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Adonis golden arrow delusion

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Andrew Adonis 'golden arrow' delusionThe theoretical throughput of HS2 is about 19,000 passengers per hour, in each direction. So if its entire capacity were used for commuting in the 2-hour morning peak, HS2 would allow a one-time increase of just 38,000 commuters to London, from everywhere served by its trains.

The capital’s population is reportedly growing at around ‘100,000 per year‘, but according to Andrew Adonis, ‘HS2 helps fix the housing crisis by bringing more homes within easy distance of London’.

[We need a ‘golden arrow’ to link London and the north, Evening Standard, 16 Nov 2017]

[Andrew Adonis:] With HS2, you could live on the outskirts of Manchester and easily commute daily, or a few times a week, to Birmingham or London.

In the opinion of Mr Adonis, “In respect of London, there is a readiness to commute up to three hours a day – an hour and a half each way – provided that all-told quality of life is good enough, that is, whatever the trade-off between housing costs and amenities that works for each individual and family”. But, he says, it’s “critical” that “each of the HS2 stations also have good metro and other fast, high capacity connections to get passengers from the HS2 stations across the respective cities and regions”.

HS2 is supposed to connect Manchester Piccadilly to Euston in ~68 minutes. So how would anyone living on the ‘outskirts’ of Manchester, ‘easily commute’ to a London workplace in ‘an hour and a half each way’?

The Black Country tram extension, approved by the government yesterday, is part of the Transport for West Midlands so-called ‘HS2 connectivity package’. But how long would it take to commute from Brierley Hill to a London office, with a 25 km tram ride, and HS2?


Written by beleben

November 21, 2017 at 12:40 pm

Scrapping rail electrification ‘will mean 30-minute longer journeys between Manchester and Liverpool’

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On 3 November, the Yorkshire Post published a column by Hull North Labour MP Diana Johnson, asserting it is time for transport secretary Chris Grayling to be ‘held accountable’.

On Monday (6 November) she will lead a Commons debate on transport in northern England.

Yorkshire Post column by Diana Johnson, 3 Nov 2017

But wouldn’t efforts to hold Mr Grayling accountable have more gravitas, if they eschewed claims such as “scrapping rail electrification will mean 30-minute longer journeys between Manchester and Liverpool”?

Readers of the Beleben blog might recall a similar claim in a Labour press release from August 2017.

[Diana Johnson, Yorkshire Post, 3 Nov 2017][…]

The evidence shows that scrapping rail electrification in favour of hybrid trains will mean 30 per cent more CO2, maintenance costs increasing by a third and fuel costs rocketing 25 per cent. It will mean 30-minute longer journeys between Manchester – Liverpool, and 20-minute longer waits to get from Leeds – Newcastle. No rail network that is not fully electrified merits the prefix ‘high speed’.

While there is a case to be made for electrification of the Midland Main Line, CO2 benefits are unlikely to play much of a role. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see Paul Maynard’s ‘non-answer’, on 31 October, to a question about electric and bi-mode emissions.

Question and 'answer' about MML bimode-vs-electric train carbon emissions, Oct 2017

Written by beleben

November 4, 2017 at 10:36 am

Posted in Politics, Transport

Something is technically wong

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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

Summit must be done, part two

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Andy Burnham, 'Chester to Manchester rail journeys take longer than in 1962'

At last week’s transport ‘summit’, Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham highlighted that a train journey between Chester and Manchester is now slower than in the 1960s, the Chester Chronicle reported.

[‘Manchester to Chester train journey slower than in 1962’, says Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, David Holmes, Chester Chronicle, 27 August 2017]

Speaking to political and business officials, Mr Burnham said: “It takes four minutes longer to travel by train from Manchester to Chester than it did in 1962.

“I think that pretty much makes for why we are here today.

[…] ITV Granada reporter Daniel Hewitt recently tested out public transport links between Manchester and Thornton Science Park near Ellesmere Port which received millions of pounds worth of investment as part of the Northern Powerhouse vision.

He found a 35-mile journey that would take 50 minutes by road can take almost two and a half hours by train.

An accompanying article on the ITV website stated: “There’s anger from businesses about how plans for the Northern Powerhouse are stalling at the starting gate. When it comes to public transport for example you can get from Manchester to London in two hours eight minutes.”

Andy Burnham, 'how much have your journey times changed'

[Reality Check: Does the North get a raw deal on rail?, BBC, 27 Aug 2017]

[Transport for Greater Manchester]’s analysis of historical train timetables show that in 1962 the fastest service from Chester to Manchester took 56 minutes, stopping at one station in between.

Today it takes 60 minutes but makes seven station stops.

By contrast, according to TfGM, the fastest journey from Manchester to London in 1962 was 220 minutes.

It is now 124 minutes, a reduction of nearly 44%.

On 28 August, the Guardian reported that trains connecting Britain’s major towns and cities are up to four times slower outside the south-east, ‘according to research’.

[British trains ‘up to four times slower outside the south-east’, PA, 28 Aug 2017]

Press Association analysis of the quickest possible trains on 19 routes found that services from London travel at average speeds of 65 – 93 mph, compared with 20 – 60 mph elsewhere.

The slowest route featured in the study was Liverpool Central to Chester, which takes 41 minutes to make the 14-mile journey (as the crow flies) at 20 mph.
Many of the slowest routes featured in the analysis, which featured trains operating on Fridays, are served only by trains with multiple stops.

Steve Rotheram, the mayor of the Liverpool city region, claimed the figures highlighted the “investment deficit that is seriously undermining growth potential in the north”.

He said: “You simply cannot deliver a ‘northern powerhouse’ as long as the regions that delivered the industrial revolution are reliant on transport infrastructure that is operating on a 19th-century timetable.”

Luke Raikes, a senior research fellow at thinktank IPPR North, said slow journey times were “down to decades of underinvestment as the government has just responded to congestion problems in London”.

Written by beleben

August 30, 2017 at 10:31 am

Reluctance to state

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Compared to conventional rail, high speed rail has lower capacity

What it says on the board

August 15’s blogpost on high speed line capacity was described as a “highly personal attack” on consultant William Barter (by Mr Barter).

twitter, @busandtrainpage

In a response posted on Twitter, Mr Barter stated that he was arguing that ‘conventional rail does not have a capacity advantage over high speed rail, not that high speed rail does have a capacity advantage over conventional rail’.

Bombardier high speed rail capacity evaluation report, 2011, Figure 3

But there seemed to be a strange reluctance to state whether or not high speed, on plain line sections, meant lower line capacity (the implication of ‘Figure 3’ in Bombardier’s 2011 report).

twitter, WilliamBarter1, status_898204008338292737_response

@williambarter1, twitter, 'minstel singing'

Written by beleben

August 22, 2017 at 9:05 am

Posted in HS2, Transport

Stop on a pause

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On a visit to Bristol Temple Meads, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond “repeatedly refused” to confirm that electrification of the Great Western Main Line into the station would ever happen, and appeared “to put a full stop on last year’s ‘pause’”.

[Chancellor Philip Hammond refuses to confirm electrification of rail line to Bristol will ever happen, Tristan Cork, Bristol Post, 30 May 2017]

In fact, when asked if it would ever happen, the Chancellor instead spoke of the wisdom of ‘re-engineering’ the £3 billion project so that Bristol would get at least some benefit from it, ‘without the costly infrastructure’.

Wales Online, July 2013

Written by beleben

May 30, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Posted in Politics, Transport

A trip aboard HS2

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HS2 step at platform, diagram

On 20 April an OJEU tender notice was issued for the ‘£2.75 billion, 60-train’ HS2 phase one rolling stock procurement. HS2 Ltd’s Pre-Qualification Technical Summary states its intention to procure “a single fleet of rolling stock that will be capable of operating on the HS2Network and the Conventional Rail Network (CRN), referred to as the ‘Conventional Compatible’ or ‘CC’ fleet”.

A perusal of the PQTS seems to confirm the view that the rolling stock specifications are as muddled as the rest of the project, but HS2 Ltd do not intend to change them in any substantive way.

[HS2 Ltd]

This PQTS is a precursor to the full Train Technical Specification (TTS) which will be provided with the Invitation to Tender. The requirements of this PQTS will be incorporated into the TTS along with other more detailed performance and functional requirements. Note that the TTS will supersede and replace the PQTS. HS2 Ltd does not intend to change in any substantive way the requirements set out in this PQTS. However, HS2 Ltd reserves its right to do so and will identify any such changes in the TTS in due course.

Contrary to all the accessibility hype, the PQTS suggests that there is little to no intention to provide ‘step free access’ between all stations served by HS2 trains. Even on the handful of stations on the captive network (“HS2 Platforms”), ‘step free’ access would involve negotiating, er, steps.

[HS2 Ltd]
The maximum vertical step between the deployed Moveable Step and an HS2 Platform shall be +20/-0mm except under Exceptional PTI Conditions.
Rationale: The maximum single step negotiable, unaided, by 98% of wheelchair users is +20mm; higher steps are negotiable but with decreasing success rates.

[…] The maximum vertical step between the deployed Moveable Step and an HS2 Platform shall be +30/-10mm under all conditions including Exceptional PTI Conditions. The TMM and HS2 will agree the Exceptional PTI Conditions, which are expected to include rarely-experienced vehicle conditions such as deflated suspension or Exceptional Payload.

[…] The maximum horizontal gap between the deployed Moveable Step and an HS2 Platform shall be 30mm.

[…] When deployed, the Moveable Step shall have a minimum horizontal surface depth (perpendicular to the bodyside) of 240mm

[…] The maximum vertical distance between the Moveable Step and the floor of the vestibule shall be 30mm.

Wouldn’t vertical discontinuities of those sizes, on a pavement of the public highway, be considered as “trip hazards”?

Does the claim of HS2 'step free access' match the reality?

Does the claim of HS2 ‘step free access’ match the reality?

The technical standards which HS2 is being designed to are obsolescent and inappropriate. For example, the train crashworthiness is based on a low-speed ‘level crossing’ collision with a heavy goods vehicle (which would be much lighter than the train), yet there would be no level crossings on HS2.

Survivability in realistic crash scenarios at actual HS2 operating speeds, is not considered at all.



Written by beleben

April 23, 2017 at 5:50 pm