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Posts Tagged ‘Crossrail

The economics of Tring Crossrail

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Over the years, various ideas have been put forward to connect West Coast Main Line tracks into London’s east – west Crossrail system, but none of them were progressed. In August 2014, the idea of connecting the West Coast ac Relief lines was revived by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin — largely to reduce commuter disruption during the rebuild of Euston station for the prestige HS2 scheme. In the Mayor of London’s London 2050 report, the cost of bringing Crossrail to Tring was given as £150 million, which implied that the connection into Crossrail would make use of the Dudding Hill route.

London Midland commuter trainsets at Euston (Belebenpic)

London Midland commuter trainsets at Euston (Beleben)

Is the cost of ‘WCML Crossrail’ really only around £150 million? And how much disruption relief for a Euston HS2 rebuild would it actually provide? According to a Transport for London document, the computed benefit cost was around 2.5 — but the costs themselves were blacked out.

Transport for London WCML Crossrail Dudding Hill option summary, extract

Transport for London WCML Crossrail, Dudding Hill option summary, extract

And according to a similarly redacted Department for Transport document, the benefit cost was in the region of 0.33 to 0.87.

DfT, WCML Crossrail link, economic appraisal, v3 05 Jan 2015 (redacted by TfL)

DfT, WCML Crossrail link, economic appraisal, v3 05 Jan 2015 (redacted by TfL)

Written by beleben

June 18, 2015 at 2:05 pm

Posted in HS2, London, Politics

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How ‘British’ are Crossrail trains?

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Crossrail 1, Bombardier Aventra

Siemens was at the centre of an intense row in 2011 when it was awarded a £1.5 bn contract to build 1,140 train carriages [for Thameslink], ahead of Bombardier’s plant in Derby, wrote the Daily Telegraph’s Nathalie Thomas (28 Jan 2014). The Thameslink trains are being built in Uerdingen, Germany, and their UK content is low.

[Emphasis will be on British jobs in new rail bids, says Siemens director, DT, 28 Jan 2014]

[…] Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of rail systems for Siemens, said he expected future competitions for UK contracts to include a heavy emphasis on British jobs following the row over new trains for the busy Thameslink commuter line.

[…] “There is definitely a big push to look at what you can do to help regenerate the economy. Going forward, that focus is going to be on even more. If you look at what London Underground and Crossrail have done, they are all trying to demonstrate the spend in the UK market.”

The bidding framework for the Thameslink train contract was created by the last Labour government. After Siemens was awarded the Thameslink contract, Bombardier announced that it might close down its Derby factory, unless it received enough orders. In July 2013, Siemens withdrew from the Crossrail 1 rolling stock competition.

In February 2014, the government announced Bombardier had won the Crossrail 1 order.


The trains will be manufactured and assembled at Bombardier’s plant in Derby.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said Bombardier’s contract would support 760 manufacturing jobs and 80 apprenticeships.

[John Moylan, Industry correspondent, BBC News]

When Bombardier lost out to Siemens for the £1.6bn Thameslink contract, it put the future of the Derby-based train maker in doubt and raised fundamental questions about the government’s support for manufacturing.

Some claimed it was unthinkable that countries like Italy, France and Germany would award such a huge contract to a foreign firm and risk losing a fundamental capability like train manufacturing.

A review of government procurement followed. That has led to a wider interpretation of European Union state aid rules.

Contracts had tended to be awarded on a narrow value for money basis. Now broader issues are taken into account including the impact upon the supply chain, support for apprenticeships and the amount of the money to be spent in the UK.

It is understood Bombardier was a clear winner of the Crossrail contract. The government insists it offered the best trains at the best price.

At the Labour and Conservative parties, the Department for Transport, Hitachi, Siemens, and Bombardier, the PR emphasis may now be on ‘British jobs’. But according to Crossrail Ltd, the Class 345 trains for Crossrail 1 are 27% British by value.

So what is the GB content of the Class 800, AT200, and AT300 trains, which are to be assembled by Hitachi at a factory at Newton Aycliffe?

Written by beleben

March 31, 2015 at 3:13 pm

Posted in London, Politics

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Euston and Greengauge 21

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According to Jim Steer’s Greengauge 21, there is scope to reduce the project costs of HS2 by smart planning: 

for instance by adopting the Network Rail scheme to take existing commuter services out of Euston and connect them into Crossrail instead. This would save costs and reduce disruption  –  and even bring forward the project completion date.

Proposed London Superlink network schematicThe plan to route Milton Keynes/Northampton WCML commuter trains away from Euston, and into Crossrail, has been around for a long time. It was included in the 2004 Superlink regional rail system, proposed by John Prideaux and Michael Schabas.

According to Mr Schabas, Steer Davies Gleave (Jim Steer’s company) prepared a report for Canary Wharf Group Plc, which attacked the Superlink concept of a ‘regional Crossrail’, and taking Milton Keynes commuter traffic out of Euston. As with the Milton Keynes connection, extension of Crossrail to Reading would have important connectivity benefits, and help balance the western and eastern traffic on the system. But in the Guardian in 2007, Mr Steer was quoted as saying that there was “no basis” for extending Crossrail to Reading.

Reconstruction of Euston carries huge risks, and HS2 Ltd has agreed that it has not monetised its economic disruption effects. In its present form, Crossrail’s configuration would make poor use of the expensive tunnel being built under central London. By moving West Midlands intercity services to the Chiltern Line, and moving Milton Keynes commuter services into Crossrail, there would no longer be any requirement to rebuild and disrupt Euston station (or build HS2).

Written by beleben

January 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Uses for a wet suburban station

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When shadow Transport Secretary, Theresa Villiers described the Old Oak Common HS2 station concept as

“Wormwood Scrubs International”

saying it was 10 miles from the airport, not linked to the Underground, and passengers going to Heathrow Airport would have to change trains. The current Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond, also seemed to disparage Old Oak Common in remarks to the Transport Select Committee in July 2010.

As part of the behemoth U-turn that saw the Conservatives’ silly S-shaped high speed railway replaced by a variant of Labour’s silly Y-shaped high speed railway, Mr Hammond has ended up adopting the “wet suburban station in North West London” as the principal connecting point for travellers using Crossrail and/or Heathrow Airport.

In fact, Old Oak Common is an interesting proposition as a transport interchange, but of course, not as part of the HS2 project. Accessibility of OOC by public transport is potentially quite good, thanks to projects like London Crossrail. If a need arose in the *distant* future for much larger intercity rail travel volumes between London and the Midlands, Old Oak Common could be envisaged as a London terminus.

Contrary to HS2 Ltd’s assertions, the Chiltern Main Line has the capacity to meet foreseeable intercity traffic growth between Birmingham and London, without building a new line. And it’s possible to envisage a new ‘Mark 6’ carriage running in twelve coach sets between Snow Hill and Paddington (rather than the smaller Moor Street and Marylebone stations used by Chiltern Railways). But in the event that traffic levels rose further, modifying London Paddington to receive sixteen coach trains might prove infeasible. In that event, Old Oak Common could be used as an alternative. Obviously, this is still billions of pounds cheaper than the HS2 project, which involves building and maintaining 200 km of extra trackage, when existing tracks are not full.