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The tip of a massive iceberg

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South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive is spending £235,000 on an assessment of the strengths of rival Meadowhall and city centre options for a proposed Sheffield HS2 station (The Star reported).

Sheffield Victoria HS2 station diagram published in 2014

Sheffield Victoria HS2 station diagram published in 2014

[“Transport bosses spending £235,000 on Sheffield HS2 study”, Chris Burn, Sheffield Star, 5 Jan 2015]

[…] The work is being carried out by consulting engineers Pell Frischmann and is due to be completed by March.

A further £47,000 is being spent by SYPTE on ‘media and engagement work’ for HS2 by IPB Communications.

Details have been revealed in a report to Sheffield City Region Combined Authority, which represents the area’s local councils.

It comes just a few days after plans to make £7.6m cuts were unveiled by SYPTE. Its proposals could see up to 50 jobs lost and information centres closed.
[…]
Peter Howarth, from the Killamarsh and Renishaw HS2 Action Group, said: “It is wrong we are losing money on the infrastructure we have to do this. I find it absolutely preposterous. I think there will be more cuts to pay for HS2. This is the tip of a massive iceberg.”

IPB Communications celebrates being hired to do PR for South Yorkshire PTE

IPB Communications celebrates being hired to do PR for South Yorkshire PTE

Written by beleben

January 5, 2015 at 11:47 am

Carry on reannouncing

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On 17 May 2012, the BBC reported that the government had confirmed tram-trains which run on street tracks and railway lines are to be piloted in South Yorkshire, in a scheme worth £58m.

Starting in 2015, the newly-built tram-trains will run on local tram routes and Network Rail lines between Sheffield, Meadowhall and Rotherham.

On 19 June 2013 Railnews reported that “The first tram-train service in the UK is being given the go-ahead by transport minister Norman Baker today”.

The service, costing around £60 million, will run from early 2016 between Rotherham Parkgate and Sheffield city centre, using both the existing tramway and the national rail network.

Three new tram-trains are being built by Vossloh. They are dual voltage, which the DfT said makes them ‘future proofed to cater for any subsequent electrification of the Midland Main Line by being capable of operating at both light and heavy rail operating voltage‘.

Network Rail will build a new junction between the light rail and heavy rail lines near Meadowhall South.

So, what’s changed between the two announcements? Very little, apparently, apart from the costs. The 2012 BBC report said that seven tram-trains would be procured, but the 2013 Railnews one says the number is three.

It seems that new rail schemes have to pass some sort of minimum-level-of-absurdity test, before getting Norman Baker’s approval. And the tram-train scheme is no exception. The plan is to electrify the railway from Meadowhall to Rotherham Central at 750 volts dc, meaning that future operation of electric railfreight on the route would be impossible. So, what’s the point of buying dual voltage trams?

Written by beleben

June 19, 2013 at 11:48 am

Posted in Freight, Politics

Tagged with ,

HS2 and South Yorkshire, part five

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Part four | Part three

HS2 Ltd, South Yorkshire factsheet, showing Midland station

HS2 Ltd has produced a South Yorkshire ‘factsheet‘, showing Sheffield Midland station (although the company’s high speed trains would not stop there).

HS2 will widen opportunities for millions of people linking our big cities with London and with each other. It will re-write journey times between Britain’s major cities creating a high speed line that will integrate the economies of Birmingham, East Midlands, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds and many more as never efore as well as linking them with London, the South East and Europe.

Regular, reliable services
==========================
Projected high speed services from Sheffield Midland in 2033:
79 mins to London compared with 2hr 05 mins today – three trains per hour
27 mins to Leeds compared with 41 mins today – five trains per hour
48 mins to Birmingham compared with 1hr 11 mins today – three trains per hour

Journey times from existing stations such as Sheffield Midland (above) will be reduced as a result of linking to HS2 at the new high speed rail station at Meadowhall. Projected journey times from the new station, for which no suitable comparisons exist, are given below.

Journey times From
Sheffield Meadowhall
Destination Current time (mins) HS2 time (mins)
London n/a 69
Birmingham n/a 38
Nottingham Midland n/a 34
Leeds n/a 17
York n/a 23
Newcastle n/a 87
The current projected journey time from Sheffield to Newcastle is 1 hr 55 minutes. HS2 will reduce this journey times to 1 hr 27 minutes, a saving of 28 minutes. Other intermediate destinations on the proposed service specification
including but not limited to Darlington and Durham would experience similar journey time reductions

According to HS2’s January 2013 service pattern, there would be two trains per hour to London, not three as claimed in the factsheet. Local trains between Sheffield Midland and Meadowhall take 5 or 6 minutes, but passengers tend to prefer no-change journeys, so from Sheffield Midland, a more realistic HS2 connection weighting might be around 17 to 22 minutes.

HS2 Ltd Meadowhall area map

The Department for Transport has revealed councils and businesses ‘likely to benefit’ from HS2 ‘could be expected to make a financial contribution’, and Sheffield is likely to be asked to shell out from a £500 million fund set aside for projects around the city.

[‘Battle over Sheffield HS2 station costs’, Sheffield Star, 8 February 2013]

Coun Leigh Bramall, Sheffield Council cabinet member responsible for transport, said: “We met with the Transport Secretary two weeks ago and were never told we would be expected to make a contribution.

“Discussions are taking place between Sheffield and the other councils in the city region about where to spend the infrastructure fund, but we always understood links to the new high speed station at Meadowhall would be Government funded.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “Any third party contributions will depend on local circumstances and could take a variety of forms.

Written by beleben

February 9, 2013 at 12:28 pm

Posted in HS2, Planning, Politics

Tagged with ,

HS2 and South Yorkshire, part four

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South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) has welcomed the Department for Transport’s (DfT) announcement for the new High Speed Rail (HSR) network to serve the Sheffield City Region.

SYPTE welcomes High Speed Rail announcement
28 January 2013

DfT confirmed that a station will be built just off the M1 motorway (junction 34), near Meadowhall, as part of the second phase of HSR. Services to the Sheffield City Region (SCR) are due to commence in 2033, but the hard work begins now to make sure that everything is up and ready.

The first and second phases connect the SCR to London, Birmingham and the West Midlands, the East Midlands, and Leeds. Sheffield City Region covers South Yorkshire and parts of north Derbyshire and north Nottinghamshire, including Worksop, Chesterfield and Retford.

The city region’s high speed station will bring significant benefits to the region’s economy. Research carried out on behalf of SYPTE and Metro (West Yorkshire PTE) showed that High Speed Rail services in Yorkshire would generate an estimated £2.3 billion of local economic benefits on top of the predicted £60 billion of national transport benefits.

By linking the Leeds City Region, the Sheffield City Region and the East Midlands, HSR would connect an area of 6.7 million people and 3 million jobs.

Journeys from Sheffield to London will also be reduced from 2hrs 7mins to 1hr 15mins.

Whilst quicker journey times will bring the capital and the Midlands nearer, opening up new markets and business and job opportunities, the capacity on existing rail lines that HSR will free up is also hugely important to accommodate the growing rail demand in the Sheffield City Region.

Although it will be some time before HSR services begin operations to Sheffield City Region, the benefits could be felt well before then as businesses grow and relocate to station locations along the route.

The M1 location is expected to give a huge boost to the surrounding area, as well as across wider South Yorkshire.

Cllr Mick Jameson, Chair of South Yorkshire Integrated Transport Authority said: “This announcement is the result of a lot of hard work by people across the Sheffield City Region and beyond and is hugely important for our future economic competitiveness.

“The M1 location is already served by bus, Supertram and local rail services. It will help to spread the benefits of HSR throughout the region, using the transport links which have ready access to much of South Yorkshire. It will offer much improved connections to London and the other cities in the Midlands and North. It will also open up many new possibilities for new services to places not currently served when capacity is freed up on the existing network.”

The Leeds branch of the HS2 Y network concept has always included a station in South Yorkshire, but politicians and local government officers had no influence on where it would be. It was a topic hardly discussed at the Integrated Transport Authority, so Mr Jameson’s claim that the announcement “is the result of a lot of hard work by people across the Sheffield City Region and beyond” is nonsense.

The claims that Meadowhall HS2 would offer “much improved connections” to London and other cities, and open up “many new possibilities when capacity is freed up” are also detached from reality. There is no evidence of pressing capacity shortage in South Yorkshire, and passenger rail usage there is worryingly low. For long distance journeys, experience shows that business and leisure passengers prefer direct, no-change rail services, which HS2 Meadowhall could not offer.

HS2 Ltd’s 28 January 2013 proposed service pattern would only directly connect Meadowhall to five towns in the North (Leeds, York, Darlington, Durham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne), and one in the Midlands (Birmingham). All of those destinations are currently served by intercity trains from Sheffield Midland.

It’s likely that Meadowhall HS2 depresses the benefit-cost ratio of the Leeds leg of the Y network concept. The station would be bad for the Sheffield economy, and irrelevant for most travel from the eastern part of South Yorkshire (Doncaster area).

Written by beleben

January 29, 2013 at 2:42 pm

HS2 and South Yorkshire, part three

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Part one | Part two

South Yorkshire current rail stations, showing population by borough

HS2 stations somewhere in the East Midlands and Sheffield areas are part of the Y network favoured by Britain’s coalition government. But should the city of Sheffield

(a) get a high speed rail station in the city centre

(b) get a high speed rail station, but not in the city centre (to reduce disruption and construction costs, etc)

(c) not have a high speed station at all?

Apparently — according to Network Rail — the answer is (c). In 2009, Iain Coucher, then chief executive of the company, was reported as saying that, “experience around the world is that you should put at least 100 miles [~160 km] between stations”.

Sheffield is only about 38 miles (61 km) from Leeds, so a Hallamshire station on the proposed Y network would fall well short of the minimum spacing mentioned by Mr Coucher.

According to Neil Chadwick, South Yorkshire PTE’s Acting Director of Strategy, HS2 would free up capacity in the county for other services, and “Importantly for Doncaster in particular, released capacity will help support growth in rail freight”.

However, on the evidence available, rail capacity utilisation in South Yorkshire is quite low overall. The HS2 station in South Yorkshire is unlikely to be of much benefit to people in the east of the county. In convenience terms, a direct journey from Doncaster to Kings Cross or Leeds would suit them much better.

The county of South Yorkshire, showing railway lines

HS2 is about speed, not capacity or connectivity. As Sir David Rowlands (former Non-Executive Chairman of HS2 Ltd) stated in 2009, a “medium-speed network” wouldn’t fulfil what HS2 is “set out to do”.

Written by beleben

January 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm

HS2 and South Yorkshire, part two

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Part one

David Brown, of South Yorkshire PTE, speaking on high speed rail at the ITA meeting, 3 Jan 2013

Devolution of local rail franchising was one of the first topics discussed at the 3 January 2013 meeting of South Yorkshire’s Integrated Transport Authority. South Yorkshire is one of several English provincial transport authorities that have expressed an interest in taking control of running passenger trains, but it is not clear exactly how the concept could be successfully implemented. Use of railways for local journeys is extremely low in the Sheffield area, but it is unlikely that the South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive (SYPTE) has the savoir faire or savoir commercialiser to bring about improvements.

Neil Chadwick of SYPTE speaking at SYITA meeting, 3 Jan 2013

The meeting provided further evidence that HS2 is pretty much a localism-free scheme. Although South Yorkshire’s Authority and Executive are interested in local control of passenger rail, they do not seem — apart from councillor Richard Russell — much bothered about where a high speed rail station should be built in the county. In response to questioning from Mr Russell, PTE chief executive David Brown told councillors that the decision on the siting of a HS2 station was not in their hands.

The shape of the county’s future local transport planning, depends on where HS2 Ltd tells South Yorkshire ITA where ‘their’ station will be. Neil Chadwick, PTE Acting Director of Strategy, seemed to have no opinion on the siting issue, but claimed that there would be important economic development and released-capacity benefits from a high speed station (without explaining what form the benefits would take).

Written by beleben

January 3, 2013 at 12:55 pm

HS2 and South Yorkshire

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South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive report on high speed rail, dated 3 Jan 2013

The South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has produced a briefing paper on high speed rail, dated 3 January 2013, for the Integrated Transport Authority.

[text of briefing paper]

SOUTH YORKSHIRE ITEGRATED TRANSPORT AUTHORITY [sic]
3 JANUARY 2013

REPORT OF THE PASSENGER TRANSPORT EXECUTIVE
HIGH SPEED RAIL

1 PURPOSE OF THE REPORT
Before the ITA’s next meeting in February it is anticipated that the Secretary of State for Transport will make an announcement on the route for the national high speed rail network north of Birmingham as well as the location of high speed rail stations on that route. This paper is to brief ITA members on the anticipated shape and form of that announcement and also to look ahead to activity post announcement.

2 RECOMMENDATIONS
2.1 That the ITA:

• Reiterates its support for a national high speed rail network and for there to be a station on that network which serves the Sheffield City Region

• Notes the contents of this paper.

3 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
3.1 The Coalition Agreement committed the Government to develop a national high speed rail network. Subsequently, the Government set out its intention to construct the ‘Y-shaped’ network first identified by the preceding Labour Government. This network would link London to Birmingham with a connection to the West Coast Main Line as a first phase with a second phase resulting in dedicated high speed lines north of Birmingham on the east and west of the Pennines. The line on the east side of the Pennines would have stations in the East Midlands, South Yorkshire and Leeds, as well as a link to the East Coast Main Line to allow through running to the North East and potentially Scotland.

3.2 It is the Government’s intention that the first phase of the national network will be operational by 2026. This will provide services to Birmingham with through running via WCML to Manchester, Liverpool and potentially Scotland via Preston and Carlisle. The first phase would also offer a link to HS1 for potential access to Europe via the Channel Tunnel.

3.3 The second phase, which would offer high speed services between London, the West and East Midlands, South and West Yorkshire. It is planned that the second phase will be operational in 2032/33. The second phase will also offer a direct link to Heathrow Airport.

3.4 High speed rail will bring substantial economic benefits to South Yorkshire and the wider Sheffield City Region. These will come about because the faster journey times that high speed rail will deliver will make businesses in South Yorkshire more competitive and make the sub-region a more attractive location for existing local businesses to grow, and for new businesses to form and for existing businesses to relocate to.

3.5 Significantly, high speed rail will also provide substantial new rail capacity. As well as allowing the future growth in the use of rail that economic growth will both create and require, transfer of journeys from the ‘classic’ rail network to high speed rail will also release capacity which can then be used for new intra and inter regional passenger services and for freight. This will generate further economic benefits.

3.6 For these reasons, the ITA has expressed strong support for South Yorkshire to be on the national high speed rail network and to be served directly by a station.

3.7 Already the Government has published its preferred route for the first phase of the national network. First an “initial preference” was published – this was done in March 2010 by the previous Government. Then in February 2011 a public consultation was initiated. Six months were allowed for responses and the Government then published its formal response to the consultation in January 2012. Since then work has been undertaken progressing work needed to support the Hybrid Bill which will be used to secure all the necessary powers and consents to construct and operate the first phase of the network.

3.8 In parallel work has been undertaken by HS2 Ltd to identify route and station options for the network north of Birmingham. HS2 Ltd is the Government-owned company established to develop the national high speed rail network.

3.9 In his 5th December Autumn Statement, the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed that the Secretary of State for Transport would make an announcement on the “initial preference” for the network north of Birmingham early in the New Year. It has been indicated that it is intended that this announcement will take place before the end of January and will be most likely in the latter half of the month.

3.10 Following the precedent set by the March 2010 publication of the initial preference for the first phase route, it is anticipated that the forthcoming announcement will comprise:

• A Command Paper which will be presented to Parliament and will set out the Government’s position on the second phase of the network.

• Full details of the advice that HS2 Ltd has presented to Government.

• Other evidence that has been considered by the Government (for example, technical work by councils/PTEs along the potential line of route).

• Details of an Extraordinary Hardship Scheme – this is a mechanism for any property owners who may be immediately blighted by the announcement to secure compensation.

• A timeline for further work leading to a Hybrid Bill for the second phase being placed before Parliament. This will also set out when the Government intends to consult formally on its second phase proposals.

3.11 On this basis, it is anticipated that the announcement will identify the Government’s initial preference for a station location in South Yorkshire. It has been reported in the press that the preferred station location will be at one of two locations: either in city centre Sheffield or in the Lower Don Valley.

3.12 Whichever station location is chosen, a high speed rail station serving South Yorkshire will bring once in a generation transformative economic benefits to the city region. The better connectivity that high speed rail will bring will lead to more jobs and to existing jobs being more productive and so better paid. The better connectivity will also enhance quality of life, which in turn will make South Yorkshire a more attractive place to live and work.

3.13 Realising the full benefits of high speed rail will require a connectivity package that provides road and public transport access from across South Yorkshire. For public transport this will require consideration of how the station is served by Supertram and tram-train, which with the current network and soon to be implemented tram-train extension will serve Sheffield and Rotherham. Rail access to Barnsley and Doncaster will be key consideration and bus/BRT has a potentially important role to play. Already as part of the on-going SCRIF work, how schemes can support access to high speed rail is one of the criteria being considered.

3.14 For benefits to be maximised best use will also have to be made of released capacity on the classic network. Introducing high speed rail creates the opportunity use this released capacity to enhance Doncaster’s rail connections, not just to London but other cities across the country. Importantly for Doncaster in particular, released capacity will help support growth in rail freight. From a City Region perspective, consideration will also need to be given to connectivity from Retford and Chesterfield.

3.15 For South Yorkshire to realise these benefits to the full it will therefore be incumbent on SYPTE and its district partners to work with HS2 Ltd and the Government to secure a scheme which maximises the benefits to South Yorkshire and the Sheffield City Region, as well as work so that residents and businesses across South Yorkshire fully understand the benefits that high speed rail will bring and so are in a position to engage with the planned public consultation in an informed way.

3.16 To deliver these twin goals a work programme is being developed that will comprise:

• Technical work to support engagement with HS2 Ltd and DfT. This work is likely to include (but not necessarily be limited to):

o Analysis of the economic case

o South Yorkshire connectivity of the station location

o How to maximise economic opportunities in the immediate vicinity of the high speed rail station

o How released capacity should be used

• Communications with businesses, the public, elected members, MPs etc. to ensure that the economic benefits of high speed rail to South Yorkshire and the wider Sheffield City Region are appreciated and understood.

3.17 These two work areas are likely to require targeted specialist advice, production of communications material and collateral, as well as staff resource. While details of the future work required are still being developed (and are unlikely to be confirmed until after the Secretary of State’s announcement), what is clear thus far is that while SYPTE and the districts together have some revenue funded budget and staff resources to meet the tasks likely to be needed, this will not be sufficient to do all the work that it would be desirable to undertake.

Reducing the scope of work would increase the risk that either a sub-optimal high speed rail solution is progressed and/or stakeholders are not fully aware of the benefits that high speed rail will bring and so the public consultation does not secure the support that high speed rail warrants.

3.18 Given that the work is to secure a significant capital investment for South Yorkshire, discussions have been initiated on the potential use of county-wide LTP monies to supplement the revenue-funded resources that are currently available. Fuller details of proposals to use county-wide funding will be brought to the ITA’s February meeting.

4 IMPLICATIONS
4.1 Financial
None as an immediate result of this report. Immediate post announcement activity this financial year will be provided for using established budgets. As noted in the paper, further budget will be required for the full range of desirable activities in the next financial year and reports on this will be brought to the ITA in due course.

4.2 Legal and Freedom of Information Act
This report does not contain any information which is exempt under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.

4.3 Crime and Disorder
None as a direct result of this report.

4.4 Diversity
None as a direct result of this report.

4.5 Risk
None as a result of this report. Not securing high speed rail because a national high speed rail network is not implemented as planned will be a significant risk to the future rate and scale of economic development in South Yorkshire. One reason that a national network is not implemented would be securing insufficient support through the phase 2 consultation exercise. If a national high speed rail network is constructed, but there is no station within South Yorkshire or that the implemented solution is sub-optimal, then South Yorkshire comparative competitive position will suffer. Mitigating these long term risks is a principal focus of activities planned for the next financial year.

Officer Responsible: Neil Chadwick, Acting Director of Strategy
Telephone: 0114 221 1312

It’s not clear whether South Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive has a view on where a South Yorkshire station ‘should’ be located. If Mr Chadwick has produced evidence that high speed rail investment creates better connectivity, or raises regional economic performance, compared to alternative investments, it’s nowhere to be found on the South Yorkshire PTE website.

The briefing paper also mentioned “released capacity”, without explaining what the present capacity utilisation is, or what capacity would be released by HS2 in South Yorkshire.

Written by beleben

January 2, 2013 at 1:41 pm