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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

Value of a railfreight path between Preston and Carstairs

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The addition of classic by-passes for HS2, or HS2 new-build track to Anglo-Scottish West Coast Main Line capacity could provide more freight paths, subject to compatibility with classic passenger services, HS2 Ltd’s “Broad Options” report proclaimed.

[HS2 Ltd, “Broad Options” report, March 2016]

[…] The additional paths which are taken up by freight, which would otherwise have been transported by road, could provide environmental and decongestion benefits. To give a sense of scale, preliminary analysis (using DfT’s marginal external cost approach and a series of assumptions) shows that an additional freight path between Preston and Carstairs (every haulage day in one direction) could generate approximately £20 million (PV) in benefits over the appraisal. Further analysis would be needed to understand all potential benefits.

Not £20 million a year, but £20 million PV.

So the present value of an additional daily ‘released’ railfreight path between Preston and Carstairs is, at best, about 0.01% of the cost of the enabling infrastructure. And if the enabling infrastructure is ‘new line’, not ‘by-pass’, the present value of a freight path is more like 0.005% of its cost.

Written by beleben

March 22, 2016 at 2:13 pm

Posted in HS2, Scotland

A major milestone for vacillation

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Keith Brown and Robert Goodwill's awkward HS2 Scotland photo opp, 21 March 2016

Three-hour Scotland to London rail journeys are “on track”, according to the Department for Transport, High Speed Two (HS2) Limited and Robert Goodwill MP.

[Governments agree joint aim on train times,, 2016-03-21]

Work with the ultimate aim to deliver a 3-hour rail journey time between Scotland and London will get underway next year.

The UK and Scottish governments have agreed to further work that will:

* aim to bring train journeys between London and the Central Belt down to 3 hours or less

* ease the severe congestion on cross-Border routes

* create jobs, investment opportunities and economic and environmental benefits for the whole of Scotland

This comes alongside publication of the HS2 Ltd report Broad options for upgraded and high speed railways to the North of England and Scotland, which was welcomed today (21 March 2016) by Scottish government Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown and Robert Goodwill, UK government minister responsible for high speed rail, at a reception in Edinburgh’s Waverley Station.

The report, jointly commissioned by the 2 governments, considers various options including upgrades or new routes to deliver the 3-hour journey time.

Work is now planned to be carried out in 2017 to identify options with the best business case for implementation from 2019 onwards.

Scottish government Infrastructure Secretary Keith Brown said:

“This report is a major milestone in the campaign to deliver high speed rail to Scotland and marks the beginning of the next chapter in the tale.

I now have a firm commitment that development work will begin during the current control period towards getting journey times between Scotland and London down to 3 hours or less.

High speed rail will bring billions of pounds worth of benefit to Scotland’s economy and an infrastructure project of this magnitude – possibly the biggest Scotland’s ever seen – means jobs, investment, benefits for the economy and benefits for the environment.

This plan will bring to life our target of 3 hours or less Glasgow and Edinburgh to London train journeys, which will lead to a significant move from air to rail, bringing big reductions in carbon emissions.”

‘On track, like heck’. All Mr Brown has, are some weasel words… “a firm commitment that development work will begin during the current control period towards getting journey times between Scotland and London down to 3 hours or less”.

More bad news for Mr Brown appeared in the March 2016 High Speed Scotland Summary Report. Despite concerted attempts to massage the figures upwards, it is clear that the Scottish government’s cherished Edinburgh-to-Glasgow high speed concept is an economic lemon, with a sub-unity benefit-cost ratio.

Quelle non-surprise.

And one might well ask, why has only the Summary Report been published?

The Broad Options report on Anglo-Scottish high speed rail concentrates on upgrade-based approaches rather than new build, but there is no mention of value for money for any of the options. Nevertheless, the cost estimates given in the report suggest that the benefit-cost ratio in all cases is too low to print.

The numbers in Broad Options pour freezing cold water on Transport Scotland’s December 2011 Fast Track Scotland report, and on Network Rail’s claim that ‘extending HS2 to Scotland would improve its benefit-cost ratio’.

Network Rail's nonsensical written evidence to the Transport Select CommitteeGreengauge 21's Scottish HS2 benefit-cost nonsense

[Broad Options HS2 Scotland report, 21 March 2016, extract]

Continuous high speed options

A number of continuous high speed routes were developed to assess the viability and performance of a high speed route.
The four options are:

• Route A – a route following the West Coast Main Line, M6, A74M corridor which splits near Carstairs to serve both Edinburgh and Glasgow.

• Route B – a route following the A1M to Newcastle and the A697 corridor to the border, where it runs through the Lammermuir Hill, to approach Edinburgh from the east.

• Route C – a route following the East Coast Main Line corridor east of Newcastle and along the coast to Edinburgh.

• Route D – a route following the A1M to Newcastle and through the Southern Uplands, where it splits to serve Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The cost of Route A is an estimated £32 billion – £34 billion, which excludes the cost of a high speed route between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The estimated cost of Route B is £27 billion – £29 billion, which excludes the cost of a high speed route between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The cost of Route C is an estimated £28 billion – £30 billion, which excludes the cost of a high speed route between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The cost of Route D is an estimated £41 billion – £43 billion, which excludes the cost of a high speed route between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
HS2 trains operating on the route north of Phase Two would be classic-compatible. This is necessary even for continuous high speed routes, as they are developed on the basis of running on the existing conventional lines during the last few miles into Edinburgh and Glasgow stations, as per the Transport Scotland proposal.

In 2012 Transport Scotland claimed there would be high speed rail in Scotland by 2024

Written by beleben

March 21, 2016 at 3:42 pm

Posted in HS2, Scotland

Fast track into the sidings

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Scottish Express: 'Nicola Sturgeon’s dream of a Scots ‘bullet train’ is derailed', 15 Feb 2015

Written by beleben

February 18, 2015 at 6:18 pm

Attack on mass

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Attack on mass (The Seriously Nasty Party: With one day to go, damning evidence of the bullying intimidation of voters by Scots nationalists (just ask Miliband)) By JOHN STEVENS FOR THE DAILY MAIL

Written by beleben

September 17, 2014 at 2:41 pm

Posted in Scotland

Tagged with ,

Jolly good tram research

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Edinburgh councillors and officials are planning a tour of tram projects around the UK “to learn from their experience”, reported The Scotsman’s Ian Swanson (Friday, 22 February 2013).

Up to nine elected representatives and officials from the Capital will travel to Manchester, Nottingham and Dublin to see what lessons can be learned from cities which appear to have made a success of trams. Sheffield and Luton may also be included.

The city council’s policy and strategy committee will be asked next week to approve the trips.
It said the visits, expected to take place in March and April, would include the transport convener and vice-convener, the tram media manager and “up to two other appropriate officers”, with the tram manager also expected to go and opposition transport spokespeople to be invited.

But opposition politicians voiced scepticism about a “grand tour” which could be viewed by the public as “jollies”.

It’s far too late in the day for this type of visit to be any use. The die is cast.

Written by beleben

February 24, 2013 at 11:34 pm

Posted in Rapid transit, Scotland

Tagged with

‘The faster, the better’

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The key issue for Britain’s HS2 high speed rail project is the speed at which trains run. So said Lord Adonis, then UK Secretary of State for Transport, in 2009 (reported Damien Henderson in Scotland’s Herald Newspaper, on 30 December 2009).

Story: Extra stations will damage high-speed rail network
30 December 2009

One of the key architects of the UK’s new high-speed rail network has warned that ministers must limit the number of cities included and face down powerful local lobby groups or risk building an ineffective “medium-speed” railway.

Sir David Rowlands, chair of High Speed Two (HS2), the Government-commissioned company drawing up plans for the multi-billion pound network, signalled a tough political battle ahead in deciding which cities would be included in the route.
But he warned there were powerful interest groups forming which could potentially derail its potential. “There are a lot of local interest groups who want to be included in a high-speed network. If we’re not careful we could end up with a medium-speed network which doesn’t fulfil what it’s set out to do,” he told The Herald.
But arguments about capping the number of stops en route to Scotland are likely to dominate the forthcoming decade. While journey times between Glasgow and Edinburgh to London could be cut to less than three hours, any additional stops would add 10 minutes on to the journey time, Sir David warned.

Sources at HS2 said there was a mismatch between the number of cities pushing for inclusion and those that had a high enough population density to justify a stop. Carlisle, in particular, has seen a vocal campaign but is at the centre of one of the most sparsely populated areas.
Iain Coucher, chief executive of Network Rail, has sought to dampen expectations of how many cities could be included. “Our experiences and the experience around the world is that you should put at least 100 miles between stations,” he told New Civil Engineer earlier this year.

The formula developed by Network Rail, which has conducted its own 12-month study into high-speed rail options, would raise questions about a route which included Manchester, Preston and Carlisle along the west coast, or Sheffield, Leeds and Newcastle on an east coast route.

In Germany, local authorities have used their planning powers to force stations to be built along high-speed lines. Unlike France’s network, which runs only high-speed passenger trains, Germany allows slow trains and freight trains to use the network.
Another option is to build a spur connecting the main line to a city station so that some trains can pass by on a limited stop service. But those drawing up detailed plans for the network are understood to be against including too many spurs as this would reduce the number of trains operating per hour and damage the attractiveness of the service.

Lord Adonis, the UK Secretary of State for Transport, said earlier this year: “Clearly there are political and other factors to take into account. The key issue is the speed at which trains run.

Written by beleben

January 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

Posted in HS2, Politics, Scotland

It makes great nonsense

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According to Greengauge 21’s Jim Steer, “it makes great sense for Scotland to concentrate on Edinburgh — Glasgow high speed rail”, as favoured by Scotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon.

But as my correspondent Dave H pointed out, what really generates business on the rails in the Edinburgh — Glasgow corridor, is the combination of train frequency with accessibility for towns like Falkirk and Bathgate.

What would Greengauge 21-approved Edinburgh Glasgow High Speed cost, and what does it offer that EGIP does not?

Original EGIP programme scope (Network Rail)

Written by beleben

November 14, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Sturgeon on the ridiculous

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Scotland’s deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon has praised a ‘plan’ to build a high-speed Glasgow to Edinburgh railway by the year 2024, cutting travel time to 30 minutes, reported the Daily Record on 12 November. (The cities are only about 75 km apart.)

The plan is at its earliest stage, with no costs attached or route map drawn.

It is also not known whether the link would be to existing or new stations, a spokeswoman said.

Ms Sturgeon said:

“We will not wait for Westminster to bring high-speed rail to us. We have already made moves towards seeing a high-speed line in Scotland and the evidence is now in place that this is feasible long before the HS2 proposals.

“The Scottish Government will now enter into talks with our partners in both cities and the rail industry to see how we can work together to see this vision realised: a Glasgow-Edinburgh high-speed line which can connect to the network from England.”

As well as the M8 motorway, there are three separate railways between Edinburgh and Glasgow, with passenger trains leaving every few minutes throughout the day. And under the Scottish government’s EGIP rail programme

  • services were to have been extensively improved between Edinburgh, Glasgow, and other towns in the central belt
  • fast journeys between Glasgow and Edinburgh would be speeded up to ~37 minutes, compared with ~50 minutes in 2012.

But in a curiously titled 4 July 2012 press release, Transport Scotland revealed that EGIP was to be massively scaled back.

In cash terms, compared with new-build high-speed track, EGIP is a very small project. So if the Scottish government can’t even fund EGIP properly, how could they ever fund Edinburgh Glasgow High Speed?

Go-Hs2 coverage of Scottish high speed rail nonsense

Written by beleben

November 13, 2012 at 1:22 pm

Roundly applauding higher emissions

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Roundly applauding something

High speed rail lobbying company Greengauge 21 has expressed its support for transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin’s comments at the 2012 Conservative party conference.

11 October, 2012

Greengauge 21 says that Secretary of State Patrick McLoughlin should be roundly applauded. At the Conservative Party Conference, he announced a new study into extending the benefits of high-speed rail northwards, with an ‘aim to get the journey from Scotland to London to under three hours and making sure the North East benefits too’.

“This matches well with Transport Scotland’s already announced intentions to develop high-speed rail north of the border”, said Jim Steer, Director Greengauge 21.

“It is important to realise the evidence on value for money is very encouraging. In our detailed studies, we found that the benefit cost ratio of high-speed rail between Manchester and Glasgow/Edinburgh (7.6:1) was twice the level achieved by high-speed rail between London and Manchester.

“The study will need to look at upgrading existing lines as well as new build. Our work has shown that a full HSR between London and Edinburgh/Glasgow would be capable of achieving journey times of around 2 hours 40 minutes. A three hour target is very sensible, since that will deliver a huge shift away from short-haul aviation. Despite some inroads made by the West Coast Pendolino service, airlines still dominate the Anglo-Scottish travel market”.

Greengauge 21’s “detailed studies” do not actually provide the details required to verify the likelihood of a benefit cost ratio of 7.6 for “high-speed rail between Manchester and Glasgow/Edinburgh”.

Rail journey volumes between Scotland and London are relatively smallThe cost of extending HS2 track north of Manchester and/or Leeds to the Scottish central belt (‘HS2CB’) would be much higher than upgrading existing lines, so it’s unlikely that the BCR for the two options would be the same. Given the relatively low volume of Anglo-Scottish travel and the low utilisation of the existing cross-border railways, claims of non-negative net present values for a HS2CB would need to be treated with extreme caution.

A 3 hour rail journey between London and Edinburgh or Glasgow would imply an average speed of around 215 km/h, about the same as that required for a 49 minute, 175 km, Birmingham to London journey. So without new-build track all the way, the average speed in England would need to be higher.

High speed rail energy requirements by speed (Systra), used by Greengauge 21

Written by beleben

October 12, 2012 at 10:14 am