beleben

die belebende Bedenkung

Archive for the ‘Railways’ Category

Get trucks off rail, part two

leave a comment »

Part one

An extract from the National Infrastructure Commission’s “Congestion, Capacity, Carbon, Priorities for national infrastructure“.

National Infrastructure Commission, 'priorities for national infrastructure', extract, 2017-png

Andrew Adonis, John Armitt, and Bridget Rosewell (of the National Infrastructure Commission)

Advertisements

Written by beleben

December 13, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Posted in Politics, Railways

Bombast and the bailout

leave a comment »

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

Plummeting from infinity

with 2 comments

In October 2009, Network Rail described the benefit-cost ratio for electrification of the Midland Main Line as “effectively infinite“.

On 16 July 2012, the coalition announced £4.2 billion for new rail schemes, including electrification of the Midland Main Line from Bedford to Sheffield, Nottingham and Corby.

In July 2015, the then-rail-minister Claire Perry MP said that ‘initial work’ considering the overall MML upgrade, “including electrification and other works indicates that for options which retain or improve fast intercity rolling stock, on all MML services the benefit cost ratio (BCR) would be in a range between 4.7 and 7.2 dependent on train length and train type.”

On 13 September 2016, the Beleben blog stated, “It is difficult to see how Midland electrification, in its present form, could ever be value for money. It might make sense if it were designed to cater for railfreight, and future passenger journeys from the West Riding and D2N2 to London. The government’s current intention is for such journeys to be transferred to the eastern leg of HS2.

In a Commons debate on 7 November 2016, Nigel Mills MP (Amber Valley) spoke of the “strong” benefit cost ratio for Midland electrification. Nicky Morgan MP (Loughborough) said, “The point I will come on to in a moment is that [the Midland electrification and HS2] schemes go together”. She invited rail minister Paul Maynard “to address the benefit-cost ratio”.

But in his waffle-prone contribution to the debate, Mr Maynard kept schtum about benefit-cost.

On 19 July 2017, transport secretary Chris Grayling cancelled the North-of-Kettering [NoK] element of the programme. In October 2017, he gave ‘new’ figures stating NoK had a net present value of -£129 million and a BCR of 0.77.

Midland Main Line appraisal, Oct 2017, Chris Grayling’s figures
Option Capacity
programme &
full
electrification
Incremental
electrification
north of
Kettering
Capacity
programme &
electrification
to Corby
NPV (£m, 2010 PV) 209 -129 337
BCR 1.21 0.77 1.78

Those bewildered by these ‘bad numbers’ included shadow transport secretary Lilian Greenwood.

Plummeting MML electrification VfM 'raises more questions than it answers' - @liliangreenwood

The Beleben blog can reveal that the cryptic clue to the ‘mystery of the plunging BCR’ lies in the seemingly-innocuous statement, “All three scenarios take account of the assumed impact of HS2 Phase 2 on the Midland Main Line upgrade programme.

Chris Grayling, updated MML electrification VfM takes account of HS2

According to a ‘sensitive’ document created for the Department for Transport in 2016, “the introduction of HS2 Phase 2 would have a material impact on the value-for-money of the Midland Mainline Upgrade Programme, reducing the BCR from 9.4 to 1.2” (i.e., low value for money).

Updated appraisal of the MML upgrade for the Department for Transport in 2016

In other words, contrary to the claims of Nicky Morgan, and the hopes of Lilian Greenwood, the Midland electrification and HS2 certainly do not “go together”.

As the Beleben blog stated in September 2016, the case for Midland electrification is completely undermined by HS2. Actually, HS2’s deleterious effects could be expected to impact other enhancement projects, such those backed by the ‘Consortium of East Coast Main Line Authorities‘ for the East Coast Main Line.

If HS2 were built, the government could not allow competition for long distance passengers with classic rail (which would have lower costs). The political embarrassment from such passengers choosing to keep using the existing railway would be immense.

So, what lies behind HS2 phase 2? On the evidence available, it is not a transport project, but a London real-estate project, ‘needed’ to justify the land grab (for over-platform development) at Euston. The ‘imperative’ of the Camden land-grab would also explain the government’s determination to avoid having Old Oak Common as its HS2 terminus.

De-scoped Midland Main Line electrification is a consequence of the government's obsession with its £60+ billion HS2 vanity project (picture: Network Rail)

Written by beleben

November 13, 2017 at 2:59 pm

Posted in Planning, Railways

The shape and the size

with one comment

The Guardian online, 5 Nov 2017 TSGN breakup planned

The Guardian online, 5 Nov 2017

The Department for Transport said it was “actively looking at the shape and size of the next Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise on expiry of the existing contract in 2021”, the Guardian reported on 5 November.

Who’d have thought it?

Beleben blog, 4 May 2017

Beleben blog, 4 May 2017

Written by beleben

November 6, 2017 at 4:03 pm

Posted in Politics, Railways

Something is technically wong

with 2 comments

Britain needs HS2, because a page on Wikipedia says that Britain’s railways carried more passengers than China’s.

@aquilanebula, Twitter, more than china

Wikipedia, 'Rail transport in China', revision of 24 October 2017

Wikipedia, ‘Rail transport in China’, ‘2.3 billion rail passenger trips’, revision of 24 October 2017

'The data on Wikipedia happens to be accurate and relevant' (?)

Written by beleben

October 31, 2017 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Railways, Transport

Nobody expects the Grayling inquisition

with one comment

Chris Grayling (author: Chris-McAndrew)

Nobody was ever planning to electrify the railway to Scarborough, secretary of state Chris Grayling told the Commons transport select committee on 16 October, as he extolled the virtues of ‘hybrid’ and hydrogen powered trains.

Andrew Jones MP (author: Chris McAndrew), Wikimedia

[At the transport select committee]

[Chris Grayling:] In East Anglia, all the cross-country routes will be operated by hybrid trains shortly. They offer a huge amount of flexibility. To take one example, on the trans-Pennine route hybrid trains are essential to continuing the service from Scarborough to Manchester airport. As you start to electrify the route, you have the flexibility to run electric trains over the parts that are electrified and, in this particular case, diesel on the parts that are not. Nobody was ever planning to electrify to Scarborough. It gives you flexibility that you do not otherwise have. Today, we are in the world of diesel-electric; it will soon be battery-electric, and it will be hydrogen-electric. It gives much greater flexibility to use trains in different ways around the network.

In its report (March 2015) to the then-secretary of state Patrick McLoughlin, the ‘North of England Electrification Task Force’ (chaired by Andrew Jones MP)

  • listed the Scarborough line as a ‘Tier 2 priority’,
  • stated that bi-mode / hybrid trains were “widely viewed as an unnecessarily complex and costly solution which may not be appropriate for many of the services we have been considering.”

Northern Sparks report (2015), diagram 6.3

'Northern Sparks report', 2015

Written by beleben

October 27, 2017 at 8:46 am

Posted in Planning, Politics, Railways

Jean-Cyril spin est là

leave a comment »

'Former Air France CEO Spinetta to assess future of French rail sector', Railway Gazette, 18 Oct 2017On 18 October the Railway Gazette published a story about an inquiry led by former head of Air France-KLM Jean-Cyril Spinetta, which “will investigate multiple issues across the French rail sector, including low ridership on regional passenger trains and the precipitous decline in rail freight seen in recent years”.

However, the story barely mentioned the role of the TGV network in the diminished performance and viability of SNCF.

According to a Le Figaro report (19 September 2017), 70% of TGV service is loss-making.

‘Surexpansion’ of the TGV service seems to have gone hand-in-hand with ‘une négligence progressive’ of the classic network.

Written by beleben

October 19, 2017 at 9:24 am