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Author Topic: HS2 - the dissenting report  (Read 1897 times)
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2020, 08:59:48 pm »

Appendix 3.1 of Berkeley's report is interesting. It lists what he describes as 'Recovery or Replacement works'; things he'd do instead of progressing the current HS2 scheme. Among other things, he advocates:

  • Reinstatement of the railway along the former Great Central Railway route from Banbury to Rugby;
  • Reinstatement of Whitacre Junction to Hampton in Arden;
  • Reinstatement of Sutton Park Line;
  • Reinstatement of Walsall  to Lichfield  via Rycroft Junction and extension of CrossCity services to Burton-on-Trent;
  • Metro extension from Birmingham City Centre to South West Birmingham via A38
  • Re-open Matlock to Buxton
  • A new line from Berwick to Dunbar, avoiding the cliffs
  • A new line 'through Fife'

This is not the full list. Some of these are freight lines, but quite a lot are complete reinstatements. There's also a lot of junction improvements, electrification, re-quadding and other capacity enhancements.

However, perhaps even more interesting is this table (on p.47) comparing the cost of HS2 with the alternative option:

Comparing the two options: complete HS2 LTD As plannedUpgrade of NR lines As planned and cancel most of HS2
Completion 2035 to 2040 phased to 2034
Capacity on HS2 or parallel lines to/from London - additional weekday seats170,500144,500
Connectivity to local and regional serviceslimitedbetter
Weekend possessions on NR lines (total) 2232,700 
Journey times London – Leeds mins 8296 to 99
Journey times London – Manchester mins 82122
HS2 element of cost  £106bn £50bn 
Plus, net cost of cancelling HS2  -£7bn 
Armitt connections to cities – see above  £43bn £22.5bn
To both of these options must be added the costs of upgrading local and regional services to complement those included above:
£39bn   £39bn   
Totals £187bn £128.5bn
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TonyK
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« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2020, 09:05:47 pm »


So you're dismissing Lord Berkeley's report as "what he always says" without having read it.

Lord Berkeley says in his report (and I quote selectively):

Quote
...I, and I assume the panel members, will not be permitted access to the final Report until it is published by the Secretary of State...

so he has dismissed the main report without reading it, or so it would seem.

Let's get back to basics. Some years ago, someone in government spotted that there was a need for more rail services between London and the north, and decided that the best way was to upgrade the West Coast mainline at an estimated cost of £2 billion. The project was scaled back when the estimate looked to have increased to around £13 billion, to keep it to £6 billion. In the end, about £9-£10 billion was finally shelled out. As soon as it was finished, work began of many of the bits that had been cut to save money, which then cost a lot more because they were separate new projects. The project was completed either 3 years late or on time, depending on where you measure the start date from, in 2008. By then it was becoming obvious that there was still a need for more rail services.

That upgrade caused years of disruption because it was done on a live railway, and a very busy one at that. The East Coast Mainline has had  lots of money thrown at it too, but would - will - be complex to upgrade further. So the government decided on a new railway, and as we're building it, why not make it high speed to compete with air transport for the environmental benefits, and free up space for the increasing amount of freight we want to take of the equally burdened roads. Scrap it now, with over £7 billion already spent, use the money to beef up the WCML and ECML, and the government will still see a need for more rail services between London and the north. Add to that the fact that the northern cities have been told it is coming and have made plans and spent money accordingly, and that we now have a Prime Minister who wants to save the north, and decimals of BCR become like angels on pinheads. Interesting matter for intellectual debate if there's nothing much on telly, but not very meaningful.

Like the third runway at Heathrow, speculation and argument will only cease when it is built. I wouldn't say the cost is irrelevant because it isn't, but as an annual spend over the whole construction period, it is a lot less frightening. BCR figures are usually calculated by working backwards from the answer you want, or, if they are done properly, the final figure is halved for rail projects and doubled for bus, but that won't be the deciding factor. Boris has the north to impress.

Appendix 3.1 of Berkeley's report is interesting.

...

Totals £187bn £128.5bn

It would seem that the gap between doing HS2 or the noble Lord's substitute is not much more than the original estimate for HS2. One should bear in mind that in every similar exercise to date, the practice has been to keep your own costs down and the competitor's up.
« Last Edit: January 06, 2020, 09:11:04 pm by TonyK » Logged

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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2020, 09:34:29 pm »

Interesting that even Tony Berkeley acknowledges a BCR of 0.6 for the project (source: Stop HS2). BCR calculations have a habit of being rather conservative.

I should have checked the primary source! Actually, Berkeley said:

Quote
Thus, my best estimate is that the HS2 project has a BCR of less than 1, possibly as low 0.6 and therefore ranks as poor value for money when using the Treasury Green Book. 

There is quite a difference between '0.6' and 'possibly as low as 0.6'.

But the detail that really stood out for me was in the comparison table: HS2 will require 223 weekend possessions on NR lines. The alternative will require 2700. Anyone know how many possessions the GWML electrification needed?
« Last Edit: January 07, 2020, 01:47:23 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged

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« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2020, 11:12:05 pm »

Quote
But the detail that really stood out for me was in the comparison table: HS2 will require 223 weekend possessions on NR lines. The alternative will require 2700. Anyone know how many posessions the GWML electrification needed?

That figure of 2,700 possessions is equivalent to 17 years of continuous weekend possessions on WCML, MML and ECML.  Presumably there would be multiple possessions on the same line.  It would make the disruption during the last WCML upgrade look like a tea party.
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« Reply #19 on: January 07, 2020, 08:24:57 pm »

That figure of 2,700 possessions is equivalent to 17 years of continuous weekend possessions on WCML, MML and ECML.  Presumably there would be multiple possessions on the same line.  It would make the disruption during the last WCML upgrade look like a tea party.

It would make the disruption caused by WWII look manageable. That is an awful lot of bustitutions, just as we were beginning to win on the railways. Well, started playing at least.
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« Reply #20 on: January 10, 2020, 01:38:26 pm »

In New Civil Engineer (Sorry paywall) there is a report of a statement from Andrew McNaughton hitting out at the Berkeley report as being factually wrong.

He quotes Berkeley's statement about 18 trains per hour being unachievable - based on the fact that no other high speed line achieves this - and points to the fact that other lines have capacity restrains at stations and junctions and HS2 has designed these out.

He also points out that “The truth is, it is impossible to four-track most of the existing network as houses are built right up to the tracks in a lot of urban and suburban areas.”
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« Reply #21 on: January 10, 2020, 01:52:39 pm »

It would indeed be hideously disruptive, not to mention very expensive, to add tracks to many existing railways.
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« Reply #22 on: January 10, 2020, 02:28:42 pm »

It would indeed be hideously disruptive, not to mention very expensive, to add tracks to many existing railways.

Indeed - be that to the left, to the right, above, or below.

As it's been explained to me, what's needed is extra capacity. You may be able to get a quart into a litre pot or not notice the spillage, but try and go much further and you have a mess.  And if you try and run different various types of trains with differing stopping patterns on the same lines, you gobble up paths and end up with reliability issues in that it's far harder to recover things if some overtaking manoeuvre goes wrong.

So - logic suggests new tracks.   Knock down houses to get to the centre of places you want to serve, and up goes the bill - the original railway engineers found that, which is why the London termini are in a ring at the edge of what was the urban area in around 1840.   So - new tracks avoiding the populated areas - but how can you do that if you want to solve the transport issues of those very populations?

Logical answer is to build a new long distance line through the countryside (but, yes, that will upset the tweed-wearing, 4WD-driving, fox-hunting types) then look to see what traffic logically would run on it - and it turns out to be the long distance passenger traffic from London (expensive exception needed to bring the new tracks in) to the more distant places - moving off the new line onto older infrastructure once you're clear of the congested area where you were trying to shove a gallon into a litre pot.

Segragating the long distance passenger traffic (none stop for the first 100 miles) means that new line can be efficiently used, and capacity is recovered rather more than in proportion to the number of trains removed on the "old lines" because the number of different types of traffic is reduced too.

Has anyone yet suggested another HS2 leg from around Aylesbury, passing near Bicester and Stow-on-the-Wold, to Cheltenham Spa to relieve the lines out of Paddington of express trains to Cheltenham Spa,  Gloucester, South Wales and Bristol?  60 miles, say £18 billion.



« Last Edit: January 10, 2020, 02:45:44 pm by grahame » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: January 10, 2020, 04:37:32 pm »

It would indeed be hideously disruptive, not to mention very expensive, to add tracks to many existing railways.



Logical answer is to build a new long distance line through the countryside (but, yes, that will upset the tweed-wearing, 4WD-driving, fox-hunting types) then look to see what traffic logically would run on it - and it turns out to be the long distance passenger traffic from London (expensive exception needed to bring the new tracks in) to the more distant places - moving off the new line onto older infrastructure once you're clear of the congested area where you were trying to shove a gallon into a litre pot.







……………..of course, because only "tweed-wearing, 4WD-driving, fox-hunting types" care about the countryside.

 Roll Eyes



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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #24 on: January 10, 2020, 04:49:28 pm »

It would indeed be hideously disruptive, not to mention very expensive, to add tracks to many existing railways.



Logical answer is to build a new long distance line through the countryside (but, yes, that will upset the tweed-wearing, 4WD-driving, fox-hunting types) then look to see what traffic logically would run on it - and it turns out to be the long distance passenger traffic from London (expensive exception needed to bring the new tracks in) to the more distant places - moving off the new line onto older infrastructure once you're clear of the congested area where you were trying to shove a gallon into a litre pot.







……………..of course, because only "tweed-wearing, 4WD-driving, fox-hunting types" care about the countryside.

 Roll Eyes





I think it's probably a good idea to focus on grahame's stereotyping. With luck, it might even distract people's attention from the fact that Tony Berkeley's own 'dissenting report' has blown the anti-HS2 case so far out of the water that it's in danger of going into orbit.
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« Reply #25 on: January 10, 2020, 06:38:59 pm »


……………..of course, because only "tweed-wearing, 4WD-driving, fox-hunting types" care about the countryside.

 Roll Eyes


And of course popping the word "only" in front of what I write changes the whole sense of what I said. I did not limit my comment to that profile, and if I had done then I would have written a serious untruth.
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TaplowGreen
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« Reply #26 on: January 10, 2020, 06:59:31 pm »


……………..of course, because only "tweed-wearing, 4WD-driving, fox-hunting types" care about the countryside.

 Roll Eyes


And of course popping the word "only" in front of what I write changes the whole sense of what I said. I did not limit my comment to that profile, and if I had done then I would have written a serious untruth.

If that was genuinely your intention, why stereotype so lazily at all?
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #27 on: January 10, 2020, 07:01:51 pm »


……………..of course, because only "tweed-wearing, 4WD-driving, fox-hunting types" care about the countryside.

 Roll Eyes


And of course popping the word "only" in front of what I write changes the whole sense of what I said. I did not limit my comment to that profile, and if I had done then I would have written a serious untruth.

If that was genuinely your intention, why stereotype so lazily at all?

I think it's probably a good idea to focus on grahame's stereotyping. With luck, it might even distract people's attention from the fact that Tony Berkeley's own 'dissenting report' has blown the anti-HS2 case so far out of the water that it's in danger of going into orbit.
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« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2020, 07:09:03 pm »

To be fair to TG, it's far from only being the huntin' shootin' fishin' set who are against HS2 - there's all kinds of "greens", townies turned country folk (eg the actor Geoffrey Palmer) and others.

What really concerns me is that almost no-one mentions that one of the huge benefits is to take people out of cars planes etc for internal medium and long distance travel. That surely is one of the biggest benefits of the scheme, whatever the overall cost!
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grahame
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« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2020, 07:22:56 pm »

If that was genuinely your intention, why stereotype so lazily at all?

Tongue, Cheek, therein.

And there is an element (who, yes, I lazily stereotyped) who seem to have an influence far out of proportion to their numbers.  I live in a county where around 66% of the population lives in urban settings, just 34% rural.  And a coupe of years back I looked the the composition of the (unitary) county's cabinet, noting that 18 out of 19 represented rural wards.  In Melksham, five out of six wards are urban in character, yet three out of six of the public "area board" meetings are held away form the centre - explained to me to "make sure we include the villages".

But the "country squires" if you call them that are, indeed, far from the only ones who care for the countryside. Which comment aligns with my original comment.

I think it's probably a good idea to focus on grahame's stereotyping. With luck, it might even distract people's attention from the fact that Tony Berkeley's own 'dissenting report' has blown the anti-HS2 case so far out of the water that it's in danger of going into orbit.

Doing my best to stoke that fire, Red Squirrel!
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