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Archive for the ‘London’ 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.

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Written by beleben

November 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm

Posted in HS1, HS2, London

HS2 chaos is one broken cable away

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Hundreds of delegates struggled to get home from the Labour party conference in Liverpool as trains to London were disrupted for a period on 26 September.

A ‘broken signal cable’ at Wembley meant no trains could operate between Watford and London Euston, with the knock-on effects emanating up to the Midlands and the North West.

Of course, signal cables are not the only items of railway equipment that can get broken or damaged. Trains can fail, rails can crack, and overhead power lines can be put out of action by balloons, trampolines, birds, malfunctioning pantographs, etc.

The amount of disruption which then ensues depends on various factors, such as where the fault happens, how well-prepared the operator is, and how much traffic depends on the route being open. Even on lightly trafficked routes, the disruption can be massive, if the operator is not well-prepared. In 2014, more than 1,200 Eurostar passengers were stranded for hours overnight near Lille on trains following an overhead cable problem, and were only able to complete their journey when diesel locos turned up to tow the stricken trains to their destinations.

A single broken cable on HS2 could throw rail services to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and Sheffield into chaos (map: wikipedia)

If you were designing a railway network for resilience, you probably wouldn’t want to use the same line to link a country’s capital to its second, third and fourth largest metropolitan areas, and load it with 18 trains an hour, running at 360 km/h. But the government’s proposed HS2 railway would (supposedly) do just that.

Channelling all premier intercity traffic to and from the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and West Yorkshire onto a single pair of tracks between Water Orton and London would bring chaos one broken cable, or cracked rail, away.

In the event of such HS2 disruption, say 25 km out of London, the legacy West Coast Main Line would be of very limited help. The government’s intention is reconfigure the WMCL for more commuter services, and reduce the capacity at Euston from 18 to 13 platforms. The idea that the WCML could be instantly switched back into a full-service intercity railway when HS2 is disrupted, is a fantasy.

Implementing HS2 means reducing West Coast Main Line intercity capacity, and reducing classic platforms at Euston from 18 to 13

Written by beleben

September 28, 2018 at 11:04 am

Posted in HS2, London, Planning, Politics

Elmdon drivel is good to hear

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twitter, @_DSlade, HS2 would make Birmingham airport faster to reach from Euston than Heathrow

Does Wolverhampton councillor Roger Lawrence really believe that, from Euston, HS2 would make Birmingham airport quicker to reach than Heathrow?

The government’s plans for HS2 have never included a station at Birmingham airport. The nearest high speed station would be in Middle Bickenhill, 2 km away, so some form of onward transport would be necessary.

Since all HS2 trains out of Euston would stop at Old Oak, it would be way quicker to reach Heathrow. By getting off there, and switching to Crossrail.

With or without HS2, Birmingham airport is not going to be quicker to reach than Heathrow.

Written by beleben

September 25, 2018 at 12:31 pm

Posted in London, Politics, Railways

More #londoninfra please

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twitter @ANJones_Planner, '@JoJohnsonUK Transport Minister reviewing that #HS2 will connect the UK’s major city economies; to enable London’s growth to support all UK. So more #londoninfra schemes to be confirmed? To unlock accessibility, access to talent and future housing delivery? Time for #crossrail2'

To paraphrase, #HS2 is #Londoninfra, and people all over the UK need to cough up for Crossrail 2, which is needed asap, so that London can er, support, the rest of the UK outside London.

Written by beleben

September 12, 2018 at 1:14 pm

Posted in London, Politics

Not all the doors opened

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Transport for London has apologised for a ‘shocking‘ incident in which a Jubilee line tube train ran with doors open between Finchley Road and West Hampstead, but said ‘not all the doors opened’.

@roryfergusbrown, video of London tube train running with doors open

This incident received wide coverage in the British press, showing how what is considered ‘shocking’ can vary over a fairly short time and distance. Until quite recently, the TER (metrazur) services running between Ventimiglia and Marseille were provided by Inox push-pull sets whose sliding doors could be, and routinely were, pushed open by passengers inbetween stations, as a kind of ersatz air conditioning. Hundreds of trains ran up and down the Cote d’Azur every week, with their doors open.

Written by beleben

September 4, 2018 at 9:59 am

Posted in London

Crossrail 1 not on time or on budget

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Some proponents of HS2 used to argue it could be built on time and below budget because London’s Crossrail ‘is on time, and on budget’. But Crossrail is not on time or on budget.

Having used up all of its contingency funds, last month, its budget had to be increased from £14.8 bn to £15.4 bn. Today, Crossrail Limited has announced that the December 2018 opening date cannot be met, as more time is needed to complete “final infrastructure and extensive testing” to ensure a “safe and reliable railway”. The company’s new date for start of services is autumn 2019.

press-association-report-crossrail1-opening-delayed-31aug2018

There is only around 22 km of new-build route in Crossrail 1, making it a small fraction of the size of HS2 phase 1.

twitter, @Andrew_Adonis: 'the chief executive of Crossrail, very highly paid, left a few months ago, along with the chair. So the biggest infrastructure project in Europe has been essentially leaderless'

'Railway Renaissance', book by Gareth David published 30 Sep 2017, why Crossrail is on time and on budget

Kensington Swan, Crossrail on time on budget, 7 Sep 2016

Evening Standard, Geoff Hoon says Crossrail will be on time on budget

NCE, Terry Morgan, Crossrail must be on time on budget

CSW, Crossrail, on time on budget, 08 Feb 2016

Written by beleben

August 31, 2018 at 9:53 am

Posted in London, Railways

Ambition to meltdown

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May 21 saw “one of the most ambitious attempts to recast the UK’s national rail timetable for several decades”, go into meltdown.

twitter_northernassist_status_1002103771890176000

The May 20 timetable was intended to exploit “the planned completion of major infrastructure enhancements, including the Thameslink Programme in southeast England and electrification in the northwest”.

jms-northern-gtr-network-rail-cen

[‘Too much, too quickly’, Railway Gazette, 4 June 2018]

The root cause of the [Northern franchise] disruption has been a shortage of suitably trained drivers able to deliver the new timetable over revised infrastructure. So acute is the shortage that Northern has reportedly been routinely terminating trains part way through their journey as existing drivers reach the limit of their route knowledge. […]

Railway Gazette understands that the principal cause of the driver shortage is a late request from Network Rail, in its System Operator role, for Northern to withdraw its May 20 timetable and resubmit it with changes. Behind this change request was the late completion of electrification and resignalling of the Preston – Blackpool route, and continuing delay to the electrification work between Manchester and Preston via Bolton.
[…]
Northern’s service delivery efforts have been further hampered by the refusal of drivers’ union ASLEF to enter into a new Rest Day Working agreement, which would resolve many of the immediate staffing issues and allow Northern to move ahead more quickly with training programmes.
[…]
When the Ordsall Chord opened in December last year, it was heralded as a ‘missing link’ in rail connectivity between Manchester’s two principal stations, Piccadilly and Victoria. Yet in practice, opening of the short south-to-east curve has only served to expose the fragility of the rest of the double-track corridor through Manchester Piccadilly and south towards the city’s airport, which is among the most intensively used sections of the national network.

Apparently, train operators and Network Rail must shoulder responsibility, but not the transport secretary Chris Grayling.

[Chris Grayling says rail industry ‘has failed passengers’, BBC, 30 May 2018]

[…] Chris Grayling wrote to MPs over the “wholly unsatisfactory” service on Govia Thameslink Railway and Northern.

GTR said it expected disruption to ease “over the coming month” and Northern said it has commissioned a report to “ensure lessons are learned”.

Mr Grayling said: “The way timetabling is done has to change.”

The transport secretary also criticised Network Rail, saying it “cannot cope” with the workload, and its performance was “simply unacceptable”.

He added: “We were aware there might be some disruption in the early stages of any new timetable change but the scale of the problem has far outstripped any expectation.”

He said he was now in “regular contact” with Network Rail and rail companies to deal with the issues quickly. […]

Northern rail, temporary timetable announcement

No train by ArrivaThe Northern meltdown has exposed the communication and operational dysfunctionality of the current industry structure, and the inadequacy of the ‘franchising process’. In essence, Northern got to run trains in the northwest not by demonstrating excellence, but through a secretive process, in which it impressed a few civil servants.

Written by beleben

June 4, 2018 at 11:58 am