Archive for the ‘London’ Category
London mayor Sadiq Khan has warned that the capital’s transport network will ‘grind to a halt’ under the “unbearable strain” of millions more passengers, unless the government agrees to co-fund the £30 billion (?) Crossrail 2.
What might have prompted that ‘warning’?
[Sadiq Khan: London’s transport network will grind to halt amid ‘unbearable strain’ without Crossrail 2, PIPPA CRERAR, Evening Standard, 8 Feb 2017]
It comes as Government insiders revealed concerns about stumping up almost half of the current £32 billion cost, with one claiming ministers were “going cold” on the idea.
But the immediate ‘strain’ for Transport for London is an overall fares income ‘down £90 million due to lower passenger volumes’, according to Greater London Assembly Conservatives.
In the view of the Beleben blog, Crossrail 2, in its present form, is a vanity project, and should not be built.
The full economic case has been kept from the public, but the available summary information indicates that Crossrail 2’s benefit-cost and other metrics are not particularly impressive.
Obviously, transport congestion in central London is not limited to Crossrail 2’s south-west-to-north-east axis. It requires a holistic approach.
With further automation and platform screens, the capacity of existing Underground lines could be increased substantially. And for many journeys in central London, new on-street light rail would be quicker than the tube.
(What is left of) Network Rail’s electrification of the Great Western main line is supposed to offer ‘improved resilience and reliability’.
But the video for another project – the Gospel Oak to Barking scheme in north London – appears to show it has been designed with non-independent location of the overhead lines.
Re-routeing the London Underground Central Line to Willesden, via Old Oak, would improve the substandard connections in that part of west London. With platform screens and automation, the train frequency on the city section of the Central Line could be increased to around 40 per hour.
The suburban sections of the Central Line in the east and the west might be better developed as parts of other railways.
- The section to the west of Acton could become part of a tram-train linking Old Oak, Ruislip, and Uxbridge.
- The eastern suburban stretch of the Central Line, which was at one time intended to form part of a Chelsea – Hackney tube, could become part of a ‘national rail’ route to Stansted airport, or ‘Crossrail_X2’.
On 11 October, the House of Lords HS2 LWM committee were advised of the demerits of the flawed ‘Euston Express’ concept for accommodating high speed trains at Euston, by advocates of the flawed HS2 Ltd concept for accommodating high speed trains at Euston.
According to James Strachan QC, Department for Transport Counsel, ‘Euston Express train service options would be very limited, comprising, say, Birmingham / Manchester and Scotland or else the other destinations, but not both’.
[James Strachan QC] 123. […]You could either have a very limited 200-metre-long classic compatible service, with less capacity than the current West Coast Main Line – the benefits wouldn’t actually then justify the cost of the tunnel – or a five-to-six-platform station, which would incur most of the property demolition, an adverse environmental effect and cost,for a much reduced HS2 train station to Euston.
Of course, the “very limited 200-metre-long classic compatible service” mentioned by Mr Strachan, is actually the official HS2 Ltd proposition for trains from London to the busiest Country HS2 destinations – Birmingham and Manchester – during most of the day.
Mr Strachan claimed that the benefits of the Euston Express tunnel works ‘wouldn’t justify their cost’. But far more trains would use those tunnels, than would use the ridiculous, and hugely expensive, HS2 Ltd tunnels proposed in south Manchester.
According to the Department for Transport, the November 2015 technical annex to the HS2 Strategic Case showed that ‘infrastructure investment contained within the [Atkins] Strategic Alternative only allows a 4.7 per cent increase in [London Midland] morning peak capacity into Euston over and above running all of today’s services with 12-cars’.
|Reference||London Midland capacity scenario||Number of LM services||Standard class seats||Standard class capacity|
|i||No HS2, Dec 2014||28 (stated by DfT)||15132 (stated by DfT)||20234 (stated by DfT)|
|ii||No HS2, All 12-carriage||28 (stated by DfT)||19344 (stated by DfT), 20412 (arithmetic*)||25884 (stated by DfT)|
|iii||With Atkins “Strategic” Alternative and No HS2||30 (stated by DfT)||20580 (stated by DfT), 21870 (arithmetic*)||27120 (stated by DfT)|
|iv||With HS2||41 (stated by DfT)||30330 (stated by DfT), 29889 (arithmetic*)||41103 (stated by DfT)|
No classic lineside works,
Run 12 trains in the three peak hours
|36 (see discussion below)||26244 (arithmetic*)|
|* = assuming 243 Standard Class seats in a 4-car Class 350/2 unit, i.e. 729 seats in a 12-car train|
- the figures given do not seem to match those from publicly available train data,
- the Department does not include First Class in its assessment of commuter capacity,
- the ‘Strategic Alternative’ is a “straw man” proposal, commissioned by the government purely to bolster the case for HS2. Much better “alternatives” could be, and have been, designed.
The technical annex also claimed that, with HS2 Phase One, route capacity released from running fewer inter-city services on the West Coast Main Line would allow the number of London Midland morning peak arrivals to increase from 28 to 41.
But how dependent is London Midland capacity on HS2? The company’s December 2015 – May 2016 timetable showed that, in the three hour weekday morning peak,
- only seven Commuter trains arrived at Euston between between 07:01 and 08:00, thirteen arrived between 08:01 and 09:00, and eight arrived between 09:01 and 10:00; and
- most were ‘Commuter Slow’ — running on the slow lines not used by inter-city trains.
|Dec 2015 – May 2016 timetable (weekday)|
|Time of arrival at Euston||Between
07:01 – 08:00
08:01 – 09:00
09:01 – 10:00
|Quantum of London Midland trains||7||13||8|
If thirteen London Midland commuter trains can be accommodated between 8am and 9am, what would be the difficulty in accommodating twelve between 7am and 8am, or between 9am and 10am? Many ‘flexitime’ workers would use shoulder peak services, if cheaper fares were on offer.
With London Crossrail 1’s tunnels and interchanges at the fit-out stage, now is the time for National Infrastructure Commission chairman Andrew Adonis to fret about their design, apparently.
[Crossrail interchanges are not good enough, says Lord Adonis, Gwyn Topham, The Guardian, 12 April 2016 ]
Passengers face long walks between trains, with poor links to tube network likely to offset faster journey times, says infrastructure chief
[…] “The interchanges are not great. There are going to be a lot of passengers walking a long way to change between trains – and they are very long trains,” Lord Adonis said of Crossrail, speaking at an infrastructure conference in London.
The former transport secretary, who held office in the last Labour government when Crossrail was officially announced in 2009, said: “I tried as a minister at the last minute to unpick this, but it was too late.”
Very high speed rail was launched by Mr Adonis in 2009, but evidently not enough time has yet passed for him to have noticed that his dead-end Birmingham HS2 station would be sited hundreds of yards from the main station, at New Street.
So, the sentence “Not enough people pay enough attention to interchanges”, includes, it seems, the chancellor, the prime minister, and the NIC chairman.
Needless to say, HS2, ‘HS3’, and Crossrail 2 are replete with conceptual and design flaws.
In an experiment for The Jeremy Vine Show on BBC Radio 2, Tim Johns tried to find out how much airborne particule matter he was being exposed to in different locations and on different modes of transport, using a portable monitor lent by researchers at King’s College. “The higher the reading, the less healthy it would be.”
[How much diesel pollution am I breathing in?, Tim Johns, BBC, 4 March 2016]
Walking around in Bedford my readings rose to 1.7 and a Saturday afternoon spent driving around town gave me a reading of 2.1.
The researchers at King’s College say one of the worst environments for diesel exposure can be when you’re sitting in your car in slow-moving traffic (although some modern cars are now excellent at filtering out pollution).
On my commute [to London], cycling to and from the train station in Bedford gave me a reading of 3.7.
Cycling to and from the office at the other end in central London, my exposure rose to 6.5. That’s a stark reflection of the far higher level of traffic in central London and other major cities.
But my biggest surprise was on my train journey. Diesel-powered trains like the one I commute on are found on many major routes across the UK. The East Coast Main Line north of Edinburgh, the Great Western route through to Cornwall, and London services to Sheffield and Nottingham are just some examples.
The average reading I got on-board my air conditioned [diesel] train was 8.5. A researcher from King’s College conducted an experiment to mirror mine on his train journey from London to Exeter and came out with similar results.
My time spent standing on the station concourse at London St Pancras, waiting for my train, produced a reading of 13.2.
So it turns out that during the 80 minutes I spend sitting still on a train every day I am being exposed to more diesel fumes than when I’m walking or cycling down a street full of traffic in London. On the day I took an electric train instead, my reading was only 2.4.
[…] My highest reading of the week came from a journey I took with a black cab in the capital. We spent most of the journey crawling in traffic – the windows were down – and I got a reading of 19.9.
[…] There’s one other astonishing measurement I recorded which I haven’t mentioned yet. On the London Underground my device gave me a reading of 77.8. But this wasn’t caused by diesel fumes – other particles found underground can skew the reading.
“The device measured ‘black particles’, which, above ground would primarily be black carbon from diesel,” says Barratt. “But below ground most of it is oxidised iron coming from the tracks. It’s well known that the Tube is a dusty environment, but what is not well known is how toxic the specific kind of particles that we breathe while travelling underground are.”