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What Patrick understands

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Official portrait of Patrick McLoughlin by Chris McAndrew (CC-BY-SA 3.0)On 30 January the High Speed Rail Phase 2a (West Midlands – Crewe) Bill was debated in the House of Commons, and given a second reading by 295 to 12 (meaning that most MPs did not vote).

This kind of debate tends to expose the limitations of MPs’ understanding of what they are talking about, and the Phase 2a Bill debate was no exception.

For some reason, former transport secretary Patrick ‘Spud’McLoughlin was dusted down and wound up to support the government’s case. He declared, “We have spent a fortune on upgrading the west coast main line from Birmingham up to Manchester, although I understand that we did not carry out any upgrade south of Rugby.”

[PMcL:] The upgrade was essential, and if the then Government had been a bit more forward thinking, they could have built a new high-speed line then rather than doing an upgrade.

The West Coast rail modernisation was renewals based (DfT)

The West Coast “upgrade” was a modernisation, focused on renewals (after years of increasing maintenance backlog), rather than enhancements. Most of the work was unavoidable. There was an upgrade aspect, but if renewals had been done like-for-like, rather than on a better-than-before basis, ~75% of the cost (and disruption) would have been incurred anyway.

The ‘higher speed’ junction constructed near Train Robber’s Bridge at Ledburn is just one of the ‘upgrades south of Rugby’ which PMcL “understands” didn’t happen.

Like the current transport secretary, he seems to have difficulties with facts.

[PMsL:] I think that HS1 was operating before Labour came into government.

BBC News, HS1 opening story, 14 Nov 2006

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Written by beleben

February 1, 2018 at 12:05 pm

An omission of the exposition

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On 19 November 2014, transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin wrote to the House of Lords Economics Committee chairman, Clive Hollick, about HS2 and rail capacity.

Figure 10 from the letter gave the seats and standing capacity of London Midland commuter trains at Euston.

Figure 10 from Patrick McLoughlin's letter to Lord Hollick (November 2014)

Or rather, it didn’t.

As can be seen, there was no exposition of the standing capacity.

Written by beleben

April 27, 2016 at 1:36 pm

It all makes perfect senssh

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It all makes perfect senssh

According to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, “the truth is that much of the [rail modernisation] work” (which he has just “paused”) “should have been done decades ago”.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin: 'the truth is that much of the [rail modernisation] work' (which he has just 'paused') 'should have been done decades ago'

So why “pause” it, if it should have been done decades ago?

Written by beleben

June 29, 2015 at 11:39 am

Posted in Patrick McLoughlin

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