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Posts Tagged ‘Andrew McNaughton

Misinformation from the top

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In March 2016 the House of Commons Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee said HS2 Ltd’s culture of “defensive communication and misinformation” was “not acceptable”.

HS2 Ltd's claims about integrity and transparency

The chief executive of HS2 Ltd, Simon Kirby, seems to be a key enabler of the ‘culture of misinformation’. In an article published by The Rail Engineer on 29 April, Mr Kirby claimed that

  • a twin-track high speed railway like HS2 would provide more line capacity than a twin-track conventional one
  • HS2 would take 500,000 lorries a year off the roads, ‘with the freight capacity we create on the West Coast line because we’ve got high-speed trains on the high speed network’.

[Taking HS2 to completion, Nigel Wordsworth’s interview with HS2 Ltd chief executive Simon Kirby, The Rail Engineer, 29 April 2016]

[…] Despite its name, High Speed 2 isn’t just about high speed – it’s about capacity. Pulling long-distance passenger traffic off the West Coast main line and onto a new railway will leave more room on the ‘old’ lines for stopping trains, commuters and freight.

[…] Some people have questioned whether a high-speed railway is strictly necessary. If a conventional railway, with a speed of, say, 140mph, were to be built instead. Wouldn’t that do just as well?

“Most of the characteristics are the same for any type of new railway, the aesthetics of bridges and the substructure are the same,” Simon replied. “One of the challenges we all have as an industry is taking people into the world of three or four per cent passenger growth and imagining what the industry looks like in 10 or 20 years’ time. Half of the trains out of Euston by the end of this decade will be full, and that’s with standing provisions as well. So we’d need a four track railway from Euston to Birmingham, not a two track one, because the speeds are slower and the capacity is less.

When asked about line capacity of high speed and conventional railways in freedom of information requests, HS2 Ltd has been unable to provide any evidence to support Mr Kirby’s claim, or a similar one by the chairman, David Higgins.

Line capacity misinformation given by HS2 chairman David Higgins

According to a diagram produced by HS2 Ltd’s technical director Andrew McNaughton, long distance trains would not be removed from the West Coast Main Line when HS2 became operational.

Andrew McNaughton, 'HS2 released capacity' slide, 2015

In October 2013, Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that the government would “aim to ensure” that all towns or cities which currently have a direct service to London will retain broadly comparable or better services once HS2 is completed, and intended to launch “a study to recommend how this can be done”. How could it be done, without retaining long distance services on the existing line?

Written by beleben

May 9, 2016 at 10:50 am

Javelins between Eurostars

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In a Rail Engineer article, HS2 Ltd’s Andrew McNaughton explained how the Channel Tunnel Rail Link’s operating model depended on inefficient capacity utilisation.

[HS2 – The story so far, Nigel Wordsworth, The Rail Engineer, 9 Nov 2015]

[AMcN:] “You can smuggle Javelins between Eurostars because there aren’t many Eurostars, there are big gaps in the service and it’s a very short distance,” explained Andrew. “You’ve only got from Ebbsfleet to Ashford that they have to get along where they’re going slower than Eurostars. The route out to Ebbsfleet is only 230km/h so they’re basically running at the same speed as the Eurostars out through the London tunnels. The faster bit of the route is only between Ebbsfleet and Ashford.”

Unexplained comment deletions on http://www.railengineer.uk/2015/11/05/hs2-the-story-so-far/

Unexplained comment deletions on The Rail Engineer story ‘HS2 the story so far’

Written by beleben

November 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm

Posted in HS1, HS2

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‘Full use of the eleven’

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Would the HS2 railway allow local / commuter trains to have “full use” of the reduced complement of 11 West Coast platforms at Euston?

Rail consultant William Barter: HS2 would allow local / commuter trains to gain full use of the eleven remaining Euston platforms (14 oct 2015)

Slide 13 of HS2 chief engineer Andrew McNaughton’s “Released Capacity” presentation (February 2015) does not support the idea that, with HS2 in operation, local / commuter trains would have full use of eleven Euston platforms.

HS2 Ltd's Andrew McNaughton: 'Released capacity' diagram, Feb 2015, slide #13

In the Professor’s post 2026 scenario, all Euston West Coast fast line services would run well beyond Northampton and Milton Keynes, to destinations such as Glasgow, Crewe, and North Wales. Because of the lack of stations on the proposed Y network, it is not possible to

  • replace long distance services on the classic lines, or
  • realise “£8 billion of savings” on the classic network

without breaking connectivity for all the places which would not have HS2 stations.

The problem is not even restricted to the West Coast Main Line. HS2 would not serve any town on the East Coast corridor between Leeds and London. In other words, the rhetoric cannot be aligned with the Economic Case.

Written by beleben

October 25, 2015 at 12:15 pm

Posted in HS2

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The platforms and the trains

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In the House of Lords HS2 debate on 16 September Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon assured those present that the new railway would not reduce the number of platforms at Euston.

[Lord Ahmad, House of Lords HS2 debate, 16 September 2015]

[…HS2] will deliver 11 new high-speed platforms and 11 for the existing network. That is a total of 22 platforms, which is four higher than the current 18 platforms.

Andrew McNaughton, West Coast released capacity slide, Feb 2015

In the “Smoker’s Fingernail” Euston 4.0 design, the number of West Coast platforms at Euston would fall from 18 to 11, but the number of West Coast peak services would be similar to the current volume (see Andrew McNaughton’s diagram above). To claim West Coast platforming capacity would increase from 18 to 22 is nonsense.

In the same way, the rebuild of St Pancras ‘increased the total number of platforms at that station’, but it drastically cut the number of Midland Main Line platforms. Repeating the design and capacity mistakes of St Pancras makes no sense, but Euston 4.0 would take botching to a whole new level.

In the HoL debate Lord Greaves stated that “Some people think that the existing network can be fettled in such a way as to cater for the required extra capacity, but that would need the extra rolling stock anyway”, so at least some of the cost of the HS2 rolling stock “is to be discounted”.

Building HS2 would create a need for billions of pounds of additional rolling stock expenditure.

  • High speed trains are more expensive to buy.
  • If high speed rail service results in extra generated journeys, that would probably require a larger overall trainfleet.
  • The Y network concept is based on using 200 metre trainsets, which is extremely inefficient. For example, about half the captive HS2 units would be used only in peak hours.
  • In effect, the Y network concept requires large-scale duplication of rolling stock provision. For example, between Birmingham and Leeds and Birmingham and Manchester, 200-metre HS2 trains would run largely empty. But the classic trains between those places could not be withdrawn, because of the need to maintain connectivity for Chesterfield, Burton on Trent, Stafford, etc.

Written by beleben

September 18, 2015 at 9:41 am

Posted in HS2

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Nothing like a metro

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In a January 2014 article for the Rail Engineer magazine, HS2 chief engineer Professor Andrew McNaughton stated that, “The first phase of HS2 will be most useful in releasing capacity to recast the south end of the WCML and the corridor through Coventry into Birmingham. The former will then accommodate the growth into London and the latter high frequency metro style services that Centro envisages“.

As can be seen from SLC Rail’s diagram of the passenger rail timetable structure on Coventry – Birmingham corridor, the year 2013 local (stopping) train service did not resemble that of a metro.

Coventry - Birmingham corridor, passenger rail timetable structure in 2013 (Source: SLC Rail)

Coventry – Birmingham corridor, passenger rail timetable structure in 2013 (Source: SLC Rail)

But in the late 2020s, with HS2 in operation, could a “metro style service” be provided on the Birmingham to Coventry line?

Coventry - Birmingham corridor, maximum capacity limit with the 20 minute Intercity West Coast frequency (Source: SLC Rail)

Coventry – Birmingham corridor, maximum capacity limit with the 20 minute Intercity West Coast frequency (Source: SLC Rail)

According to SLC Rail, the 20-minute Intercity West Coast (Virgin) frequency limits the realisable capacity on the Coventry – Birmingham corridor to 8 trains per hour overall. Apparently, HS2 Ltd envisage that the Intercity West Coast frequency would fall from 20 to 30 minutes.

Coventry - Birmingham corridor, capacity provided by changing the 20 minute Intercity West Coast frequency to 30 minute (Source: SLC Rail)

Coventry – Birmingham corridor, capacity provided by changing the 20 minute Intercity West Coast frequency to 30 minute (Source: SLC Rail)

As can be seen, SLC Rail’s diagrams suggest that changing the ICWC frequency to half-hourly would allow just one extra train to run each hour, and the local service would still be nothing like a metro. (Consider how one would make a journey from Stechford to Tile Hill, for example.)

Plainly, HS2 would be of very little value for improving local capacity or connectivity in the West Midlands — or Yorkshire, or Greater Manchester. But rail capacity is perhaps too complex a subject for the mainstream media (or Rail magazine), and government ministers.

Written by beleben

August 28, 2015 at 11:22 am

The biggest greenwash going

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According to Alisdair McGregor, Liberal Democrat prospective parliamentary candidate for the Calder Valley, HS2 is ‘the biggest Green project going, because it’s about freeing up freight capacity’.

Alisdair 'honestly shocked' McGregor tweet about HS2 and railfreight

The facts are as follows:

  1. The busiest section of the West Coast Main Line is the section between London and Rugby.
  2. On that section, there are four tracks (Up Fast, Up Slow, Down Fast, and Down Slow).
  3. In normal service, intercity passenger trains use the Fast lines. Freight and most Commuter traffic uses the Slow lines.
  4. HS2 is envisaged as a passenger-only two-track railway, for use by long distance trains. As such, it does not provide increased railfreight capacity on its own track, or on the existing West Coast track.
  5. Currently, about half the available freight paths on the WCML are not used (i.e., wasted).

Andrew Mcnaughton 'released capacity', February 2015

As can be seen from chief engineer Andrew McNaughton’s presentation (above), HS2’s modelling does not envisage a fall in the number of passenger services using the Slow lines. Therefore, so far as can be established, the number of additional freight paths arising from HS2 would be zero.

Written by beleben

April 24, 2015 at 10:47 am

Posted in HS2

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Quantum of Desiro

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If the HS2 railway were built into London’s Euston station, there would be a reduction in the number of platforms available for use by trains using the existing tracks, HS2 chief engineer Professor Andrew McNaughton told the High Speed Rail Bill Committee on 15 February 2015.

[Andrew McNaughton, 15 Feb 2015]

[…] But, [in 2026 the Euston classic platforms] are now being used for […] new services, which don’t take so long to turn around. A train from Glasgow spends 40 minutes being cleaned, victualled, watered, before it disappears off north again. So, it uses a platform for a very long time. A commuter train from Milton Keynes comes in, decants everybody, puts more people on, disappears off in five or six minutes. So, the mix of train services does affect the number of platforms you need, as well.

But as can be seen from Prof McNaughton’s slide #13 (below), HS2’s proposed re-mix of the West Coast route does not feature dedicated Fast line commuter trains terminating at Milton Keynes. All the Fast line services would run on to Northamptonshire or beyond (in some cases, well beyond).

Andrew McNaughton presentation slide #13, 15 Feb 2015

According to the Department for Transport, most of the Fast line trains would be operated by Class 350 (or similar) units. These have a lower top speed than the Pendolino or IEP designs. So it seems likely that journey times on West Coast would tend to increase, rather than decrease.

At present, most peak London Midland Euston trains are short-length, which suggests a continuing insufficiency of rolling stock. The number of Class 350 (actual or ersatz) required to operate the Professor’s re-mix is unclear, but seems likely to be considerably in excess of what currently exists.

Written by beleben

April 21, 2015 at 10:30 am

Posted in HS2

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To Pendolino, and back

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In 2012, HS2 chief engineer Prof Andrew McNaughton explained to a trade magazine how his new railway would allow the existing West Coast tracks to run a much better commuter service.

[Andrew McNaughton, quoted in The Engineer, 28 May 2012]

‘If you stand on Milton Keynes platform during morning peak [now], you’ll see lots of Pendolino trains but they don’t stop; they’re all full of people going to Manchester. In 2025, when HS2 opens, they’re gone. Trains will stop at Milton Keynes every 10 minutes.’

And on 11 February 2015, he offered a few comments at the High Speed Rail Bill Committee.

[Andrew McNaughton at the High Speed Rail Bill Committee, 11 Feb]

When HS2 is in operation, then the long distance services, the HS2 Services, run off their platforms, there will be less of the [Euston] classic platforms left. But, they are now being used for these new services, which don’t take so long to turn around. A train from Glasgow spends 40 minutes being cleaned, victualled, watered, before it disappears off north again. So, it uses a platform for a very long time. A commuter train from Milton Keynes comes in, decants everybody, puts more people on, disappears off in five or six minutes. So, the mix of train services does affect the number of platforms you need, as well.

Andrew McNaughton, 'released capacity', Feb 2015

But the Professor’s presentation did not show Fast-commuter trains starting from Milton Keynes, and running into London; it showed them starting at places like Birmingham and Glasgow, and calling at Milton Keynes, en route. Because travel-to-London demand from points north of Milton Keynes is much lower, that service pattern is unlikely to be very efficient. A more cost-effective approach would be to run pure commuter services, perhaps by connecting Milton Keynes into the Midland Main Line.

HS2 Ltd want classic services to occupy less Euston platform space by replacing current long distance trains with pseudo-commuter ones serving the ‘long-distance’ market, running beyond the normal commuter threshold (Northants). Are Class 350 trains really suitable for journeys of 300 km or more?

DfT explanation of Euston fast and relief lines capacity pre-and-post-HS2, 2014

In a further bizarre twist, the Department for Transport seem to want some commuter services to switch from Desiro to Pendolino, and then back again [see table above].

Written by beleben

March 19, 2015 at 11:49 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS1

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Assumptions of a muddle

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Two different versions of Figure 6-6, in HS2 PFM Assumptions reports labelled with the same version number

Two different versions of Figure 6-6, in HS2 PFM Assumptions reports labelled with the same version number

Written by beleben

March 18, 2015 at 5:33 pm

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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L’évolution des retards

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On 7 March 2015, the Express and Star reported Andrew McNaughton as saying that HS2 high speed trains would never be late.

TGV PSE delays

TGV PSE delays

However, Systra’s 2011 capacity and reliability technical note for HS2 Ltd suggested that the service would be affected by late running.

Page 61 included a representation of tardiness on the TGV Paris Sud-Est / Mediterranée, but unfortunately the French ’15-minute’ measurement is not directly comparable with British ‘PPM’ practice.

Since HS2 would be more intensively operated than TGV Paris Sud-Est / Mediterranée, the timekeeping and regularity challenge would be greater.

Written by beleben

March 12, 2015 at 10:43 am

Posted in High speed rail, HS2

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