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Posts Tagged ‘HS2

Two likely less than one

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HS2: Ministers and bosses knew railway was over budget years ago, By Tom Burridge, Transport correspondent, BBC News

On Friday [9 July 2021], Labour peer Lord Berkeley wrote to the Cabinet Secretary Simon Case, asking him to ‘consider’ whether ministers had broken the ministerial code regarding the High Speed Two railway during Theresa May’s premiership (the Daily Telegraph reported on 10 July).

The peer’s letter highlighted ‘new evidence’ showing that ministers were told in April 2019 that the line “could not be delivered to the current scope within the current schedule and budget” and cited several occasions where ‘it was made clear to government figures that the scheme would exceed its budget, including at a conference in 2015 at which officials were told costs could top £100 billion’.

The article also claimed that unredacted minutes of HS2 Ltd’s June 2021 board meeting ‘seen’ by the Telegraph stated that the ’emerging’ central case benefit-cost ratio (BCR) for the Crewe to Manchester section of HS2 is ‘likely to be below one (i.e. poor value for money)’. 

'Plurality of Britons Aware of HS2 Oppose its Development', regional support poll, R&W Strategies, 
July 9, 2021

Written by beleben

July 12, 2021 at 11:58 am

Posted in Politics

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HS2 as a 24-hour transport system

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Youtube video, 'Designing HS2 with BIM', by Andrew McNaughton

According to a building information modelling video featuring its chief engineer Andrew McNaughton, the HS2 railway is to be a ’24-hour transport system’.

But the same video says HS2 would be closed for maintenance between midnight and 05:00.

So, on that reasoning, a shop that is open to the public between 08:00 and 18:00, but cleaned and restocked overnight, is a ’24 hour retailing system’.

Written by beleben

November 15, 2015 at 5:20 pm

Posted in Andrew McNaughton

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The difference in disruption, part two

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Part one

A HS2 Ltd paper estimated 183 weekend closures of a day’s duration or longer on the existing railway would be needed to allow for construction of its London – Birmingham high speed line. That figure is likely to change, because in March 2014 the government accepted recommendations from HS2 chairman David Higgins for a more comprehensive redevelopment of Euston than the plan currently in the bill, the Guardian reported.

[HS2 plans require ‘huge number’ of weekend line closures, say campaigners, Mark Tran, The Guardian, 31 Aug 2015]

[…] The number of weekend closures comes from an HS2 Ltd information paper prepared for the hybrid bill committee, based on plans submitted to parliament in November 2013. The paper said the closures would be done in normal night-time and weekend maintenance periods so as to minimise disruption to passenger and freight services.

Construction of Britain’s second high-speed rail link will lead to the closure of several lines for up to 33 weekends and Euston station for 19 weekends, campaigners have said.

Figures from HS2 Ltd, the public body responsible for developing and promoting the plans for a new London-to-Birmingham line, show that proposed closures include those of the west coast mainline near Lichfield for 31 weekends, the Derby-to-Birmingham line for 32 weekends and 33 weekend closures at Old Oak Common affecting Crossrail and the Great Western mainline.

However, that figure seems to have changed already, because page 24 of the July 2015 Government Response to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee gave the ‘indicative number of weekend closures’ required to build HS2 phase one as 223.

So why, one might ask, is there a difference of 40 weekends between the two estimates? Could it be that the numbers were just, ahem, plucked out of the air? Has anyone actually seen a site-by-site breakdown or description of the 183 (or 223) weekends? (This blog hasn’t, and it’s not for want of asking.)

It has been said that without HS2, Euston would need to be ‘rebuilt anyway’. What has never been said, is why it would need to be ‘rebuilt anyway’.

Page 24 of the July 2015 Government's HS2 Response to the Lords Economic Affairs Committee

On 19 June 2015, WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff announced that it had been contracted to undertake an ‘early phase study’ to investigate the realignment of existing tracks around the HS2 Old Oak Common site.

“Early phase study”. In other words, there was no detailed information about the amount of classic works required to accommodate HS2 at Old Oak Common.

WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff announcement about Old Oak Common works, 19 June 2015

Written by beleben

August 31, 2015 at 10:06 pm

Posted in Politics

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Get ready to dissemble

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GBSLEP Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy coverBirmingham local enterprise partnership is seeking £3.3 billion of government “investment” to “exploit the economic opportunity offered by the planned HS2 rail link with London”, the Financial Times reported (paywall).

[Birmingham seeks £3.3bn boost to exploit HS2 rail link, John Murray Brown, FT, July 23, 2015]

The Greater Birmingham and Solihull local enterprise partnership (LEP) wants to improve transport connections, invest in supply chain companies and create or safeguard 100,000 jobs – 10 per cent of which would be for local unemployed people.

[…] The LEP’s HS2 plan, which was published on Thursday, envisages an interchange station at Solihull, accessing Birmingham airport and the National Exhibition Centre, as well as a terminus in Birmingham city centre at Curzon Street.

[…] It is seeking £2.9bn to develop Curzon Street and Solihull stations, and invest in related infrastructure. On top of this, £366m is earmarked to support business and the supply chain.

[…] The LEP says it is now engaged in an “outreach programme” in North America, Asia and Europe to explain the benefits of HS2 and persuade businesses to locate their European and international headquarters in the area, and not just move operational and production facilities.

At the time of writing, the following ‘information’ is available on the GBSLEP website.


Commissioned by GBSLEP, the Midlands HS2 Growth Strategy sets out the opportunities that the arrival of HS2 affords the region. It aims to leverage the benefits delivered by HS2 to drive local growth on a nationally-significant scale over and above the construction of HS2, through targeted packages of interventions that are tailored to the local context. It will ultimately drive job creation, increase productivity and generate net national growth, such that the investment will pay for itself over time.

The interventions – focussed on the three strategic pillars of People, Business and Place as set out in GBSLEP’s Strategy for Growth – comprise the following:

Getting our people ready, with a Skills Action Plan that will ensure that local people are inspired and skilled to take up the economic opportunities presented by HS2 and the associated infrastructure investment

Getting our businesses ready with:

a programme that will develop and support all supply chain companies locally and nationally, to capitalise on the opportunities presented by the HS2 programme

a strategy to ensure that the region maximises its appeal to prospective overseas and domestic investors, leveraging the investment in HS2 and associated infrastructure

Getting our places ready by providing:

“mission critical” infrastructure and significant public realm enhancements to maximise the potential of the station sites at Birmingham Curzon and the UK Central Interchange in Solihull creating two world class points of arrival for the Midlands

A regional connectivity package of targeted and prioritised transport schemes, which magnify and spread the benefits of HS2 across the Midlands

The Strategy will ensure that the wider region will benefit from radically improved national and international connectivity. The two HS2 stations and Birmingham Airport, with its huge potential and ability to open up access to key international markets, will drive new areas for regeneration, housing and business growth across the Midlands. The major investment in region-wide connectivity will provide access to significant employment and training opportunities for local residents, and is ultimately capable of delivering:

104,000 created and safeguarded jobs – with 10% of all jobs created for local residents who are currently unemployed

Increase the number of people qualified to NVQ Level 4 or equivalent to the national average of 36%

2,000 apprenticeships

700 business supported to take advantage of the opportunities

£14bn additional economic output

2,000,000 of the region’s population connected to HS2 by public transport

The plan to connect “2,000,000 of the region’s population to HS2 by public transport” includes spending £400 million on a shonky tramline to Bickenhill.

Written by beleben

July 24, 2015 at 11:35 am

Posted in Birmingham

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It all makes perfect senssh

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It all makes perfect senssh

According to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin, “the truth is that much of the [rail modernisation] work” (which he has just “paused”) “should have been done decades ago”.

Transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin: 'the truth is that much of the [rail modernisation] work' (which he has just 'paused') 'should have been done decades ago'

So why “pause” it, if it should have been done decades ago?

Written by beleben

June 29, 2015 at 11:39 am

Posted in Patrick McLoughlin

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Be adept at writing gibberish

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[HS2 job ad]

You’ll be adept at writing for consumer and business audiences on sensitive topics and will ideally possess a background in large infrastructure projects or the public sector is desirable.

Written by beleben

June 9, 2015 at 7:25 pm

Posted in gibberish

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The Andy Taylor approach

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At the time of writing, the Doncaster Chamber website hosts a presentation by Andy Taylor, HS2 Ltd’s Head of Public Affairs since May 2013. His LinkedIn profile states that his approach is “simply to engage in reasonable conversation”, but judging by the content of his Doncaster presentation, it might be better described as ‘mislead and obfuscate’.

[Andy Taylor, LinkedIn]

I have a strong record of leading successful campaigns and setting up new public affairs teams and functions as a senior leader within high profile organisations.

My particular skill is putting strong political analysis to practical use with effective and engaging campaigns. My approach is simply to engage in reasonable conversation, building coalitions of support and resolving barriers and opposition to meet my company’s objectives.

I am experienced and adept at communicating with different audiences through a range of channels – from community meetings to social media – postcard campaigns to briefings around the Cabinet table – debates in Westminster to mobilising grassroots supporters across the country.

I have driven and influenced major legislative change, secured overwhelming majorities, and marked shifts in business and public opinion. My work has made significant impacts on reputation and on the bottom line, and left each organisation I’ve worked for in a stronger and more engaged position.

I have a motivating leadership style, clearly focused on successful campaigns which not only satisfy short term objectives, but contribute to the wider mission and reputation of the organisation I am working for. I have the gravitas and clarity of purpose to build confidence at Board level to pursue bold and decisive strategies, and demonstrate a continuous approach to building and sustaining support, in complex, often controversial and highly accountable environments.

I have experience of building strong motivated teams, both from scratch in a new organisation, and turning around a failing function in another. From motivating experienced professionals to widen their expertise and take on responsibility to developing people very early on, I am committed to helping individuals and teams achieve great successes and build fulfilling careers.

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 01

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 02

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 03

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 04

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 05

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 06

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 07

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 08

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 09

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 10

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 11

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 12

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 13

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 14

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 15


Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 17

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 18

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 19

Andy Taylor, DCCE HS2 Presentation 20

Mr Taylor’s Doncaster presentation contradicts some of HS2 Ltd’s other, equally dubious, “information”. Compare, for example, his claim that HS2 would “Almost double the number of trains per hour on the West Coast Mainline from 16 – 30″ with Prof Andrew McNaughton’s illustration of post-HS2 service.

Written by beleben

June 3, 2015 at 8:05 am

Posted in Andy Taylor, misinformation

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Oui mais go slower

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According to Les Echos, the future ‘low cost’ TGV Ouigo high speed train service between ‘Paris’ and Aquitaine might be routed via the existing main line, rather over the high speed track (being built at a cost of several billion euro) and use Massy as its northern terminus.

As with the Paris – Lyon relation, there seems to be a need to make Ouigo inconvenient for business travel, to limit migration from regular TGV.

[La SNCF dessine les contours de sa future offre de TGV low cost Ouigo vers Bordeaux, Lionel STEINMANN, Les Echos, 14 Jan 2015]

[…] Seconde interrogation, la nature de la ligne empruntée pour relier Bordeaux. Aujourd’hui, les TGV circulent sur le réseau classique à partir de Tours, pour un temps de parcours, pour les liaisons directes, un peu supérieur à 3 heures. Mais cette ligne va être doublée à partir de 2017 par une ligne 100 % TGV, le groupe Vinci ayant remporté l’appel d’offres pour la construction et l’exploitation d’une nouvelle section TGV entre Tours et Bordeaux, qui mettra Bordeaux à 2 h 05 de Paris. En 2017, la SNCF aura donc le choix entre les deux itinéraires. Et selon plusieurs experts, elle pourrait choisir de faire circuler les TGV classiques sur la nouvelle ligne et les Ouigo sur la ligne actuelle. La SNCF récrimine en effet depuis plusieurs années sur le niveau des péages qu’elle devra acquitter à Vinci pour faire circuler ses trains. Ces péages seront déjà difficiles à supporter économiquement par les TGV classiques, assure un expert, ils sont tout bonnement inenvisageables pour les TGV low cost.

Written by beleben

April 22, 2015 at 8:38 am

Posted in Bizarre

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Künftig langsamere Züge

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'Deutsche Bahn bringt den Super-ICE an den Start', Die Welt: 18 Feb 2014On 18 February 2014 Die Welt reported on the introduction of the new generation of Velaro ICE high speed trains in Germany (Baureihe 407, maximum speed 320 km/h).

The story mentioned that the next generation of long-distance trains after the BR 407 — the ICx — would be designed only for maximum speeds of 230 to 250 km/h. For Germany’s economic geography, what mattered was high average speed, not high maximum speed, explained Deutsche Bahn chief executive Ruediger Grube.

[Deutsche Bahn bringt den Super-ICE an den Start, Nikolaus Doll, Die Welt, 18 Feb 2014]

[…] Deutschland hat im Vergleich zu Frankreich oder China relativ viele Haltepunkte auf den Fernstecken, die eng beieinander liegen. “Einen ICE 3 auf einer normalen Fernstrecke voll zu beschleunigen, lohnt sich hierzulande oft gar nicht, weil man kurz darauf schon wieder abbremsen muss”, sagt ein DB-Lokführer.

Despite the relatively small distances between Lancashire, the Midlands, and London, Britain’s HS2 railway project has been foolishly designed for speeds of 400 km/h. If built, the cost and disruption would be enormous.

Existing disused routes — the Great Central Railway and the New North Main Line — could be reactivated to provide a fast route between London and the Midlands, at a small fraction of the cost of HS2. The GC route could also function as a genuine “North – South” connector, rather than a “North to London” one.

Written by beleben

April 9, 2015 at 10:10 am

Posted in Germany, Politics

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Priorité à l’entretien du réseau

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France Inter reports French changing rail priorities, Feb 2015

Written by beleben

February 19, 2015 at 4:16 pm

Posted in High speed rail, Planning, Politics

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