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  1. And you expect me to be somehow surprised by that! Its hardly rocket science to work out that If I were promised a new Ferrari but then got told I would get a Ford focus or just given a free service on my current motor I think I might be stomping my feet demanding to know why and shouting loudly about betrayal. So yes, TfN are understandably angry, and with considerable justification as what has been promised so far is very much lacking on what was talked about before - particularly on the east side of the Pennines. Does that in itself mean the previous plans were sensible, affordable and really the perfect solution to the areas woes? No it does not! From what I can see the key problem with the Governments plans is the lack of detail east of the Pennines - the Liverpool - Warrington - Manchester airport - Piccadilly (Reverse) then out towards Guide Bridge with a new line across to Marsden is perfectly logical and will still provide most of the benefits of previous schemes. Simply re-joining the classic network at Marsden is a mistake however - as is the ditching of the Leeds HS2 station and associated links towards Sheffield / York (and the potential for a link top the ECML near Doncaster). The situation with Bradford is admittedly a tough one - going via the city imposes huge extra costs because of the topography, yet it undoubtedly suffers in rail terms from being out on a limb as it were.
  2. They did - but they also didn't have to pay that much attention to H&S of the workforce, take much care of the environment it passed through, nor did they have to dig lots of tunnels just to keep the natives happy as it were. Things are rather different these days - as I highlighted on another thread the grade separation at Werrington would never have been done as a dive-under 100 years ago, that decision has been forced by modern planning laws rather than it being the quickest, cheapest or easiest solution!
  3. Depends where the Parkway station is - Bristol Parkway was built with minimal facilities as it was assumed that everybody would simply use to to swap from car to train. What actually happened was it became something of a large interchange hub due to the large number of services running through it prompting it to be rebuilt several times to provide better facilities for persons lingering on the platforms. If (in absence of direct HS2 services to the East Midlands) interchange with HS2 was at the current East Midlands site then its quite possible you would see similar things develop as rail passengers from Derby / Nottingham / Loughborough use it to interchange with HS2.
  4. I don't dispute Leeds and Bradford lose out - but as far as I am concerned it was a STUPID idea to try and serve them with HS2 in the first place! It resulted in an over specified line (250mph instead of 200mph) and completely failed to do anything significant for the East Midlands area or the MML capacity problems. If 186mph operation is considered perfectly adequate in a country where population centres are more spread out (i.e. France) then its good enough for here - except if you do that to Leeds going via HS2 it is no faster than the current ECML! However the abysmal attitudes by successive UK Governments towards high speed rail - despite its success in countries as diverse as the Netherlands, Germany and Spain is such that a flawed project is better than nothing - and as the WCML / MML are in serious need of capacity uplifts so I chose to support the project, hoping that the eastern leg could be bashed into something more suitable at a later stage. Yes, Yorkshire / Leeds / Bradford / Newcastle all deserve a better rail service south towards London - but that in my view should be provided by a second new high speed line (or sections thereof) along the A1 / ECML corridor and NOT HS2.
  5. The problem with any Croydon tram extension is you don't have to go far before you slam into congested radial roads with no space for a dedicated set of tram tracks. If you have a look at all UK tram systems the amount of street running is generally minimised - and the roads which are used not carrying strategic traffic. In Croydon the corridors most in need of relief are north and south of the town - but you don't get far before you slam into the A23 and would have to mix it up with what is the signposted route between London, Gatwick and Brighton!
  6. I was careful to not cite Sheffield specifically (as opposed to the East Midlands region) precisely because the lack of a HS2 line between it and East Midlands Parkway / Toton will mean any post HS2 reductions in journey time previously expected will be reduced under the plans. However I still reckon that the 200mph run to London via HS2 south of East Midlands Parkway will be a bit better than the MML to London. There is also the little mater of service frequency - we know that St Pancras is maxed out already and the MML south of Bedford is pretty much full too so if the citizens of Sheffield want more frequent trains to London then HS2 can still potentially provide that benefit (depending on available capacity between Derby and Sheffield)
  7. Given EMR had already commuted to replacing their fleet with Bi-mode class 800 derivatives, electrification makes absolutely no difference to MML rolling stock matters - all it does is move the changeover point as the wires go further north. Once the new trains arrive (next year IIRC) that will be it for 25 odd years before the issue of traction for the MML will need to be reconsidered - by which time full electrification and HS2 will have been finished in the East Midlands.
  8. The point is whether a station works depends on a lot more than where it is on the map! Proximity to large towns or the motorway network are on their own no guarantee of success. Ultimately Toton was picked because it was a brownfield site on the fastest route from Birmingham to Leeds with lots of opportunity to recoup costs by development. It has NEVER been a good site per say for a HS2 East Midlands hub full stop! In this era of climate change its also important to give good onward PT to the places the parkways are intended to serve* - Bristol Parkway and Warrick Parkway both have this this thanks to their location on existing PASSENGER rail routes which means they get served by frequent service into the relevant city centres. As has been made very clear serving Toton by rail would significantly lengthen regional rail services journey times and the tramway would hardly be a quick way of getting to Nottingham. Now had HS2 proposed building their East Midlands hub alongside the current East Midlands Parkway station then most of those objections would disappear because like Bristol Parkway has excellent onward connections to Bristol popper, it would have fast and easy connections to / from Nottingham, Derby, Loughborough, etc. That however would have forced a deviation of HS2 away from the optimum route (thus increasing journey times to Leeds) plus increased costs as more tunnelling would be needed to avoid environmental restrictions.
  9. The business case for taking HS2 to Leeds (as opposed to spending the money on removing ECML bottlenecks and upgrades to 140mph ECTS running) was always borderline - and required the use of energy sapping 200mph+ running. I suspect that the passenger business lost by not taking HS2 to Leeds will be pretty much recouped by the ability to directly serve Derby and Nottingham City centres rather than a Parkway station between the two which required lots of money spent to improve public transport access and significantly delayed regional train services as they were diverted from more direct routes to make connections, plus the lower energy consumption by less ultra fast running. The biggest loss with the revised plans is actually Leeds itself as HS2 would have provided significant capacity increases and had synergies with improved Trans-pennine services. However that could be reminded by building the Leeds - Sheffield bit of HS2 (which could also include a spur to the ECML south of Doncaster thus sucking up services from there too).
  10. And the existing East Midlands Parkway has been an outstanding success hasn't it..... NOT! Building a station is no guarantee that it will be well used - the new Ivybridge in Devon for example was plonked outside of the village so it could act as a park and ride for Plymouth in spite of the fact that Plymouth has good road links via the A38. Net result it got dismal usage as it was inconvenient for the residents of Ivybridge and also unattractive as a Parkway station. Similarly east Midlands Parkway was built with the intention it would become as well used as Bristol Parkway - events proved otherwise. On the other hand Warrick Parkway has been very successful and usage has far exceeded projections - with large numbers having migrated over from Virgin Trains ironically even though the likes of Coventry are some distance away.
  11. That is not surprising - if you are out for modal shift why go and replace trains as opposed to replacing buses given the research which shows car drivers are generally prepared to switch to rail based solutions but extremely reluctant to switch to busses. Yes its true that in many cases tram systems have used railway alignments as an easy way to get up and running (which BR was quite keen on as it got rid of nuisance lines so to speak) but being able to do that isn't the show stopper you imply. It largely depends on what the tramway is trying to do - just provide city centre connectivity or reach markets unserved by rail. Furthermore as has been demonstrated in several places if serving current rail corridors is needed then Tram-Train operations are a viable way forward. While we only have one example in the UK Sheffield - Rotherham, there are quite a few places elsewhere in Europe which have them. In that respect a Leeds system could actually be quite cheap with the minimum of new track in the centre linking to existing radial rail lines away from the pinch points thus freeing up paths for longer distance services.
  12. The fares freeze was one of the first things the Government demanded be scrapped as a condition of the first bailout over a year ago!
  13. The Leeds tramway proposal was most certainly not 'uneconomic' - it got binned by Alistair Darling (at the same time as Metrolink saw funding for its extensions to Ashton, East Disbury, Rochdale via Oldham and the airport cancelled) to save the Treasury cash at a time of significant crisis (the 2008 banking collapse) . Nottingham was the lucky one - it managed to get approval just a few months before everything went pear shaped in the financial world - and has been very successful. There is absolutely no reason to believe the Leeds scheme would not have been the same. Manchester eventually was successful in getting the funding reinstated while Nottingham also eventually got the system extended. Leeds meanwhile had to settle for a guided busway - which, as with all busyways, struggled to make much of an impact in reducing car travel - in stark contrast to the success of tram schemes.
  14. I believe the point is that under its original guise (with a Parkway station at Toton to serve both Derby and Nottingham), HS2s eastern leg didn't actually do much to help the fact St Pancras as the lack of city centre penetration meant there would still be considerable demand for services to London via the MML. Under the revised plans Derby and Nottingham can have HS2 services right into the heart of their city centres which will remove far more of the loadings on the MML than the previous single Toton stop (which is very difficult to serve without making regional services in the areas significantly worse). On balance therefore the revised plans are much better at serving the East Midlands region and dealing with the MML issues.
  15. They are - but the hidden enquiry limits are a the minimum standard. Any sensible employer will realise that keeping the workforce happy, avoiding burnout and providing a degree of slack in case of issues like long term sickness means the offering needs to be considerably better than simply sticking to what they can legally get away with. Fortunately, unlike the rest of the employment world, on the railways the Unions have considerable clout and can usually avoid a race to the bottom as it were. This is something the Governing party hate of course as it prevents the sort of cost cutting and squishing of workers demanded by unbridled belief in 'the power of the free market' ideology which is why we see the screws being tightened from above... On our side (S&T) whole swathes of shifts are going uncovered / because we have no staff - and those which we do have are getting extremely pissed off with plenty looking for ways out! The only way we can obtain extra staff is pinching them form other regions / departments, which of courses only increases shortages elsewhere. This is despite the chaotic ban on working with lookouts during the day (none of the pre-requites like re-organising the maintenance schedules being sorted before the ban came into effect) meaning more work needs to be done in the limited overnight accessible.
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