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Posts Tagged ‘High speed rail

High speed rail versus high average speed rail (part two)

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In the British context, high peak speeds achieved on a rail journey are unlikely to have much effect on door-to-door journey times. Prior to its ‘takeover’ by Andrew Adonis, that was the eminently sensible position of the Department for Transport, as seen in the 2007 paper ‘Delivering a Sustainable Railway‘.

What matters, is the average speed achieved to journey’s end. The relative unimportance of peak speeds can also extend to some international journeys, such as Birmingham to Brussels — as shown by Sinclair Knight Merz’s report ‘Analytical Support for the Preparation of a Public Consultation on the [HS2] Route Between London and Birmingham’, dated 23 June 2010.

SKM, Birmingham to Brussels, components of rail journey time (minutes)

With regard to Figure 8, only 30 minutes of generalised time savings (32%) are attributed to a reduction in in-vehicle time (i.e. as a consequence of increase in rail speed) [light blue in the pie charts]. The majority of generalised time savings are attributable to the removal of interchange penalties [pink and light green in the pie charts].

Railway Gazette, capacity webinar panel, Nov 2011: Elaine Holt, Anthony Gueterbock, Chris Jackson, William Barter, Ted Stephens

The Railway Gazette webinar ‘Growth and the Capacity Challenge‘ (November 2 2011) included an incisive comment on point-to-point connectivity from Ted Stephens, Rail & Transit Solutions Executive at Bentley Systems.

It’s a connected network, that[‘s what] I want to use…I don’t want to run quickly from London to Birmingham… what I’m interested in doing, is [travelling] from where I live to my ultimate location, which is somewhere around Birmingham.

Written by beleben

June 12, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Kehoe surgery

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Birmingham Airport: 'I'd like to move it, move it' says Paul Kehoe (Business Birmingham video)A few weeks ago, transport secretary Justine Greening suggested moving ancient woods to make way for HS2. A tough one to beat on the bizarre-o-meter, but Birmingham Airport chief executive Paul Kehoe has risen to the challenge.

With no means having been found to move HS2 nearer to Birmingham Airport, Mr Kehoe now wants to move the airport nearer to HS2.

There seems to be two, not-insignificant, problems with relocating the airport’s terminal facilities.

  1. The cost, and who pays it.
  2. Finding the space needed in the desired location.

Birmingham Airport site, showing planned HS2 station

Written by beleben

June 8, 2012 at 8:32 am

Falling off the fence

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Falling off the fenceWhen Jim Steer’s lobbying company Greengauge 21 wanted to produce a report on capturing the benefits of HS2 on existing lines, it turned to Jonathan Tyler for advice. However, Mr Tyler was increasingly unconvinced by the case for HS2, and in June 2011’s ‘Why oh Y‘, he aired doubts about the very fundamentals of the project.

Another interesting read is Mr Tyler’s 2012 paper ‘HS2: Strategic wisdom or grand folly‘. Here’s some extracts.

First then, the context. The capacity justification for high-speed rail had been developing for some years (adroitly driven by Greengauge 21) when the project was seized upon by Theresa Villiers as a substitute for a third runway at Heathrow and by Andrew Adonis as a signal of green modernity. The Heathrow association never had a credible rationale, and ironically the spur to the airport is now justified as strengthening its hub status – the very factor reigniting the runway campaign. As for the Adonis crusade, one can both admire single-mindedness and distrust confident certainty that no other course of action is conceivable.

Disquiet about the political context was compounded when HS2 Ltd was set up to establish the business case for building a new railway. An arm’s-length unit might be the right vehicle for managing construction, but creating a dedicated company at the start precluded properly objective analysis. Moreover the company shows signs of being too excited about building a perfect and technologically-advanced railway to impartially evaluate options.

Another weakness is the preoccupation with protecting property interests. This meant secrecy in the surveying of the route (conducted at great expense), presentation of a fully-formed scheme that pre-empted effective debate about strategic issues and now a reluctance to reconsider routes and station locations. The error is being repeated with the alignment for the ‘Y’ extensions north of Birmingham.

Finally a governance matter has to be raised. Noticeably few doubts have been publicly expressed from within the railway industry. It is difficult to believe that no one shares the public dissent. Could it be that Train Operating Companies are acting in misguided solidarity or dare not cross the Department for Transport [DfT] for fear of being marked down in franchise bids, and that the big consultancies perceive future revenue streams and choose not to rock boats.

I have already suggested deficiencies, and here I address two further issues of substance, namely station location and timetabling. Government and HS2 documents are littered with references to the importance of connecting the high-speed line with the classic network, but the reality is quite different, with awkward links and extended interchange times.

Indeed HS2 is emerging as a railway set apart from the older system and thereby only benefiting areas immediately adjacent to its stations – and those customers easily able to access them by car (at an unmeasured carbon cost). It is telling that attention is being diverted from the Birmingham problem by a focus on regeneration of Eastside, while no one explains how the segregated eastern arm of the ‘Y’ will help the many travellers who now journey through Birmingham on the North East … Yorkshire … South West / South Coast axis. Similar arrogance on the part of HS2 surrounds the planning of routes and stations in London.

We urgently need full and open analysis of the benefits of an alternative network-wide strategy to enhance the classic railway with new sections that would add capacity or reduce journey-times and retain the connectivity advantages of existing nodal stations.

Written by beleben

June 5, 2012 at 3:45 pm

Marshall moonshine

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High speed rail travel at 400 km/h requires 3.2 times as much energy as 200 km/h (Systra for Greengauge21)

Like Siemens’ ICE3, the Alstom AGV is a ‘distributed traction’ high speed train (in which traction motors are dispersed beneath the carriages, instead of having power cars at each end of the trainset). The 200-metre long AGV11 variant was used by HS2 Ltd as its ‘Reference train’ in the development of its proposed Y network between London, Birmingham, Leeds, and Manchester. And according to Railnews writer Alan Marshall

the AGV uses no more energy (nor generates any more carbon dioxide) per seat at 300km/h (186 mph) than a Virgin tilting Pendolino (based on an earlier Alstom design) running at only 200km/h (125 mph) on Britain’s West Coast Main Line.

Mr Marshall claimed that the ‘AGV’s ‘green credentials’ were disclosed in an analysis in an April 2009 ATOC (Association of Train Operating Companies) report by Richard Davies and Leigh Thompson.

ATOC undertook the analysis of carbon dioxide (CO2) impacts of High Speed Rail for Greengauge 21, the not-for-profit organisation established in 2006 to research and develop the concept of a High Speed Rail network.
The report also makes clear that rail’s ability to improve its carbon footprint by carrying more passengers with the same energy consumption is constrained by Britain’s restricted structure gauge and the inability of the infrastructure to permit operation of very long trains — whereas a new line will enable longer trains with duplex accommodation, so the energy demand per seat kilometre can be kept very low.

“A double-deck, double-unit TGV Duplex train, for example, offers 1,090 seats in twenty vehicles compared to the 439 seats that the nine-cars of a Pendolino can offer — a significant capacity advantage that would remain even after most of these have been extended to 11 cars,” said Davies and Thompson, who added: “The trains used are also typically longer, so that the aerodynamic drag of the front end of the train (which is a significant energy cost at high speed) is spread over perhaps 16 to 18 carriages rather than the UK norm of eight to 10 carriages.”

A new AGV operating at 300km/h will consume 0.033 kWh of electricity per seat kilometre, they say. The AGV’s construction and distributed power system along the train means the total mass per seat is just 0.78 tonnes. By comparison, a Virgin Pendolino on the WCML has a mass per seat of 1.055 tonnes — 35 per cent greater than an AGV — so at only 200km/h (125mph) its energy consumption is the same as the AGV going 50 per cent faster.

A Eurostar — a TGV scaled down to fit within the UK structure gauge — has a mass of 0.96 tonnes per seat and an energy consumption of 0.041 kWh per seat/km.

What useful conclusions can be drawn from the ATOC ‘research’? The answer seems to be: none whatsoever. Comparing the energy per seat of a 9-car Pendolino at 200 km/h and a HS2 Reference train (AGV) at 300 km/h is not informative. HS2 is planned as a 400 km/h railway, with trains running, from the very start, at 330 km/h or more. Hyping AGV ‘reduced train mass’ is not going to be particularly helpful at 300 km/h or above, because at those speeds, aerodynamic drag is the major factor in train energy consumption, and energy required rises steeply (approximately as the square of the speed). A less misleading energy per seat calculation would be: 11-car Pendolino at 200 km/h, versus AGV11 at 330 or 350 km/h.

Neither the cruise speed nor the maximum speed of trains on the Y network is planned as 300 km/h, and the energy per seat calculations favoured by ATOC obviously take no account of load factor. The primary statistic for comparison should be energy per passenger-kilometre, not energy per seat-kilometre.

Spreading the aerodynamic drag of the front end of the train “over perhaps 16 to 18 carriages rather than the UK norm of eight to 10 carriages” is never going to be of much use, if most of the carriages are empty. When the 18-car Eurostar service between London, Brussels, and Paris first started, the load factor was very low (reported as around 20%), so the seat-kilometre and passenger-kilometre energy measures would give completely different messages.

HS2 Ltd gave the overall load factor forecast for its new line as 58%, which is higher than the average for British long distance high speed services, but nowhere near high enough to compensate for the additional energy its trains would use. HS2 is planned to have ‘similar fares’ to the legacy network, which obviously poses a credibility problem for the ‘58% load factor’. If the HS2 fare structure is going to be similar to the legacy network, how could its load factor be significantly higher? Answers on a post card to: Andrew McNaughton’s There’s-No-Answer-To-That Waste Paper Basket, HS2 Ltd, Eland House, London, SW1.

The claim that

rail’s ability to improve its carbon footprint by carrying more passengers with the same energy consumption is constrained by Britain’s restricted structure gauge and the inability of the infrastructure to permit operation of very long trains — whereas a new line will enable longer trains with duplex accommodation, so the energy demand per seat kilometre can be kept very low

is drivel. On a per-metre length basis, an AGV has no more accommodation than a British loading gauge train (such as a Pendolino). The AGV is currently not available in a double deck version, so its larger cross-section makes its less aerodynamically efficient than a modern standard train built to British loading gauge.

HS2 would certainly not permit generalised operation of longer passenger trains in Britain. Indeed, the standard (off-peak) train length in the HS2 scheme is 200 metres, which is shorter than existing trains like the Pendolino. Operation of 400-metre long HS2 trains would only ever be possible on the new build track — which would only serve London, Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester directly.

Written by beleben

May 14, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Getting so much lower all the time

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Lower?During the consultation phase, I asked Mark Weiner of HS2 Ltd if I could do some sensitivity analysis using their model. The request was refused. In previous posts, I have outlined some of the bizarre, irrational and dishonest assumptions used in the computation of the HS2 Economic Case. On April 11, the Guardian reported that the official forecast of HS2 benefits had been further downgraded.

The latest figures issued by the HS2 high-speed rail scheme have revised down the economic benefits for the fourth time – suggesting the scheme will barely, if ever, break even. Originally the scheme was forecast to bring £2.40 of benefit for every pound invested. The revised benefit-cost ratio (BCR) is 1.2 : 1.
A government paper in March 2010 projected the economic benefits at 2.4 : 1 for the London – Birmingham route [‘LWM’]. This was adjusted downwards by February 2011 at the beginning of the consultation, and again this January when transport secretary Justine Greening gave the green light to HS2, which is planned to be operational in 2026 and completed by 2033.

The full route [‘Y network’], going north to Leeds and Manchester, now has an estimated BCR of between 1.5 : 1 and 1.9 : 1.

Centro’s Midland Metro consultants, the Centre for Economic and Business Research, estimated the true benefit cost ratio of HS2 at around 0.5, which is similar to the number used by AGAHST.

Written by beleben

April 12, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Present values and HS2

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In his guest blogpost published today on the Go HS2 website, consultant William Barter concluded that the Channel 4 Fact Check “got it wrong” on HS2 costs. The Fact Check article commenced with Justine Greening’s quote from 10 January 2012:

“The capital cost at 2011 prices of building the complete Y network is £32.7 billion. At present values, it will generate benefits of up to £47 billion and fare revenues of up to £34 billion over a 60-year period.”

Trains account for over 20% of the cost of the Y network, so it’s unclear why Ms Greening omitted to give a figure that includes them. In the January 2012 ‘Updated appraisal of transport user benefits and wider economic benefits‘ rolling stock is listed separately at just over £8 billion. But they are just as much a network cost as land, stations, signalling, and suchlike.

Like future patronage and fare levels, the lifespan of HS2 rolling stock is unknowable — but the planned intensive utilisation suggests that replacement would be needed more than once, over the 60-year appraisal period. The HS2 cost calculation does not seem to consider the cost of rolling stock replacement post-opening.

Because there is no breakdown of Y network construction and procurement expenditure by year, corroboration of present values is not possible. For stage one (London – West Midlands), rolling stock expenditure would probably need to be in step with civil engineering expenditure (raising the present value of costs).

Written by beleben

April 3, 2012 at 11:41 am

HS1 performance, part one

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According to Lucy James, of the Campaign for High Speed Rail,

HS1, the only current high speed line in Britain, was delivered on time and on budget.

For such a sentence just sixteen words long, there’s a remarkable amount of dissemblance packed in.

  • “the only current high speed line in Britain”

    HS1 is not “the only current high speed line” in Britain. Under the definitions used by the International Union of Railways, the East Coast, West Coast and Great Western Main Lines certainly qualify as high speed lines (and a good case could be made for the Midland Main Line). But although it looks like a high speed line, HS1’s credentials turn out to be less than convincing.

  • “on time and on budget”

    The LGV line from Paris to Frethun, on the French coast of the English Channel, was built at the same time as the Channel Tunnel. This allowed trains to use new-build track from Paris to Folkestone from start of service in 1994. But from Folkestone to London, trains had to use the existing ‘Southern Railway’ tracks.

    The British government of the 1980s had refused to fund construction of dedicated new build track, and passed legislation to make such funding unlawful. The manoeuvring required to dismantle the policy took so long that the first part of HS1 did not open until 2003, and it did not reach London until 2007.

    Even if the decade-long delay caused by wrangling and face-saving is ignored, it would still be incorrect to state that HS1 was “on time and on budget”. The National Audit Office documents on ‘The completion and sale of High Speed 1‘, published on 28 March 2012, stated that

    The line was delivered within the overall funding and timescale available for the project. However, this was at a higher cost and later than its targets. Construction of the line cost £6,163 million, 18 per cent higher than the target costs.

Written by beleben

March 28, 2012 at 11:47 am

Shinkansen and HS2

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Although Japan’s high speed rail (Shinkansen) is generally viewed as a fabulous achievement, there have been negative environmental and economic consequences as well. In his 1997 book, ‘High Speed in Japan‘, Peter Semmens portrayed Shinkansen expansion in a positive light. However, its pictures show that a great deal of the infrastructure is quite ugly.

Shinkansen operates with a mixture of service types, with different stopping patterns. On the Tokyo to Osaka run, there are Kodama (all-stops), Hikari (semi-fast), and Nozomi (fast) trains. Table 8.11 of Mr Semmens’ book gave the 1994-1995 fares for a single Tokyo to Osaka trip as follows:

  • using the legacy narrow-gauge Old Tokaido line (8340 yen),
  • by ‘regular’ high speed train (unreserved: 12980 yen, reserved 13480 yen, Green Car [premier class] 18030 yen), and
  • Nozomi high speed train (14430 yen, and Green Car [premier class] 18980 yen).

So fares by Shinkansen were all *much higher* than by Japan Railways classic rail.

Table 8.7 gave the Monday – Friday daily number of regular trains on the Tokaido and Sanyo Shinkansen as 384 (192 eastbound and 192 westbound).

For comparison, the HS2 project would supposedly operate well over 400 trains daily — and with a “no premium” fares structure.

Written by beleben

March 6, 2012 at 12:26 pm

HS2 challenge panels, part two

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In the 6 August 2011 blogpost, I observed that the public notes of HS2 challenge panels provided no clue as to who said what, and even the names of people attending were replaced by ‘XXXX’. Lo and behold, in the note of the strategic challenge panel held on 21 September 2011, there are some attributed comments, though overall transparency remains poor, as can be seen. The challenge panels were dominated by high speed rail proponents and lobbyists such as David Begg of Biz4HS2, and Jim Steer of Greengauge 21.

High Speed Two (HS2) Limited, registered in England.
Registration number 06791686. Registered office Eland House, Bressenden Place, London, SW1E 5DU
Note of HS2 Ltd Strategic Challenge Group 21.09.11

HS2 Ltd
Sir Brian Briscoe (BB), Chairman (Chair)
Alison Munro (AM), Chief Executive
Professor Andrew McNaughton (AMcN), Chief Engineer
Miranda Carter (MC), Head of Consultation and Communications
XXXX (Note taker)

Panel Members
Anthony Smith
Tony Travers
Jim Steer
Stephen Joseph OBE
David Higgins
David Leeder

BB welcomed the panel and thanked them for attending. He introduced the agenda:
1. Update on the Public Consultation
2. HS2 Ltd work towards Secretary of State announcement
3. Progress update – Manchester, Leeds and Heathrow
4. Next steps and organisational changes
5. Update on Passenger Focus work with Network Rail on released capacity

1. Update on the Public Consultation

MC presented an update on the completed consultation, including an overview of events held and an approximate figure of responses received. She noted that as well as the HS2 Ltd members of staff that appeared on the panel, a number of panel members had also provided evidence to the recent Transport Select Committee hearings for its inquiry into High Speed Rail. The report on the enquiry is expected at some point in November, but no date had been confirmed by the Committee.

MC explained the challenges that HS2 Ltd are working through in relation to the consultation responses. Producing a report on the responses that is readable and not extremely long whilst capturing the detail and the breadth of comments is quite challenging. Some responses are very difficult to code, as the arguments presented are not always clear statements and can be cryptic in places. However; the majority of responses reflect the verbal feedback received at the consultation events which is what would have been expected.

HS2 Ltd has sought advice from the Consultation Institute, asking it to peer review the process in place for analysing consultation responses, which it did. HS2 Ltd staff have also conducted validation of the coding of responses.
The panel asked whether any organisations did not respond to the consultation that HS2 Ltd would have expected to. MC responded that at this stage of (not yet completed) analysis, it appears that most organisations that were expected to respond, have.

2. HS2 Ltd work towards Secretary of State’s announcement

AM summarised the critical responses that relate mainly to HS2 Ltd’s work and the nature of the main points being made, as set out in the presentation. Relating to criticism that DfT and HS2 Ltd should have held a consultation on the strategy for High Speed Rail first followed later by a consultation on the route, and other criticisms around the legal process of the consultation; the panel commented that such criticisms are similar to those made of the roads consultations in the 1960’s and 1970’s. These appear to be standard objections about how Government consults and hence are not specific to HS2. AM confirmed that HS2 Ltd is seeking legal advice on how to respond to such objections around the legal process.

The panel were interested in more detail on the alternatives to the preferred route that were proposed, including if any alternatives had been suggested for the London section. AM summarised the main suggestions. She was not aware of any specific alternative routes that had been proposed in the London area; instead, suggestions focussed on additional tunnelled sections of the preferred route. There was a discussion of the ‘51m’ opposition group alternative proposition. The group’s alternative route includes a slower design speed which means that a larger number of sensitive sites could be avoided and hence it would have less impact.

In relation to consultation responses overall, the panel noted that there had also been positive responses, some stating that HS2 Ltd had not gone far enough with proposals. It enquired as to the overall mix of positive and negative responses. HS2 Ltd explained that it is not possible to classify some individual responses as either positive or negative because people have responded positively to some questions and negatively to others, within one response. Very approximately the split was approximately 25‐30% positive, the rest negative. It was noted that the response analysis firm has found the responses unusual compared to other consultations it has analysed; in that there is a much higher proportion of positive responses than normally seen. Submissions to the Transport Select Committee hearing from stakeholders are a good representation of the mix of positive and negative responses received.

In relation to routes proposed as alternatives, the panel acknowledged that these should be treated with caution from a sustainability perspective because a full Appraisal of Sustainability will not have been carried out as it has for the HS2 Ltd proposed route.

AM set out the work programme for London to West Midlands team leading up to the announcement in December. This includes a re‐run of the Economic Case which will include a more detailed assessment for the Y network. A report on the route selection and alternatives in light of the consultation will be produced; if the Secretary of State were to decide that a significantly different alternative route should be preferred, the currently proposed timetable would not work.

HS2 Ltd is looking into a number of issues raised at consultation and reconsidering aspects of the proposed route. Based on issues raised at the consultation and further work on these areas, it is likely that it will present options for alterations to the proposed route to the Secretary of State ahead of the December 2011 announcement. The panel asked whether it has been clarified whether any re‐consultation would be required as a result of this and whether this has been scheduled in. HS2 Ltd explained that each individual change would be checked with lawyers. There is no current plan to re‐consult; however it would do so if required. The aim would be to run this alongside the existing work programme.

The panel raised the question of the overall financing of a project of this size, and how fare revenue, revenue from the sale and rent of commercial space at station developments and investment private developers might balance the cost of financing. HS2 Ltd clarified that these are all questions that DfT would be responsible for dealing with in the future. HS2 Ltd continues to look at ways of reducing costs, currently through the ongoing Infrastructure UK work.

The panel asked how HS2 Ltd communicates proposed changes to the classic network to Network Rail. AMcN explained that several workshops have been held to date and all involved believe that there is a solution that can be worked with. The panel enquired about the Government’s handling of any implications on the classic network as a result of HS2, including whether anything would be made public at the time of the December announcement. All agreed that it would be necessary for DfT to include information on proposals for the classic rail network in its next command paper so that this can be factored into Network Rail’s planning for Control Periods 4 and 5.

3. Progress update – Manchester, Leeds and Heathrow

AMcN provided an update of HS2 Ltd’s work on the Manchester and Leeds legs of the Y network and a connection to Heathrow. He explained the options developed to date, the choices that HS2 Ltd will need to make prior to reporting to the Secretary of State in March 2012 and the choices that the report will present to him.


4. Next steps and organisational changes

AM explained the plans for HS2 Ltd’s structure if the Secretary of State gives the go‐ahead in December 2011. This includes the appointment of a Development Partner to develop the London to West Midlands route and the set of statutory processes HS2 Ltd would need to work through ahead of a Hybrid Bill for Phase 1.

5. Update on Passenger Focus work with Network Rail on released capacity

Anthony Smith, Chief Executive of Passenger Focus gave a brief update on the work that his organisation is doing in conjunction with Network Rail. It is engaging with passengers on future capacity issues to feed into work on how the WCML will best be utilised in the future. The work is progressing well and Anthony offered to provide a fuller briefing on further progress to HS2 Ltd ahead of the Secretary of State’s announcement in December. HS2 Ltd accepted the offer. Panel members hoped that this work would help engage with those passengers who might currently believe they would lose out from HS2 due to reduced services at their stations.

6. Closing points

It was agreed that the next meeting would be held in December ahead of the Secretary of State’s announcement. The meeting following that would be in February ahead of the final report on the Y network in March.

At the time of writing, the HS2 Ltd website has no notes for the ‘December 2011’ or ‘February 2012’ meetings mentioned in item 6.

Equally unclear is how many meetings of the London West Midlands consultation peer review group have taken place. Notes for meetings of two dates are listed on the website, but the note of the meeting of 2 March 2011 states “next meeting: 1 May”. Anyway, the March 2011 meeting was attended by Alison Munro, Miranda Carter, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, XXXX, and XXXX. Its notes show that HS2’s Ltd mission was to propagandise high speed rail, not ‘evaluate’ it.

XXXX– Agreed that it would be a good idea to branch out to councillors and make them take a standpoint on HS2. Under our current government, councillors appear to be a lot more powerful and having them in favour of HS2 should definitely be in our agenda.

[…] XXXX – Large Businesses would be perfect ambassadors to promote HS2. If key organisations could commit to giving a public statement to the media in favour of high speed rail then it would be very beneficial.

One of the most patronising comments came from (of course) Mr or Ms XXXX:

XXXX – Empowering a spokesperson for the individual action groups. Inviting them to attend a meeting/seminar every three months to discuss their particular views and listen to the other action groups’ views. It would be a means to relax their firmly-set objections on high speed rail. It would also help to build and maintain a relationship with the action groups and provide a chance for the action groups to negotiate.

XXXX off.

Written by beleben

March 5, 2012 at 2:39 pm

The Y network parc

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From its inception, the cost estimates for the HS2 high speed rail project have been murky, and the updated figures, announced by the government in January 2012, raise a lot of questions. Channel 4 News Fact Check attempted to probe why the numbers don’t add up, and Full Fact noted that the headline “£32.7 billion” figure for the Y network does not include items such as rolling stock.

Rolling stock issues are also pertinent to some of HS2’s under- and over-capacity problems. Inside the HS2 Ltd silo, the penny may have finally dropped in respect of the lower capacity of 200-metre trains. (Or perhaps they just read this blog.) Anyway, the January 2012 official documents included fifteen 260-metre classic compatible trainsets in the proposed fleet.

Type Quantity
Captive (GC loading gauge) 200-metre 105
Classic-compatible, 200-metre 68
Classic-compatible, 260-metre 15

In essence, leaving aside joke stations such as ‘Sheffield Outskirts’ (or whatever it would be called), one hundred and five captive trainsets would only serve four cities — London, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds. To support French factories, SNCF used to buy excess numbers of TGV trains, which languished in sidings all day. But Britain doesn’t really have a train-building industry as such, so it’s not clear what the idea behind “105 captive trains” is.

Equally baffling is the revised classic-compatible fleet, which would be dominated by sixty-eight 200-metre trains having a lower capacity than Pendolinos. The HS2 project does not seem to involve providing 400-metre long platforms on the legacy network. So, apart from conserving paths on the HS2 trunk between London and Bickenhill, there doesn’t seem to be a rationale for coupled (2 x 200-metre) classic-compatible trains.

Written by beleben

March 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm