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Archive for the ‘misinformation’ Category

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)

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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.

gov.uk, 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

Visit mum in Leeds

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The various ‘modelled train service specifications’ produced for HS2 have always been good for a laugh. In the latest version, the exposure of HS2 to unreliability from the legacy railway is increased further.

As can be seen from the extract below, Birmingham to Leeds HS2 services would use legacy track for some or all of the Yorkshire part of the journey, and stop en route at Sheffield Midland station. For some reason, those services are shown as being ‘Captive HS2 trains’.

HS2 eastern leg 'Modelled train service specification (M18 loop)', November 2016

HS2 eastern leg ‘Modelled train service specification (M18 loop)’, November 2016

By the look of the ‘service specification’, someone high up in Birmingham Airport needs to visit his mum in Leeds. But there are no bigwig family ties with Newcastle upon Tyne, or York, it seems.

Written by beleben

November 18, 2016 at 11:44 am

A new link between our major cities

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Today, the government has published some information about its preferred route for ‘phase 2b’ of HS2 from ‘Crewe to Manchester’, and ‘the West Midlands to Leeds’, but many details are still lacking. There are a few minor changes to save money – such as not tunneling under East Midlands airport – but with the post-June 2016 devaluation of sterling by 15%-plus, the overall cost of HS2 must now be in the region of £65 billion.

gov.uk, HS2 phase 2b route announcement, 2016-11-15

Although the ‘case for HS2’ is built on egotism, delusion, and misinformation, not everything the government says about the project is untrue. For example, the claim that HS2 would be a ‘link between our major cities’ might be said to be true, according to a map created by the BBC. As can be seen from the map, HS2 would run “between” Derby and Nottingham, and “between” Sheffield and Doncaster. But HS2 trains to London from Leeds, and Manchester, would not stop at any city inbetween.

BBC graphic of the route of HS2 'between major cities'

Written by beleben

November 15, 2016 at 12:49 pm