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Mike Storey

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  • Location
    Charente Maritime, France
  • Interests
    BR Southern Region, 1975 - 1986. Building a model in 00 based on Queenborough, Sheppey, Kent. I also model live steam in the garden, scale 16mm/ft, 32mm gauge.

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  1. That brings back memories. When I started at Cannon Street, as announcer, there was a big hole where the VDU should have been. This VDU should have sat in splendour in the middle of our new-fangled station control panel (and which , for those unfamiliar, was meant to give us, announcer and station supervisor, a constant view on a digital map of what trains were where). It meant an awful lot of phone calls between us and the panel man, when platforms or sets were changed from the plan, which happened very often each peak, and led sometimes to some heated exchanges when we were all up against it and someone had missed something on the telex. I think it was late 77 before it was installed and working. St Johns was a problem for announcers at Cannon, Charing X, Waterloo East and London Bridge (E). When things were out of kilter, with multiple delays and cancellations, we would try to tell people their next train to each main route, but the calling pattern for St Johns (and a few others, like Newington, stations beyond Gravesend to Strood etc) could completely catch you out. I was often unaware of Special Stop Orders until the train had left (because so much else was demanding my attention). I have no doubt I got it wrong a few times......
  2. Hornby........Has anyone noticed this? http://otp.investis.com/clients/uk/Hornby/rns/regulatory-story.aspx?cid=1477&newsid=1246408 The share price dropped slightly on issue (9th April), but has been steadily climbing since March to knock on 40p now, roughly double its price of about a year ago (and market cap to £49m+). Whilst we know the share price is not such an important feature of a Hornby health check these days (only 50 shares traded most recently but it moved the price a whole penny), it does at least suggest that there is some confidence out there (or internally?). As the brief statement does not say a great deal (full report to be issued in June), one wonders what is driving this.
  3. Laudable, but I doubt there would be sufficient capacity in the UK design and construction industry to undertake a scheme on that scale, all at the same time. Construction is already reporting severe shortages of certain, often "basic", skills in their attempts at recruitment, let alone for the additional specialist skills that railway projects need.
  4. I believe, but it is just my opinion, that you are misreading the article. As I read it, they are suggesting the main benefit to the North only comes when the northern section is completed, along with the southern section, but not alone, as you imply. That is not to say there is no benefit if just the Phase 1 and Phase 2a are built. But it would appear, from HS2's and DfT's proffered explanations, that the benefits would be lessened, and, in strictly BC terms, potentially arguable, if not downright negative. Which then poses the logicality of going ahead with one ("because so much has already been committed") but not the other. Truly the argument of a lunatic, or ambitious MP. But why build it in that order? Primarily because: a) no-one could agree what it (Phase 2b) should be (and to some extent, that still appears to be the case) and b) the longest lead times were thought to be in the London area, with tunnelling, property purchase and compensation and the various complications with the HS1-HS2 link and west London issues. It turns out that (b) was wide of the mark - the North and Midlands have turned out to be far more of a conundrum than Camden - and that (a) was correct. It is entirely probable that the shenanigans over the Northern section, if proposed as the initiation stage, would have more readily collapsed the entire project, and probably already. Phase 2b makes little sense without Phase 1 and 2a. Indeed, various politicos in Scotland have continued to suggest that a Phase 3 Scotland link should have been started at the same time (funding notwithstanding), without any agreement (that I know of) about where that link should go. So the decision to undertake the project in this order, seems entirely vindicated.
  5. Entirely agree, but that point has been made on here several times over, to a supposedly empathetic audience, but, because it does not fit the ambitions of a certain few, it is lost in the ever-moving reasons for not doing it at all. Absolute total cost will be lost in the mists of time, once the benefits (to whatever degree they turn out) arise. We have seen that with HS1, against which much the same resistance was energised, but few could imagine life without HS1 in Kent now, let alone when travelling between London and Paris/Brussels. But even that is dismissed as "special" and cannot be included in any argument, because it did not go through the Chilterns, or did not involve someone's poor experiences of rail services elsewhere, or does not somehow help a few people in Dawlish. The creation of the National Infrastructure Commission, in 2015, supported by all parties, was supposed to allow apolitical decision making about future priorities, by objective assessment of needs v capability v recommended solutions, to inform strategy. It has not. Strategy is an alien form to British politics, and sways with the Daily Mail and similar. Tactics are everything. To keep my job / my seat / my sinecure. We have what we have, and bloke-down-the-pub knows more than any expert, 'cos they always get it wrong, innit? Lord Elpus has since resigned from the NIC. I don't blame him. Obviously, according to Trump-like logic, he was clearly a crook and a traitor. Bigly.
  6. Of course it won't be to you, as you clearly supported the taxpayer billions spent already on the M56/M6/M60 and to an extent M62, airport links. In fact, MAG, which runs Manchester, Stansted and East Midlands airports, is majority owned, as a stand-alone PLC, by a consortium of NW Local Authorities, and has long advocated public transport improvements to each, into which it has been prepared to invest. Just below 20% of its Manchester business is domestic journeys, which stand to be reduced far further by HS2, as has happened at Leeds/Bradford following the ECML improvements of the last 30 years. So it is a bit suicidal to support HS2 unless you have an ethical business plan (and a hope to increase your international business of course, to the detriment of London). Unlike the privately owned, Spanish-owned Heathrow, which has been forced to concede partial control of its over-priced public transport links, for the greater good. But it will still benefit from HS2 towards compliance with the planning conditions over the extra runway. So, an airport supporting public transport improvements when it does not really have to, deserves your ire, far more than one that really needs to, but is very reluctant about it. Bummer. Surely another quintuple-laned motorway would be far superior? I really don't get where you are coming from. I would guess, not many others will either (bar one, with a crimson hue, of course).
  7. But no. The Kirkley Goods branch in Lowestoft (Lowestoft South to give it its correct terminology of the time - I was born about 500 yards from it) was not exactly bucolic at its business end, but served a surprisingly wide variety of customers. It lasted as long as it did, largely due to a manufacturer of double glazing units, bizarrely. Whilst track plans are available from the GE Society, there are few photos available (and I have searched for a long time), but this gives a flavour: https://www.eastanglianrailwayarchive.co.uk/Railways/Ipswich-to-Lowestoft/i-W3kLtQt Once into Kirkley, it was much industrial and separated into several spurs for individual companies.
  8. This is interesting. Even the people who own and run Manchester Airport are coming out strongly for HS2. https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2019/apr/20/tories-conservatives-hs2-party-leadership-hopefuls-warned Naturally, because this is in the Grauniad, it must be complete, left wing rubbish. Except that there are many far left-wingers who would also cancel HS2 without a second thought (preferring the myth of improving what we have). Whatever the truth of the warnings, there is clearly a greater realisation of the benefits of HS2 to the Midlands and the North, by people living and working there, than is oft cited by those living further south, who think they know better.
  9. I very much hope it does encourage increased use of rail, both on HS2 itself, and on the three key routes for which it will release extra capacity for both passengers and freight. The need to accelerate modal shift, for both environmental and road congestion issues, is clear. 80% of the English population lives within a reasonable distance of a railway station. (Far less true of Wales and Scotland of course, but then new rail solutions are not often appropriate for low density areas.) But many of those people choose to drive because of either cost or because the current rail offer is simply not good enough for them (whether it be service levels or high overcrowding or reliability). There needs to be a step change if forward demand forecasts for medium to long distance travel demand are anywhere near accurate. The difference between rail and road expansion, which you insist on ignoring, is that road induces far greater numbers, far faster than the extra capacity is capable, and also shifts congestion elsewhere. Rail expansion tends to take far longer to reach this state, for a number of demand behaviour patterns, well documented over the past 50 years. Bus solutions have their place, but are often sub-optimal, as the Cambridge Busway has already demonstrated. But much more needs to be done with supporting and re-vitalising local bus services, since their demise to the free market. Despite the increased incidence of home-working and reduction in five-day-week commuting, all the evidence shows that increased economic activity encourages further travel. Either you tarmac over much of the UK, or you find a better solution. HS2 is not the only answer, but it is an important contribution.
  10. Especially if Liz Truss is made the compromise replacement for Mrs May.
  11. The Government claims (2017): https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/transport-investment-strategy Much of this is certainly not happening outside the Strategic Road Network. Allocation of responsibility of A-roads to local authorities has been accompanied by an overall reduction in funding to those same authorities, naturally, which is also meant to repair and maintain all roads in their area. The proposed extra money, a transfer of part of the VED income, recently announced, (not yet fully allocated anyway) to be made available to them, only replaces about 25% of that loss (according to the NALC and LGA). Stopping HS2 will not make any of your wish list happen. It will merely allow the Treasury to balance their books a bit better and enable further tax cuts for the next election.
  12. https://bettertransport.org.uk/roads-nowhere/induced-traffic
  13. I am not sure I could have been clearer in stating the difference in causation between the historic growth of road traffic and the growth of rail passenger numbers, and the relevance of extra capacity provided to one and not to the other. These are not my "views". This is data, indisputably supported by the annual publication of Transport Statistics for Great Britain, previously published by the TRRL, and now by the ONS, and a whole series of independent and governmental/ngo studies on future transport options, which draw the same conclusions. If you choose to ignore the key sentence, summarised as - rail growth has doubled without significant extra capacity - which rather suggests you are right about me not realising the application of the same "thinking" to railways: I did not realise that, as it is almost completely untrue, to date in the UK. But that won't matter to you, will it? I do sometimes enjoy your interventions, but I have lost interest now.
  14. That was the thinking of the 1960's to 1980's, and led to massive new road networks. It simply proved that more roads means more traffic, and solved little. Capacity drove demand. Rail demand has risen exponentially with only marginal increases in capacity in the last 30 years, so your comparison is regrettably, completely flawed.
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