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phil-b259

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  1. While I competently agree with you, most of the UK population and the media do not! The days of politicians having the luxury of saying 'trust us it will all work out well in the end are LONG gone. Politics have become ever more focused on the short term as a result - hence this fixation on Birmingham (the first phase to be completed) as far as HS2 goes rather than the full project when discussing its worth. Look do you want HS2 or not? Its pretty obvious that a large section of the electorate want the thing scrapped (for a host of different reasons) and unless costs can be trimmed then they may well get their way! A 186mph / 200mph HS2 is vastly better than nothing - or a HS2 that only goes as far as Litchfield. As someone once said we have to deal with the world as it is - NOT as we want it to be. With respect to HS2 that means trying to find ways of demonstrating we have listened to the critics and are willing to try and take on board some of their criticisms without ruining HS2 in the process. A modest reduction in speed is a small price to pay if it keeps HS2 alive.
  2. Firstly, HS2 doesn't go to Scotland! Yes the trains may do so via the links to the classic rail network near Warrington and York but in terms of the actual new build networkHS2 itself doesn't. Secondly, it has long been proved that the sort of distances where High Speed rail is best poised to capture a large chunk of the travel is those routes which the train can do in 3hrs or less. In UK terms that means the likes of Manchester, Leeds and Newcastle to London. One of the key drivers for HS2 is that Virgin have secured something like 70% of the London to Manchester journeys - but at the expense of using up every possible train path on the existing WCML. There is scope to increase this further if additional infrastructure is provided. Trains to Scotland by contrast have not increased patronage by nearly as much in the same period - because flying is always significantly quicker. Thus those travelling by train from London north of Lancaster tend to be those for whom time is not a pressing concern. Competition on the London to Scotland route is not the car - its the plane and even with HS2 it will still be significantly quicker to fly. This means that the BCR for HS2 from a London to Scotland angle is poor (it won't beat the plane) - just as the BCR for London to Birmingham ONLY is also poor - though in that case its because the time savings are not worth the high infrastructure costs associated with very high speeds. By contrast the when it comes to journeys from Manchester and Leeds to London, the BCR looks quite good - the time savings are actually useful and the train will definatly be quicker than the plane. All this rather illustrates how HS2 is a PACKAGE of measures and reliance on any one particular aspect (e.g. a very high speed will allow much faster journeys to Scotland) is flawed. Yes faster Scottish trains will be welcomed - and will no doubt increase rail use slightly, but such benefits are relatively small compared to those which accrue to passengers from Manchester, etc ( or even Birmingham when we talk of train capacity as in time a 400m double decked train will give far more seats thann any amount of tinkering with the classic network).
  3. As I understand it, under normal conditions there was no way the LSL suspension would come into contact with the 3rd rail. Rather it is the case that IF one or both of the airbag suspensions became defective then there was a possibility - (please note - by no mens a certainty) that the suspension components might come into contact with the 3rd rail.
  4. Unlikely at any reasonable cost due to the watercourses and low lying nature of the area. To be clear we are not talking about a long narrow box here (as per the HS1 station) - an 18 platform station capable of taking 400m trains is going to be massive. That in itself would also cause problems in that its not as if you could temporarily take just a small section of the park - you would pretty much close the whole thing while construction was underway - and that park is a very well used + appreciated local amenity these days. Protests would be immense.... So, Yes even though it could be done - it would make the cost of Euston look like chicken feed and the protests over that more like a minor disagreement amongst friends.
  5. Then what do you call it? The railways the French built for their Train à Grande Vitesse, (whic translates literally as high-speed train) to use were unsurprisingly called "Ligne à Grande Vitesse" which translates precisely as "high-speed line" They have no problems using that for each subsequent build - e.g. LGV Nord, LGV Rhin-Rhône, LGV Est. HS2 is a prefectly reasonable description - as would be HS3, HS4, etc as it accurately describes what will physically be built. The ONLY reason HS as a name has become so polarised is the politicians kept banging on about the speed angle when the project was announced rather than the capacity angle which is the REAL reason for the whole thing being needed.
  6. Having a single terminal at Old Oak is fine if everything works - but your logic falls apart the moment you have problems. For example the only decent onward connection is Crossrail - so what do you do if a fire alarm at Paddington causes Crossrail to be suspended? - you are left with large numbers of people with no way of getting into London proper. Then what if there is an emergency at Old Oak - a bomb scare say. Your HS2 trains in the Chilterns face having to take people all the way back to Birmingham rather than dropping them off in London someplace. Having Old Oak in addition to Euston thus provides flexibility to cope with the above - much like Stratford does for South Eastern services to St Pancras and Ebsfleet does for Eurostar (though the latter does have poor onward connections) More broadly to make Old Oak large enough to terminate everything (18 - 20 platforms) you need to takle in lots more land. Yes some of that would be the Crossrail depot (which would need replicating somewhere else in London - and the whole reason it was put at Old Oak was there wasn't anywhere else it could be built without mass property demolition and / or the removal of parks / open space in otherwise built up urban areas. Finally you mention Stratford - have you even looked at satellite imaginary of the place in the last decade before making your suggestion? Back in the 1990s when the area was a sprawling industrial area then yes, it could have easily hosted some sort of high speed terminal. Since then however we have seen the site extensively redeveloped for the 2012 Olympics and it is now covered by a well used park, lots of housing and a big shopping centre. Public opposition to removing ANY of those things - particularly the park makes it a complete non starter!
  7. Which will do NOTHING to provide any help to the place in greatest need capacity wise when looked at nationally! Yes the rail network in the north has issues that need solving and HS2 cash would help enormously with that - but all that does is reinforce the north south divide because you end up with two good areas rail wise linked by very bad ones! From an economic perspective you want to bringing areas closer together not reinforcing separation. What you are proposing is the equivalent of widening / SMARTifying every single motorway round Manchester but leave the M6 as a overcrowded 3 lane motorway heading south. Yes in such a situation you can proudly pat yourself on the back and say the North West has had a wonderful transport boast - but that rather ignores the fact that economic activity is still suppressed because its so difficult to travel south.
  8. That opposition would still be there! Even if you ignored Birmingham and ran up between the MML and ECML the first place you would put a station would be Leicester! The whole point of any high speed line is it is primarily there for LONG DISTANCE travel. Filling it up with stations to pacify short / medium distance travel severely compromises the capacity available for said long distance trains. where would you put the London terminal? Given there are not any large plots of land available around the LU circle line for such a station you would need to spend many, many times more than that being spent at Euston to provide facilities. Plonking a terminal in the suburbs is deeply unattractive for users - and its foolish to not have alternative options available in case a station has to close due to an emergency or if one of your onward distribution nodes is suspended. Euston also makes sense in that the initial phase will only serve WCML destinations - all of whose trains currently terminate at, er Euston! This means regular passengers will not suddenly be dumped in another bit of London less convenient for them (as is the initial criticism of HS1 going to St Pancras when most SE folk had jibs within easy reach of the traditional SR London terminals).
  9. This is classic sticking your head in the sand mentality. OK so you think HS2 is a waste of money - please tell me how you are going to significantly increase rail capacity on the WCML, MML and to a limited extent the XC networks without spending any money then? HS2 is NOT some sort of vanity project - it arises from the need for more capacity along said corridors and the recognition that its cheaper (not to mention less disruptive to rail users) to build a brand new railway to provide said capacity than spend years upgrading existing routes. There are plenty of valid criticisms that can be made of HS2 - but pretending that the project is not needed at all in some shape or form is quite simply delusional. The only way that would ever be true is if you could come up with some sort of radical tax / economic policy which actively penalised travel without also completely ruining the economy of the UK.
  10. When first built UK motorways had no speed limit - just as many German autobahns are today. During the 1970s oil criss speed limits were applied to try and get motorists to conserve fuel. After the crisis was over it was decided that keeping a slightly higher limit was desirable for all the reasons you say. The point is laws of physics relating to aerodynamic forces do not scale linearly with speed. At lower speeds the extra energy required to give each mph of extra speed is very low - however you get to a point where the energy increase starts to go up exponentially (even with the most wonderfully streamlined front end. This is specifically why the French have made it very clear that they will NOT timetable any of their TGV services to travel faster than 186mph - the economics simply don't stack up when the extra energy requirements are factored in to go faster. The only exception to this is where service disruption means drivers need to make up time - hence the actually line speed is 200mph for the most recent builds. Given the distances between UK cities are generally shorter than those served by the French LGV network there is no need for HS2 to go faster than the established European norms which have been found to be a good compromise between energy usage and travel time.
  11. You do have to be careful of being so dismissive of his point on energy use. While steel on steel may well be a low friction setup - friction is still present and trains will always require a certain amount of power to be consumed to overcome it on level track - not to mention when going uphill. The faster the maintained speed the greater the energy due to air resistance...... .... with aerodynamics, it can be proved that at speeds grater than 200mph the energy required to go an extra 1mph increase exponentially (even with ponty nosecones) . Similarly even ‘coasting’ at 250mph will require disproportionately more energy to maintain that speed than at 200mph. That’s before you start getting into the non-power related issues of very high speed running where the danger of ballast being sucked up from the track means expensive slab track is needed at 250mph. Oh, and for the benefit of those I have heavily criticised over the past few pages - please take note of this post! (It shows its perfectly possible to come up with valid criticisms of HS2 if you actually do a little bit of study and stop being fixated on stupid stuff like getting to Birmingham 20 mins quicker).
  12. Energy consumption is easily remedied without the need to scrap the project (or indeed do much as regards construction of the trackbed). Chop the maximum speed of HS2 back to the French norms of 186mph or 200mph tops and you make big savings across the board when it comes to fitting out said trackbed without compromising any of the benefits HS2 brings. Simples!
  13. Erm, exactly what planet have you been living over the past decade! Governments and indeed HS2 themselves have this thing called a map (along with reams of supporting documents) which quite clearly show HS2 stretching from London to near Warrington and York with branches to Leeds and Manchester (plus I do grant you a place called Birmingham also features. There are many other facts which can be obtained by studying said documents including:- HS2 is a project to complete the network of lines described above - It DOES NOT refer to just a Euston to Birmingham (or Litchfield) railway. The will / mission / plan is for this network to be built in its entirety (not just the London to Birmingham bit) That is a fact. Of the entire HS2 scheme, the first piece of the project to be built and for which the necessary parliamentary acts have been obtained is from Euston to Litchfield and the spur into Birmingham. Construction is underway on said first phase and lots of money has already been spent preparing the way which will not be recovered even if you did sell off the land That is a fact. The overall cost of HS2 will be high and an estimate has been provided. That is a fact. The costs of building phase one have increased and that part will cost more (and the same is true of subsequent sections) That is a fact. HS2 will be fully integrated into the national rail network with through trains (and ticketing maintained to destinations beyond the HS2 network itself) That is a fact HS2 when fully complete will bring many benefits to current rail travellers and non rail users. In the shorter term the benefits are naturally less, but not insignificant. Some of these will also have risen in terms of value just as construction costs have. That is a fact. HS2 has done an enormous amount of analytical work in the past which has previously demonstrated a good business case for the project. That is a fact. The basic assumptions (other than construction cost) have not materially changed (e.g. congestion on the conventional rail network, poor value for money of enhancing the classic network to provide the extra capacity HS2 does) That is a fact. I could go on....
  14. Yes Look how many times do I have to say this - HS2 taken simply as a London to Birmingham ONLY rail project is quite clearly very poor value for money. Problem is HS2 is NOT and has never been such a project, so quite clearly you cannot use figures / studies / opinions which only relate to the former to apply to the whole scheme. THAT is the fundamental problem - its got nothing to do with whether you are a 'believer' as you put it and everything to do with using your brain in a logical manor. To effectively judge the worth of anything it is necessary to use the appropriate criteria. You wouldn't go round proudly proclaiming that a successful 1st date means you have found your life partner would you? but conversely you wouldn't feel afraid of expressing an opinion that you had spent a pleasant evening. In making the assessments you are taking a factual event (you went on a date) but applying different criteria to draw very different conclusions about said event. Utter rubbish! We are not in the realms of the spiritual - HS2 will involve the spending of cash. Money is something which can be measured - which is why we do things like put a monetary value on the life of a person and use the monetary value of 'lives saved' as part of the cost benefit process for approving new roads. It is therefore very possible to apply such a 'scientific' process to HS2. For example if xx percentage of road users decide to take the train (which could include someone making a local journey on a local train now running in the path of one that has been transferred to HS2) then not only will train revenues increase, but there should also be a reduction in the number of deaths and injuries (statistically road transport has one of the highest casualty statistics of any transport mode). That reduction in death and injuries means a monetary saving for the NHS and grater economic activity which can also be given a financial value. Furthermore as we have not yet developed time travel, it is necessary to develop many, many mathematical or statistical models to test various scenarios - and you don't get more 'scientific' than that. But so far your viewpoints (as far as I can tell) have been blinkered by this obsession HS2 is all about London to Birmingham Only! Only a few posts ago I highlighted several areas which are legitimate aspects of HS2 to question - they key being they respect the integrity of the project and do not try and pretend its something else entirely so as to make arguments stack up. Yes I agree its a judgement call - but one that has be be made on a factual, scientific bases that does not selectively pick out individual bits of the project for special attention. As I have already pointed out HS2 provides many benefits to many people (train and no train passengers) in many locations across the UK (not just London or Birmingham) and as such the eventual judgement needs to reflect ALL of them. One element that scores poorly to one group (e.g. reduced journey time to Birmingham - because its too small to be useful) will be balanced by another (reduced journey time to Manchester which is of benefit). One hopes that unlike many in the media or some of the blinkered posts on here (i.e. we don't need to get to Birmingham any faster, Wolverhampton trains will be decimated, etc), the Governments review has properly considered all this and the next gains from HS2 as a complete project justify continuing to push forward with it broadly intact.
  15. Well people ARE being stupid! Obsessing about the time saving on going to Birmingham. Making dire predictions about current WCML service patterns. Pretending that you can magically increase capacity of existing rail corridors with no disruption / demolition. Claiming HS2 will ruin the environment when a significant chunk of the projects spend is actually going into environmental mitigation measures which far exceed ANYTHING that is done for new roads. Yes HS2 will cots a massive amount of money - but once in service the multitude of benefits accruing to vast numbers of people - including those who have no need to use HS2 or even the railways altogether are far grater! The inability to see the big picture (still less present it in an honest fashion) in the media in favour of stupid headlines rather suggests a new strategy is needed.
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