Jump to content
Image restoration from pre-May 2021 continues and may take an indefinite period of time.

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, rockershovel said:

Several of the previous posts seem to articulate clearly the view I've held for many years, that ongoing improvement and upgrading trumps "visionary schemes" every time. 

 

That, and we seem to have completely lost the ability to actually DO things. TML was a case in point; the French TGV lines were a but ready for it, while we didn't even begin until it was finished...

To an extent I agree, although as a denser-populate country than almost any other in Western Europe, there are usually more people in the way of anything we want to build in this country.

 

The speed at building things in the UK though, seems to have declined in inverse proportion to the growth in the number of Project Managers.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, rockershovel said:

Several of the previous posts seem to articulate clearly the view I've held for many years, that ongoing improvement and upgrading trumps "visionary schemes" every time. 

 

That, and we seem to have completely lost the ability to actually DO things. TML was a case in point; the French TGV lines were a but ready for it, while we didn't even begin until it was finished...

 

The difficulty is that we've pretty well hit the limit of what can be done to upgrade capacity on the WCML from Euston to Crewe , and probably on the Midland from St Pancras to Kettering. Birmingham New St has reached its limit in all areas, and demand growth has eaten all the gains at the west end of Leeds City achieved by Leeds First 15 years ago.

 

At that point upgrading will no longer suffice - radical new build solutions become necessary. And new construction is needed to bring any effective mainline service to Bradford. The last attempt to grasp that particular nettle was the MR's West Riding Lines project in the Edwardian era , which went through 3 iterations before being dropped after WW1

 

Johnson and Shapps have both made comments expressing frustration that the previous plans would have left the north with no benefits until 2040 at least - Johnson said that building high-speed lines was "grindingly slow". The politicians seem to have imposed MML and Transpennine electrification as a bridging stage so that the voters actually get to see something happening in the politicians' working lifetimes.

 

Quote

The old plans got the balance wrong. They focused too much on showpiece, high speed links, and too little on local services – less glamorous, perhaps, but more important to most people ....

....   the previous plans were designed largely in isolation from the rest of the transport network. They would have spent billions of pounds on a new rail link to the East Midlands that didn’t directly serve any of the region’s three main cities. TfN’s preferred option for Northern Powerhouse Rail would also have seen us spend billions upgrading the conventional line between Leeds and Manchester – and then tens of billions more, straight afterwards, building a second line between the same two places.....

...Under those plans, many places on the existing main lines, such as Doncaster, Huddersfield, Wakefield and Leicester, would have seen little improvement or a worsening in their services. The fastest services to the East Midlands would have been concentrated on a parkway stop. Losing the convenience of city-centre stations, good connections to existing local public transport networks, and proximity to thousands of shops and businesses....

Most importantly, it has now become clear that under the original plan, high speed lines would not have reached the East Midlands and Yorkshire, until at best the early to mid 2040s, two decades from now

 

 

That's from Johnson's introduction - I know quoting any politician with approval will draw hostile protest, but I actually  find it quite difficult to disagree with that as a reasonable summary of the situation. I rather expected the introduction to be a cloud of glowing nebulous waffle, but it seems pretty on the money

 

On the other hand they've obviously decided that incremental upgrade is the way to go with the ECML, and that this allows major reduction and descoping of HS2 East. The option selected for NPR is the cheap[est - TfN's preferred full-fat option would have cost 50% more.

 

Link to the report here:  Integrated Rail Plan

 

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

15 minutes ago, Northmoor said:

The speed at building things in the UK though, seems to have declined in inverse proportion to the growth in the number of Project Managers.

 

 

I was once involved with a club layout project "somewhere in the South East of England". Everyone was keen to plan the layout and take bold innovative decisions about its features and construction. But there was very little interest in actually building the damn thing .  In some cases they enjoyed taking the decisions so much that people took the same decision two or three times in different directions, over a period of several years. Only a few junior members of limited skills and experience actually worked on the thing. The project eventually expired incomplete after about a decade.

  • Like 1
  • Friendly/supportive 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

14 minutes ago, Ravenser said:

I was once involved with a club layout project "somewhere in the South East of England". Everyone was keen to plan the layout and take bold innovative decisions about its features and construction. But there was very little interest in actually building the damn thing .  In some cases they enjoyed taking the decisions so much that people took the same decision two or three times in different directions, over a period of several years. Only a few junior members of limited skills and experience actually worked on the thing. The project eventually expired incomplete after about a decade.

The lack of the right skills impacts many things, railway preservation is one.  There have been a number of loco preservation groups which quickly fell by the wayside (fortunately, most before they bought anything) when they had, for instance, ten members volunteering to produce the website but no-one with welding or any other useful mechanical skills.  Or quite often, any knowledge of fund-raising.

 

@rockershovelmakes a worthy point about skills shortages; this impacts all sorts of construction, not just HS2.  I tend to laugh when I hear political parties trying to trump each other over how many new homes they would build, considering that anyone in the UK who has construction skills, appears already to be working in construction.  I'm not sure who is going to build all the extra homes, or what those already working are going to stop working on, to do so.  The solution of course is to allow more people with the right skills to come from Europe (without which most major projects in the UK would simply stop altogether), but the parties seem reluctant to suggest that.....

  • Agree 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Long ago, in what seems another world I took a very minor role in what I've come to regard as our last great national adventure. 

 

A huge workforce assembled in one of the more benighted corners of these sceptred Isles, assembled huge glittering structures and erected them far out in a bitter sea. We reached down into the seabed and brought out fire; piped it into every kitchen in the land, and set a world standard by which it was traded (Brent crude). 

 

Around this time, roughly 1965-95 we built huge new reservoirs and aqueducts at Carsington and Rutland; new tube lines; developed a whole new, world class coalfield at Selby and transformed the Isle of Dogs. We built Concorde, for reasons which escape me. We designed and built the quite brilliant HST. 

 

We built social housing on an unprecedented scale, and largely solved the then-current  housing crisis. We could even get appointments with a GP, and keep schools open without infringing on civil liberties despite the pandemic from Asia (Hong Kong Flu, as it was then called) 

 

We did all this from our own resources and skills. Those we imported, like deep water oil drilling, we learnt from and surpassed. We had no need of "skills from Europe" or anywhere else. 

 

So if I sometimes appear to hold the present and recent administrations in contempt and profound cynicism, you'll have to excuse me. Evidence doesn't appear to be on their side. 

  • Like 4
  • Agree 3
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
  • Round of applause 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, rockershovel said:

Long ago, in what seems another world

 

Ah yes - the North Sea Oil that would make the UK so rich we would have the best NHS, roads, railways, housing in the world - you name it.

 

Nuclear Power - "electricity that would be too cheap to meter"

 

Diesel cars & vans - much better for the environment.

 

Please excuse me for not taking the "experts" seriously which is why I'm very sceptical about all the current "Gretarists".

 

Yes, we can (or could) produce the very best but remember that we had a so called empire in those days, we had access to raw materials & food.

 

We did not require "skills from Europe" (your quote) because we had ample labour available from the commonwealth/empire.

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Should also remember the splendid hi-rise concrete flats of the 1960s that replaced run down estates, meant to be communities in the sky but were isolating, cold, poorly built ghettos that had to be demolished a couple of decades later.

 

Not everything in the past was good.

  • Like 1
  • Agree 5
Link to post
Share on other sites

How true Rockershovel  when you have lived through that time you tend to forget that we were able to cope with the problems of the day .The massive council estate in sheffield is a monument to good planning plus you were able to travel easily due to many bus routes and railways available with reasonable fares.,Big projects seemed to happen with no big problems ,I think that cutting edge technology is a curse in that it places so many problems on what could be a simple solution. but the real problem now is everything must comply to so many social mandates and this places many extra constraints to project completition.  I prefered the fifties life was a lot better then.

  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

I prefered the fifties life was a lot better then.

Rose tinted spectacles?

 

Life in the past always looks better, as we age we pine for the past because we forget about a lot of the bad stuff and focus on the good stuff.  I don't like now, there is Covid, global warming, terrorism, a lack of good jobs for people of school leaving age, I preferred the 80s but they were far from perfect.

 

There were still plenty of things wrong in the 50s:

  • Post war austerity
  • Housing stock was not that good and a lot of it still being rebuilt
  • Food rationing
  • racial & sexual discrimination
  • health issues - other illnesses than Covid to worry about, and everybody drank and smoked.
  • Suez - the final nail in the coffin of the UK being an international power.
  • Like 1
  • Agree 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

I still had a good life in the fifties you did not have a lot and you got on with life if something went wrong you sorted it and if you had a health problem the doctors actualy saw you and helped .Sometimes I think that we have not progressed the wife tried to contact the doctor went on the phone at exactly 8.30  number forty two in queue waited an hour when she was number twent two .Went back and she was number twenty one then a voice said ring back tomorrow no apps today.  Progress I dont think so but we must not complain must we.

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
  • Friendly/supportive 6
Link to post
Share on other sites

3 hours ago, SamThomas said:

 

 

Yes, we can (or could) produce the very best but remember that we had a so called empire in those days, we had access to raw materials & food.

 

We did not require "skills from Europe" (your quote) because we had ample labour available from the commonwealth/empire.

Ermmmm ... no, we didn't. British skilled workers, engineers and doctors went there courtesy of the "brain drain", but that was a one way street. 

 

The North Sea platforms and rigs were built (mostly) by recently unemployed ship yard workers from the Tyne and Clyde. The supply vessels were mostly manned by British merchant seamen and trawler-men. The exploration drilling was done by a quite extraordinary tribe recruited from all sorts of occupations, with a stiffening of experienced older Brits who learnt their trade in Persia, as it then was.  there were certainly no East Europeans - Saipem employed a lot of Portuguese on the pipeline barges (still do) but we Brits weren't in that game in those days.

 

Selby was mostly built by Brits,  with a salting of South Africans (Cementation) and Germans (Thyssen) 

 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 1
  • Informative/Useful 2
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

47 minutes ago, lmsforever said:

I still had a good life in the fifties you did not have a lot and you got on with life if something went wrong you sorted it and if you had a health problem the doctors actualy saw you and helped .Sometimes I think that we have not progressed the wife tried to contact the doctor went on the phone at exactly 8.30  number forty two in queue waited an hour when she was number twent two .Went back and she was number twenty one then a voice said ring back tomorrow no apps today.  Progress I dont think so but we must not complain must we.

 

Its all very well being able to see a doctor - but if they don't have the tools (because they haven't been invented yet*) to treat you then its not much good is it?

 

A big part of the problems in the NHS these days is simply that so many more life affecting illnesses can be treated these days-  particularly if caught early, so the workload on health staff has never been grater, yet the amount of taxation the inhabitants of the country are willing to pay to fund care has not kept up with said medical advances.

 

*Just ask yourself back in the 'good old1950s' how many children were crippled for life / died before the polio vaccine was developed - how many people died of Cancer before bowel / smear testing and chemotherapy / radiotherapy, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1
  • Agree 6
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

In the meantime, the Union Connectivity Report has been published. It doesn't look like it adds greatly to the sum of our knowledge:

 

Golborne Spur:

 

Quote

However, the ‘Golborne Link’ does not resolve all of the identified issues. The suitability of alternative connections between HS2 and the WCML have been considered by the Review. The emerging evidence suggests that an alternative connection to the WCML, for example at some point south of Preston, could offer more benefits and an opportunity to reduce journey times by two to three minutes more than the ‘Golborne Link’. However, more work is required to better understand the case for and against such options.

 

and north of Preston:

 

Quote

The Review has identified a range of possible infrastructure interventions including replacing and enhancing track, signalling and power supply systems, and possibly new sections of line north of Preston, which would maximise line speeds for the non-tilting HS2 trains and create greater freight capacity.

 

 

Like... what?

 

There are no meaningful comments on any ECML upgrade, they think electrification to Holyhead would be nice, and they note Northern Ireland's railways are limited and slow. They would like Belfast/Londonderry to be faster.

 

Otherwise not much meat on the bone

 

BBC report here Union Connectivity Report published

  • Informative/Useful 1
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 minute ago, Ravenser said:

In the meantime, the Union Connectivity Report has been published. It doesn't look like it adds greatly to the sum of our knowledge:

 

 

And Scotland has re-buffed any suggestion that an upgrade of the A75 is anything to do with the UK government.

  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Just now, melmerby said:

And Scotland has re-buffed any suggestion that an upgrade of the A75 is anything to do with the UK government.

 

The proposition that part of the connection between England and Northern Ireland is solely of interest to the Scottish Govt is notable...

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd say that the era 1954-70 was the peak of the post-War era. Rationing ended in 1954. The New Towns were under construction, work was easy to find. Social housing was being built as never before.

 

Immigration was under control (its usually forgotten now, but the Trades Unions strongly opposed both immigration and the EEC as opposed to the interests of their members)  and made sure the Parliamentary Labour Party toed the line).

 

Education was free - my late mother was delighted to see her children attend grammar school and University at no cost. 

 

The NHS treated my late father's war injuries, and my mother's post-TB ailments at no cost - which they greatly  appreciated, given the memories of my grandfsthers illnesses in the 20s and 30s. Illnesses like diphtheria, whooping cough, TB and polio were confronted and defeated. 

 

The notion that a free born Englishman could be pilloried for his private opinions was no more than a cloud on the horizon. 

 

Was it perfect? No. But it certainly represented the embodiment of popular thought at the time 

Edited by rockershovel
  • Like 1
  • Agree 2
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

16 minutes ago, Ravenser said:

In the meantime, the Union Connectivity Report has been published. It doesn't look like it adds greatly to the sum of our knowledge:

 

Golborne Spur:

 

 

and north of Preston:

 

 

 

Like... what?

 

There are no meaningful comments on any ECML upgrade, they think electrification to Holyhead would be nice, and they note Northern Ireland's railways are limited and slow. They would like Belfast/Londonderry to be faster.

 

Otherwise not much meat on the bone

 

BBC report here Union Connectivity Report published

Shouldn't think it does. The general outlines of the alternatives to HS2 are neither new, nor secret. 

 

 We seem to be moving into a phase of procrastination between well-known alternatives, in the hope of creating the appearance of action without the fact.

 

The government can't and won't attempt to curtail any part of the existing works in hand, in the 2 years before a General Election. That much is a safe bet. 

  • Agree 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

2 hours ago, rockershovel said:

I'd say that the era 1954-70 was the peak of the post-War era. Rationing ended in 1954. The New Towns were under construction, work was easy to find. Social housing was being built as never before.

 

Immigration was under control (its usually forgotten now, but the Trades Unions strongly opposed both immigration and the EEC as opposed to the interests of their members)  and made sure the Parliamentary Labour Party toed the line).

 

Education was free - my late mother was delighted to see her children attend grammar school and University at no cost. 

 

The NHS treated my late father's war injuries, and my mother's post-TB ailments at no cost - which they greatly  appreciated, given the memories of my grandfsthers illnesses in the 20s and 30s. Illnesses like diphtheria, whooping cough, TB and polio were confronted and defeated. 

 

The notion that a free born Englishman could be pilloried for his private opinions was no more than a cloud on the horizon. 

 

Was it perfect? No. But it certainly represented the embodiment of popular thought at the time 

Much of what you've described was a symptom of there being a much higher proportion of people in work compared with those not yet in work*, or drawing a pension.  The retired now make up a much greater proportion of the population and as people now live longer, they are susceptible to more illnesses that are expensive to treat or manage (like dementia, very rare in the under-70s).  You can't get an appointment at a GP because the population has grown and aged, but the system hasn't grown to cope.  It's the same reason why final salary pensions are so out of fashion now; the maths only work if you have a large and growing number paying into the scheme compared to those drawing from it.

 

*For those that worry about these things, for the Europeans who came to the UK in the last 20 years, the proportion in work is much, much greater.

  • Agree 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, Northmoor said:

Much of what you've described was a symptom of there being a much higher proportion of people in work compared with those not yet in work*, or drawing a pension.  The retired now make up a much greater proportion of the population and as people now live longer, they are susceptible to more illnesses that are expensive to treat or manage (like dementia, very rare in the under-70s).  You can't get an appointment at a GP because the population has grown and aged, but the system hasn't grown to cope.  It's the same reason why final salary pensions are so out of fashion now; the maths only work if you have a large and growing number paying into the scheme compared to those drawing from it.

 

*For those that worry about these things, for the Europeans who came to the UK in the last 20 years, the proportion in work is much, much greater.

It was a different time, although I think the word you mean is "characteristic" not "symptom"

 

A time when mass employment was usual, full employment was government policy, school leavers routinely signed apprenticeships of 5 to 7 years. A time when life expectancy was on the early 70s. A time when half a million unemployed was regarded as unacceptable, when people seriously predicted revolution following figures of one million unemployed. 

 

Final salary pensions are an interesting example. Regulatory changes destroyed them, allowing "contribution holidays" paid as dividends... but it was always a problem that the law didn't allow anyone changing jobs, to port across total accrued contributions. "The leavers pay for the stayers" as it was said at the time. 

 

Regarding the East Europeans who came in the 2000s, the average life expectancy in the FSU was in the 60s (as low as 55 in some areas) ... but I think we've already covered this.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

26 minutes ago, rockershovel said:

Final salary pensions are an interesting example. Regulatory changes destroyed them, allowing "contribution holidays" paid as dividends... but it was always a problem that the law didn't allow anyone changing jobs, to port across total accrued contributions. "The leavers pay for the stayers" as it was said at the time.

 

One of the big changes that really hurt defined benefit pensions was the ending of tax relief for the pension funds on dividends received by the funds. That took, in the first year, £2bn out of pension funds and that sum has effectively increased every year since.

  • Agree 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

39 minutes ago, Richard E said:

 

One of the big changes that really hurt defined benefit pensions was the ending of tax relief for the pension funds on dividends received by the funds. That took, in the first year, £2bn out of pension funds and that sum has effectively increased every year since.

The above illustrates the short sightedness of politicians,  that £2bn/annum "windfall" condemned final salary pension schemes to death-row, workers are enrolled into weak money purchase pensions, at retirement those defined benefit pensions will give liveable incomes without the need for claiming social security  benefits,   those with money purchase pensions are more likely to need social security benefits,  the latter will cost the exchequer dearly.  The worst aspect of this, an attack on the working classes, it came from a Labour Party "Socialist" Mr Gordon Brown

Edited by Pandora
  • Like 1
  • Agree 5
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, rockershovel said:

 

Final salary pensions are an interesting example. Regulatory changes destroyed them, allowing "contribution holidays" paid as dividends... but it was always a problem that the law didn't allow anyone changing jobs, to port across total accrued contributions. "The leavers pay for the stayers" as it was said at the time. 

 

 

Not true

I was in the GPO/PO/BT Pension fund and we had some people recruited from Philips Electronics after their place of work closed. They were allowed an equivalent amount of their Philips' FSP contributions to be added to the BT scheme which they joined.

 

Even the BT (ex Civil Service scheme) has been neutered by a change from RPI to CPI as a calculator for any increases, thanks to a post retirement Government ruling.

Edited by melmerby
  • Like 1
  • Informative/Useful 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, woodenhead said:

Rose tinted spectacles?

 

Life in the past always looks better, as we age we pine for the past because we forget about a lot of the bad stuff and focus on the good stuff.  I don't like now, there is Covid, global warming, terrorism, a lack of good jobs for people of school leaving age, I preferred the 80s but they were far from perfect.

 

There were still plenty of things wrong in the 50s:

  • Post war austerity
  • Housing stock was not that good and a lot of it still being rebuilt
  • Food rationing
  • racial & sexual discrimination
  • health issues - other illnesses than Covid to worry about, and everybody drank and smoked.
  • Suez - the final nail in the coffin of the UK being an international power.

Austerity. We lived well and as we kept chickens we traded with other people. We lived as well as we do today calorie wise at very much lower cost.

Housing stock. In 1947 the family bought a newly built house at an affordable price.

Food rationing. See 1.

racial and sexual discrimination. Dad  and his mates got the whole of the convoy banned from shore leave in South Africa in 1941 as they would not agree to a policy of not mixing with the locals. A well known transvestite who was captured by the Japanese at the fall of Singapore was given protection on the orders of a very senior officer and survived life as a POW due to this protection.

health issues. People did die and there were many other things that killed them at a young age. Give you that one.

Suez. Agreed the last nail in the coffin.

However I choose to live where my family have lived for over 200 years as it had a good balance between various aspects of life.

Recently the trains, until last week, have been slower than since the start of electrification. Late again today going into Euston.

The roads are a nightmare. I rode 25 mile time trials on a bike on the A41 back in the 1960s. There was one set of lights in Berko. At the last count there were over 20.

As for education, I had a scholarship to the local Public School with travel and meals provided. What chance of that these days?

In the late 1960s I went for a job interview. I was asked if I could start the next day and the salary was the upper quartile of the Hay MSL system.

I bought a house, all completed in under two hours, including the mortgage being agreed.

Do you really think life is better?

A better standard of living I grant you.

But a better quality of life? Very questionable.

Bernard

  • Like 3
  • Agree 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

For those wondering what path the thread has taken, I believe is as follows: HS2>Current planning laws>Historic planning laws>Life in the mid-20th Century>Pensions>Rather bizarre claims that one cross-dresser not being killed is evidence that there was no problem with racial or sexual discrimination (with some climate change denial, ill-informed debates on migration, and a discussion of advances in healthcare technology along the way).

 

Now when we were discussing current planning regualtions, I think we still had a clear and obvious link to HS2 - it's clear that the way planning works now will have an impact on future transport demands. I struggle to see how ignorant claims about discrimination in the mid-20th Century feed into the discussion though. If those involved are unable to enlighten us about this mysterious link, perhaps they ought to consider whether this is the right forum for their discussion. Suggestions for more suitable fora available on request. They might also consider reading a book, or talking to people beaten up by the National Front about their experiences of discrimination.

 

In the mean time, there appears to be some speculation that Leeds City Council are seeking to develop the land safeguarded for HS2. Surely they aren't that short-sighted?

https://www.constructionnews.co.uk/hs2/hs2-urgent-call-for-review-of-development-on-axed-route-25-11-2021/

  • Like 2
  • Interesting/Thought-provoking 2
  • Round of applause 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...