qualified person for the public authority must give their reasonable opinion that the exemption is required. In the case of HS2 Ltd, our qualified person is our Chief Executive Officer and he has confirmed that in his reasonable opinion section 36(2) [of FOIA 2000] is engaged.

Heaven forfend that a public authority might have to ‘expend resources on explaining and justifying information on possibilities’, eh?

Written by beleben

April 21, 2018 at 8:28 am

Posted in HS2, London

East Coast upgrades compromised by HS2

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Much of the East Coast Main Line (ECML) is “nearing the end of its design life”, according to Network Rail, and the benefits of ‘Control Period’ investment are “at risk”. However, the value for money of a substantial upgrade to the line seems to be compromised by HS2, judging by the figures in the company’s January 2018 ‘Route Strategic Plan’.

Much of the East Coast Main Line is 'nearing the end of its design life', according to Network Rail

HS2 was sold to politicians on the basis that it would ‘avoid the need for blockades and weekend closures’ on existing lines. But at some point, the ECML existing track and signalling will have to be replaced, and that will entail track closures and disruption. Those unavoidable periods of downtime could be used to implement a 21st century upgrade of the line, vastly increasing its capability. However, because the government wants to move long distance passengers from the ECML to HS2, the economic case for such intervention is not there.

It is a similar situation to the Midland Main Line, where the case for electrification north of Bedford was destroyed by the government’s plan to cajole, or force, long distance passengers to move to HS2. The ‘outer suburban’ electrification to Corby seems to have survived because it was too far gone for transport secretary Chris Grayling to cancel.

Written by beleben

April 20, 2018 at 10:49 am

Posted in HS2, Politics, Railways

One vision going forward

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Birmingham Conservatives have launched their vision for Birmingham City Council going forward.

Birmingham Conservatives, One City Vision 2018


They are concerned that suburban areas have not benefited from concentration of investment in the city centre.

But concentration of investment in the city centre was, and is, Conservative party policy.


So how are things going to change, going forward?

Written by beleben

April 19, 2018 at 11:37 am

Posted in Birmingham, HS2

The fearsome costs of HS2

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In his latest letter to Lord Tony Berkeley regarding HS2, transport secretary Chris Grayling told him: “As you know from previous correspondence on this issue from both Lord Ahmad and Paul Maynard MP, HS2 Ltd and the Department do not agree with the  cost, schedule and engineering assertions made by Michael Byng. The Phase One funding envelope (without rolling stock) is £24.3 billion” (Railnews reported on 18 April)., 2018_04_18, 'Fears grow over true cost of HS2'

Railnews also claimed that Mr Byng’s advice had been “requested” by the Department for Transport.

[Fears grow over true cost of HS2, Railnews]

Mr Byng has prepared a 4000-page document analysing the costs of HS2. After his advice had been requested by the Department for Transport, he concluded that the true cost of Phase One between London and Birmingham is likely to be at least £50 billion, compared with the latest official figure of £24.3 billion. This includes a one-third contingency allowance but not the cost of new high speed trains. The cost of the whole scheme, including the extensions to Manchester and Leeds, is now said to top £100 billion.

twitter, @mbpcworldwide, June 2017, claimed HS2 phase 1 cost as £48 bn

Written by beleben

April 19, 2018 at 9:50 am

Posted in HS2, Politics

The advantages of going loopy

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One of the attractions of Elon Musk’s hyperloop is that it is “significantly less expensive than conventional rail infrastructure”, according to former Conservative transport minister Steven Norris.

[The hyperloop train is leaving the station – and the UK must be on it, Steven Norris, City A.M., 18 April 2018]

It could connect Gatwick and Heathrow so that they operated as one super-hub airport. It could link London to Glasgow faster than HS2. It could unlock the Northern Powerhouse.

Written by beleben

April 18, 2018 at 11:24 am