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Archive for the ‘misinformation’ Category

Heathrow Crossrail to have premium fares

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In a press release dated 16 March 2018 and titled “Mayor of London announces TfL fares will apply to Elizabeth line”, mayor Sadiq Kahn was ‘delighted to announce that the cost of travelling on the Elizabeth Line [Crossrail 1] in Zones 1 – 6 will be the same price as a similar journey on the tube – fulfilling a key manifesto pledge’.

The press release then went on say that journeys to Heathrow Airport on Crossrail 1 would not be the same price as by Underground.

In other words, the title of the article, and the prominent mayoral quote, are directly at odds with what is actually intended.

Transport for London press release, 'Mayor of London announces TfL fares will apply to Elizabeth line', 16 Mar 2018


Written by beleben

March 19, 2018 at 11:58 am

(White) elephant in the corner

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On 22 January, the Secretary of State Chris Grayling is “given the opportunity to produce the information previously requested by the [House of Commons Transport] Committee, explain his responses to requests for further information from the Committee, and outline the reasoning that underpins his decision to replace three rail electrification schemes with bi-mode trains”.

The (white) elephant in the corner

[House of Commons Transport Committee, 21 December 2017]

[…] In July, the Secretary of State announced that bi-mode trains would be used instead of rail electrification schemes on three lines:

* Midland Mainline (MML), north of Kettering to Sheffield and Nottingham
* Great Western Mainline (GWML), west of Cardiff
* And on the Lakes Line (LL) between Windermere and Oxenholme

The case of the Midland Main Line (MML) electrification is particularly interesting, because — incredibly — the original cost-benefit assessment pretended that the HS2 project did not exist.

Of course, the HS2 business case is predicated on transferring intercity journeys from existing lines (especially trips to and from London). When the Midland electrification assessment was very belatedly re-done to factor in the impact of HS2, the economic case collapsed.

Updated appraisal of MML upgrade for DfT, 2016

The Transport Committee, other MPs, “stakeholders”, and the public were kept completely in the dark about this. One of the results of this secrecy was the embarrassing Commons debate on 7 November 2016, in which honourable members took turns to emphasise the ‘strong benefit-cost ratio’ of the MML scheme.

On 22 January 2018, the Secretary of State Chris Grayling is given the opportunity to speak to the Commons transport committee

Written by beleben

January 19, 2018 at 12:54 pm

HS2 ‘is not controlled by Whitehall’

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“Ownership of HS2 is very much controlled by the regions, it’s no longer a Whitehall-dominated or controlled project”, according to HS2 Ltd chairman David Higgins (sound recording published on 24 November on the Signal Radio website, statement at 02:55 into the mp3).

HS2 is no longer a Whitehall-dominated or controlled project, according to David Higgins (24 Nov 2017)


Written by beleben

December 1, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Bombast and the bailout

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Christmas in November

Christmas came early for Stagecoach and Virgin on 29 November, when the Department for Transport announced secretary of state Chris Grayling’s ‘new strategic vision‘ for railways., strategic vision for rail, 29 Nov 2017

The announcement was bundled with a government bailout for (Stagecoach) Virgin Trains East Coast, the operator of nearly all long distance services out of Kings Cross since 2015.

Investment bank Liberum believes the risk of Stagecoach defaulting on the franchise has been ‘removed’ – perhaps not surprisingly, given that inconvenient back-loaded payment obligations which won VTEC the franchise competition seem to have been ‘disappeared’. In GB rail, ‘competition for the market’ seems to amount to which bidder has the rosiest spectacles, or the best cock and bull story.

East Coast bailout story in the Guardian, 29 Nov 2017

ITV News at 6.30 pm did not mention the bailout, and mainstream media coverage was distracted by the guff about ‘reversing Beeching’.

Daily Express 'reversing Beeching' twaddle, 29 November 2017

Stagecoach East Coast bailout story, Financial Times 29 Nov 2017


Written by beleben

November 30, 2017 at 12:28 pm

Inexactitude of additionality

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Scotland will benefit from 34,000 additional seats per day from London when HS2 is completed in 2033, according to Rail magazine.

[‘HS2 offers thousands of extra seats to Scotland’, Richard Clinnick, 13 Sep 2017]

Secretary of State for Scotland David Mundell revealed the figure in a Commons Written Reply to Alan Brown (SNP, Kilmarnock and Loudon), who had asked three questions relating to HS2.
He said the business case assumes two 400-metre HS2 trains per hour between London and Scotland, and that these will split or join at Carstairs, with half serving Glasgow and the other half serving Edinburgh.

[…] Each 400m train is assumed to have 1,056 seats.

“Assuming 16 hours of departures per day, the services assumed in the business case would provide a total of 34,000 seats between London – Glasgow and London –
Edinburgh on HS2 in both directions each day,” said Mundell.

Rail magazine, '34000 additional seats per day to Scotland from London when HS2 is completed in 2033'

“Additional” means “supplementary to what is already present or available“. The story does not say what London – Scotland seat capacity is already present or available, or what would happen to it when HS2 trains started running.

Of course, it is not at all necessary to spend £60 billion to increase Anglo-Scottish rail capacity. Furthermore, as a percentage of total UK passenger traffic, the volume of cross-border travel is chicken feed.


Written by beleben

September 13, 2017 at 11:52 am

Posted in HS2, misinformation

Adonis released capacity delusion

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HS2 released capacity “transforms commuter services into Euston, Birmingham, Manchester & Leeds, and [offers] more capacity for railfreight”, according to HS2 ‘grandaddy’ Andrew Adonis.

twitter, @Andrew_Adonis, 'Released capacity transforms commuter services into Euston, Birmingham, Manchester & Leeds, and more capacity for railfreight'

As the Beleben blog has pointed out on several occasions, HS2 ‘released capacity’ claims are mostly bunkum.

‘Multimodal’ railfreight from the southern West Coast Main Line generally ends taking – not ‘releasing’ – capacity on London Overground tracks like the North London Line.

HS2 would reduce the number of classic intercity trains between Birmingham New Street and Euston from three per hour, to two. The idea that this would ‘transform’ commuter capacity between Birmingham and Coventry, is laughable.

If there really were a need to ‘transform’ commuter capacity between Birmingham and Coventry, this could be done just by lengthening platforms to take 12-car (instead of the current 4-car) trains.

Spot the 'transformative' released capacity


Written by beleben

July 17, 2017 at 11:53 am

HS2 speed and capacity loss, part two

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HS2 Ltd’s freedom of information manager can confirm that neither HS2 Ltd’s Chairman, David Higgins’ office nor HS2 Ltd’s Public Affairs team hold any correspondence between HS2 Ltd and DfT that references or relates to the statements made by David Higgins in relation to speed and capacity at parliamentary select committees on 17 November 2014 and 13 January 2015. That is according to the company’s response on 28 March 2017, to an information request made by Dr Paul Thornton.

HS2 Ltd information response to Dr Paul Thornton, 28 March 2017

HS2 Ltd information response to Dr Paul Thornton, 28 March 2017

The false capacity claims made by David Higgins at the select committees are the subject of a complaint to HS2 Ltd. But the company says the complaint is ‘not a complaint‘, because it is not concerned with “a service provided by HS2 Ltd”.

In November 2016 David Prout, Director General of the High Speed Two Group at the Department for Transport, stated he would try to get the complaint “sorted”. But according to the 28 March information response,

  • attempts to ‘sort’ the complaint have not entailed any correspondence between DfT and HS2 Ltd
  • HS2 Ltd has not contacted the select committees to correct the capacity misinformation given to them by David Higgins.

Written by beleben

March 29, 2017 at 2:13 pm

Posted in HS2, misinformation