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Archive for the ‘Public transport’ Category

Treasury analysis of English regional transport expenditure

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According to the Department for Transport, in 2015 – 2016, total public sector expenditure per capita on transport was higher in north-west England than in south-east England.

DfT, total public sector expenditure per capita, English regions, 2015-2016

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Written by beleben

January 17, 2018 at 1:27 pm

The emerging vision of the daft

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The folly of planning Northern rail links around HS2 is exposed in Transport for the North’s 98-page “Strategic Transport Plan” draft for public consultation, which is being launched today (16 January 2018).

The draft, which is supposed to cover both road and rail, is very short on detail, numbers, and evidence. (Unless statements like “the North is home to 16 million people and 7.2 million jobs”, count as ‘evidence’.)

'Vision' for Northern powerhouse rail (in 2016)

Many of the target journey times and frequencies of the original ‘vision’ (above) seem to have been ‘forgotten’ in the January 2018 iteration of ‘Northern Powerhouse Rail’. But, as before, NPR is a dreadful project, which would do almost nothing for everyday transport in the north.

[TfN, Strategic Transport Plan Draft for public consultation, 16 Jan 2018]

The emerging vision for the Northern Powerhouse Rail network includes:

• A new line between Liverpool and the HS2 Manchester Spur via Warrington

• Capacity at Piccadilly for around eight through services per hour

• A new Trans Pennine rail line that connects Manchester and Leeds via Bradford

• Significant upgrades along the corridor of the existing Hope Valley line between Sheffield and Manchester via Stockport

• Leeds to Sheffield delivered through HS2 Phase 2B and upgrading the route from Sheffield

• Leeds to Newcastle via HS2 junction and upgrades to the East Coast Mainline

• Significant upgrades to existing line from Leeds to Hull (via Selby) and Sheffield to Hull (via Doncaster) Alternative concepts will continue to be assessed between Liverpool – Manchester, Manchester – Sheffield, and Manchester – Leeds as part of developing a Strategic Outline Business Case for the programme.

TfN are also exploring plans for shorter term improvements along the Hope Valley corridor between Sheffield and Manchester as a joint priority for both TfN and the Sheffield City Region, and whether transformational journey times could be realised along the existing rail corridor.

If the evidence demonstrates that significant upgrades to the Hope Valley corridor do not look promising in terms of moving towards the transformational outputs, TfN will consider the case for and further assessment of a new line between Manchester and Sheffield. The business case for the elements of this vision require the evidence base to be worked up and completed, and therefore decisions as to the right proposals to implement will depend on further work to establish costs and benefits of these options.

TfN wants to ensure that Northern Powerhouse Rail is fully integrated into the planning of HS2 Phase 2B, to ensure both maximum value for money and that Northern Powerhouse Rail can be developed without delay.

To enable the possibility for Northern Powerhouse Rail services to make use of HS2 infrastructure, it is necessary to incorporate passive provision in the HS2 Phase 2B Hybrid Bill, with funding announced by the Chancellor in October 2017 intended to future proof HS2 for delivery of Northern Powerhouse Rail connectivity.

A series of touchpoints between Northern Powerhouse Rail and HS2 Phase 2B have been identified across the Eastern (Sheffield to Leeds) and Western (Liverpool to Manchester) corridors, as well as at Manchester Piccadilly.

TfN 'emerging vision for Northern powerhouse rail network', 16 Jan 2018 (Contains Ordnance Survey data
© Crown copyright and database right 2017)

Northern powerhouse transport let down, ITV, August 2017

Written by beleben

January 16, 2018 at 11:16 am

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

Recommendations without evidence

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Research from Transform Scotland and supported by Virgin Trains shows that a ‘shift from air to rail has cut carbon in the Scotland – London travel market’.

'Green Journey to Growth', Transform Scotland, page 1

'Green Journey to Growth', Transform Scotland, page 2

'Green Journey to Growth', Transform Scotland, page 3

'Green Journey to Growth', Transform Scotland, page 4

'Green Journey to Growth', Transform Scotland, page 5

'Green Journey to Growth', Transform Scotland, page 7

'Green Journey to Growth', Transform Scotland, page 8

Since the emissions arising from travel between London and Scotland’s central belt are a vanishingly small proportion of the UK total, one might wonder how important these ‘findings’ were.

That is, if the report actually bothered to explain how any of its conclusions and ‘recommendations’ were arrived at.

But there is no way of checking the figures, and no information on the number of flights in 2005 and 2015, or the types of aircraft used, or the total train energy kWh for a London – Glasgow journey, etc.

Written by beleben

August 21, 2017 at 2:40 pm

Going for cold on Crossrail 2

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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.

Big-business pressure group London First claimed that Crossrail 2 could be built for

Big-business pressure group London First claimed that Crossrail 2 could be built for “£12 billion”

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.

On-street trams could relieve the Underground in central London and provide quicker journeys in many cases

On-street trams could relieve the London Underground – and provide quicker journeys, in many cases

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.

London Crossrail 2 as proposed in 2015

London Crossrail 2 as proposed in 2015

Is Crossrail 2 a housing scheme masquerading as an 'essential' transport scheme?

Written by beleben

February 9, 2017 at 11:36 am

From clumsy to lacklustre

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Leeds City station from the west

When the Leeds NGT ‘clumsybus’ scheme was cancelled last year, the government agreed the city could keep the £173m allocated for the trolleybus to spend on ‘other transport improvements’. On 26 January, transport secretary Chris Grayling MP told business leaders at the Leeds Chamber Annual Dinner that the money “will make a real difference to transport in this city”.

But how is the money to be spent? At the moment, there does not seem to be any public explanation, but there are uncosted plans for new railway stations at ‘Leeds Airport parkway’ (somewhere on the Leeds to Harrogate railway), Thorpe Park, and the White Rose Shopping Centre.

Would these stations “make a real difference to transport” in Leeds? According to a 2014 Atkins report, the proposed station site at the White Rose Centre

[New Railway Stations in North and West Yorkshire Feasibility Study for West Yorkshire Combined Authority]

was felt to be unsuitable due to the changes which would be needed to the track and signalling equipment. The site is located on a curve with a high line speed and a high degree of cant. Constructing a station at this location would be costly.

The site is also relatively close to Leeds City Centre which means that the
impact of stopping services in this area would be detrimental to journey
times for existing passengers and line capacity is already constrained. Morley
and Cottingley stations are both less than 1.5 km either side of the
White Rose Centre.

The Atkins claim that ‘new stations close to Leeds City Centre would be detrimental to journey times for existing passengers’ would probably hold true if re-worded: ‘new stations would be detrimental to journey times for existing passengers’. One could make a perfectly good case for building new stations in the city centre ‘corona’, for example, at Marsh Lane, and Armley.

The indications are that a Leeds Bradford Airport parkway station would make next to no difference to traffic congestion. So what is the value for money, compared to just running a better bus service from the city centre to the airport?

One of the biggest obstacles to the creation of an S-bahn-type rapid transit in Leeds is the planned HS2 terminus just south of City station. If built, it would probably prevent four-tracking of the railway out of Leeds towards Neville Hill.

A Leeds S-Bahn-type rapid transit could re-use the abandoned Farnley viaduct in Holbeck

A Leeds S-Bahn-type rapid transit could re-use the abandoned Farnley viaduct in Holbeck

Written by beleben

January 27, 2017 at 1:01 pm

The tramway in Stephenson Place

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With its abrupt bend at the foot of a steep gradient, the Midland Metro in Birmingham’s Stephenson Place must be one of the most hazardous sections of track in Great Britain. This month has seen the posting of wardens in hi-vis at the top and bottom of the incline, apparently to try to manage pedestrian flow in the busiest times of the Christmas period.

Street warden at top of Stephenson Place, December 2016

Street warden at top of Stephenson Place, December 2016

The curve at Stephenson Place is potentially as hazardous as the one at Sandilands on Croydon Tramlink, where a derailment on 9 November of a tram travelling at excess speed resulted in deaths and serious injuries. The Croydon derailment, which received extensive press coverage, is the subject of an investigation by the Rail Accident Investigation Branch.

Street warden at bottom of Stephenson Place, December 2016

Street warden at bottom of Stephenson Place, December 2016. The CAF trams used on Midland Metro are fitted with various types of glazing made in France, Spain, and the Czech Republic

In the view of the Beleben blog, there are questions to be asked about the crashworthiness of the vehicles used on Tramlink, and other GB systems.

Written by beleben

December 7, 2016 at 1:07 pm