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Great Western watershed

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Yesterday’s launch of Hitachi IEP trains on the somewhat electrified main line from Bristol to London might well be described as a ‘watershed moment’ for the Great Western.
@scott4sarah twitter, ceiling 'cascade' on IEP train

‘Leaking’ air-con on the 0600 IEP from Temple Meads to Paddington certainly gave new meaning to the phrase “rolling stock cascade”. The train left Bristol 25 minutes late, and lost another 16 minutes en route, having made the entire journey on diesel because of a pantograph ‘issue’.

Google news, first Great Western IEPs in service

Karen Boswell, managing director of Hitachi Rail Europe, said: “Nine years of hard work has gone into making today happen, from creating a brand new factory and workforce, to establishing modern maintenance facilities from Swansea to London.

“We’ve delivered pioneering 21st century trains for passengers to enjoy”.

Bloomberg, Kobe-steel scam hits planes, trains, autos

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Written by beleben

October 17, 2017 at 3:19 pm

The no-evidence base for Northern Powerhouse Rail

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The 'vision' for Northern Powerhouse Rail

According to the ‘Initial Integrated Rail Report, Strategic Transport Plan Evidence Base‘, the Northern Powerhouse Rail programme ‘has been developed with a definitive remit to ultimately deliver the following:’

[Initial Integrated Rail Report, Jacobs and SDG, June 2017]

* The delivery of new and substantially upgraded rail corridors across the North. To release capacity on the existing rail network, which in turn could allow it to be used differently, e.g. for new service patterns, additional local trains or to accommodate more freight traffic;

* To be fully integrated, to allow the benefits of faster journeys to Northern cities to be spread to those places not directly served by new and upgraded routes by through running. NPR stations will become integrated transport hubs, with co-ordinated rail services which also offer convenient connections to local transport services;

* To significantly upgrade hub stations, with more platforms and better facilities for all passengers;

* To mirror HS2 in the integration of NPR within long terms land use planning
considerations around station hubs;

* To drive innovation in rail through the creation of a critical mass for investment in new smart ticketing and information systems which can be used by all rail operators.

Although the ‘Evidence Base’ runs to 83 pages, there is no actual evidence in it which supports the ‘vision‘ for Northern Powerhouse Rail.

The topology is questionable, and the target frequencies, and target journey times (e.g. ‘Sheffield to Manchester in 30 minutes’) seem to be round numbers plucked from the air. Evidence about corridor demand, capacity utilisation on the existing rail lines, etc, is conspicuous by its absence.

In its current form, ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’ is a dreadful project which would do almost nothing for everyday transport in the north.

Commuting patterns into Greater Manchester (Paul Swinney, using 2011 Census data)

Commuting patterns into Greater Manchester (Paul Swinney, using 2011 Census data)

Written by beleben

October 12, 2017 at 11:00 am

State of the art in 1980s France

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Ahead of the Conservative Party conference (1 to 4 Oct 2017) in Manchester, transport secretary Chris Grayling has insisted that HS2 is a ‘state of the art capacity project’.

Chris Grayling on HS2, Daily Express 01 Oct 2017

‘State of the art’, in 1980s France, perhaps. HS2 seems to combine outmoded TGV design concepts with ‘faster than you’ 360 km/h operation.

But very high speed is very high cost, and makes no sense when centres of population are close together – as they are in Britain.

Written by beleben

October 1, 2017 at 4:04 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

Lost in the scrum

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HS2 arrives at Euston

HS2 executives have warned that journey time savings from the “£55.7 billion” high speed railway would be “lost in the scrum of passengers, queues and poor onward connections” at Euston station, unless the “£30 billion” Crossrail 2 is built.

[HS2 warns it will not ‘work properly’ without Crossrail 2, Gill Plimmer and Jim Pickard, Financial Times, 25 Sep 2017 (paywall)]

Euston is already severely overcrowded and currently handles more than double its supposed 20m passenger-a-year capacity. With HS2, more than 10 high-speed trains an hour, each carrying up to 1,000 passengers, could cause a huge crunch.

“We are dependent on Crossrail 2 for the train line to work properly at Euston,” said one senior person at HS2.

[…] modelling by TfL shows that — without Crossrail 2 — more than 17 Underground stations would “buckle” under crowding pressures from HS2.

A case of ‘One vanity project demands another’, perhaps. The entire economic case for Crossrail 2 remains under a cloak of secrecy.

Greater London Authority refusal to provide Crossrail 2 business case info, July 2017

If HS2 cannot “work properly” without Crossrail 2, why didn’t HS2 Ltd include statements to that effect, in its economic case?

Written by beleben

September 25, 2017 at 11:10 am

Posted in HS2, Planning, Politics

Spending twenty seven million pounds on a tram stop

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twitter @RailLeaders, £27.5 million of WMCA (public) money to be spent on a tram stop

Written by beleben

September 19, 2017 at 12:24 pm

Gross point blank

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twitter @joerukin, status_908356768350265345

FoI request via WhatDoTheyKnow, ‘All 2015 HS2 MPA reports

Written by beleben

September 15, 2017 at 2:22 pm

Posted in HS2, Politics

May the lord be with you

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Theresa May is being urged to sack a Labour peer who heads the government’s infrastructure body after he damned David Davis’s negotiating approach and vowed to attempt to reverse Brexit, The Times reported.

[May told to fire Labour peer after Brexit attack, Sam Coates, The Times, 11 Sep 2017]

Lord Adonis, head of the National Infrastructure Commission, declared that “eight-year-olds have a better grasp of the power dynamics” of Brexit than Mr Davis, the secretary of state for exiting the European Union. He also set out his vision to “defeat” Brexit in an article in The Observer yesterday, a position which is incompatible with government policy.

Although the commission he chairs is independent of government, the ferocity of his personal criticism is likely to provoke a review of his position in No 10 and the Treasury.

Lord Adonis accepts that he was largely responsible for creating the “Frankenstein’s monster” system of student finance in England. As transport secretary in Gordon Brown’s government, he initiated electrification of the Great Western main line, without even bothering to establish Network Rail’s ability to deliver it. And of course, he was largely responsible for promulgating the £60 billion white elephant that is HS2.

Theresa May must be pretty desperate, to have him ‘in charge’ of planning national infrastructure.

Ponzi scheme?

Andrew Adonis was ‘largely responsible’ for creating the Frankenstein’s monster of tuition fees

Written by beleben

September 12, 2017 at 9:54 am

Posted in Bizarre, HS2, Politics