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Author Topic: HS2 - the dissenting report  (Read 2429 times)
mjones
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« Reply #45 on: January 12, 2020, 02:03:05 pm »

The costs could be brought under control by changing the rather stupid procurement model that forces the contractors to heavily over-engineer, for example, the earthworks so that they are not subject to even minor settlement.  Routine maintenance of the structures would be a much cheaper way of dealing with that, but if you want to avoid it you are essentially asking for a viaduct rather than an embankment. 

Quite. This is a fundamental point that isn't as well known as it should be.  It seems to be driven by the Treasury misconception that it makes sense for all risks relating to future coststo be transferred to the private sector, as demonstrated by the ludicrous cost of so many PFI schemes.
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TonyK
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« Reply #46 on: January 12, 2020, 02:13:23 pm »

On the subject of politics, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street was interviewed recently on Radio 4. His views on HS2 were asked, at which point I began to think he had read my previous posts on the subject. He sees is absolutely crucial to the development of the area, with the uncertainty of the present mood being harmful. Scrapping HS2 would be a disaster for the West Midlands, and also for the northern regions. The other significant Mayor up in those frozen wastes, Andy Burnham, sees it in the same way, saying that in effect the idea of the northern powerhouse completely depends on HS2 happening. It isn't just the fast journey to London but the freeing up of space on the WCML for more local passenger services and, crucially, for freight. It would also surely bring about improvements from Manchester to Liverpool and Leeds. Manchester Piccadilly to Leeds takes over an hour on most trains, despite the distance between the two cities being less than the length of the Central Line.

Public opinion isn't just what makes the most noise. Part of the tragedy of HS2 is that it goes through some of the nicest, and therefore most expensive, bits of countryside around. If it was going only through industrial wastelands, there would be no word said against it. In Blackpool, Bristol, and Bognor Regis, it matters not one jot. Along the route, it matters a lot for bad reasons, but in the places it will join up, it is keenly awaited.
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Now, please!
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #47 on: January 12, 2020, 02:23:11 pm »

through

...or, to a significant degree, under! And for fear or repeating the point ad nauseam, HS2 may not serve these places with high speed trains but it'll certainly free paths on their local lines.
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #48 on: January 12, 2020, 04:09:54 pm »

Quote
Graham Heasman commented: “Each step of this project has had costs underestimated and benefits overestimated. We are now being told by the boss of HS2 that likely costs will be north of £80 billion (initial estimates were £36 billion) but with a projected completion date of 2040 (pushed back from 2033) the benefit-cost ratio is diminishing with each announcement.”
Seeing engineering (and other) projects solely through the lens of accounting is a big problem. It reduces everything to what can be counted in financial terms, and can be counted now. The future and all qualities without financial numbers are ignored.

This isn't an argument for or against HS2 but for thinking of what we actually want from projects.
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ellendune
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« Reply #49 on: January 12, 2020, 06:52:40 pm »

Seeing engineering (and other) projects solely through the lens of accounting is a big problem. It reduces everything to what can be counted in financial terms, and can be counted now. The future and all qualities without financial numbers are ignored.

This isn't an argument for or against HS2 but for thinking of what we actually want from projects.

If HS2 works it could lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions*, by transferring air and road passengers to rail and by allowing the capacity freed up on the classic lines to be used to transfer freight from road to rail.   

* Assuming decarbonisation of the electricity grid
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #50 on: January 12, 2020, 07:22:38 pm »

Seeing engineering (and other) projects solely through the lens of accounting is a big problem. It reduces everything to what can be counted in financial terms, and can be counted now. The future and all qualities without financial numbers are ignored.

This isn't an argument for or against HS2 but for thinking of what we actually want from projects.

If HS2 works it could lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions*, by transferring air and road passengers to rail and by allowing the capacity freed up on the classic lines to be used to transfer freight from road to rail.   

* Assuming decarbonisation of the electricity grid
That sounds like a good thing. But it's difficult to put a monetary value on; any value we do ascribe to it is arbitrary; and it's still good regardless of that figure.
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onthecushions
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« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2020, 09:19:08 pm »


It does not seem to have been discussed but removing the premium business traffic from the existing IC network would also remove the income stream that provides for the upkeep of that system. A rump of stopping and semi-fast services would soon lead to economies and shrinkage.

While I appreciate the capacity issue (assuming the inflating bubble doesn't burst) and the value of TGV's, I don't think that the option of extra LGV lines alongside but not interfering with existing lines, tunnelled or with deviations to ease curves or avoid settlements has been properly considered alongside the over specified, risk averse HS2. As an example, AIUI, a mere two high speed tracks need a band of about 200' of land acquisition, extensive tunnelling and viaducts etc etc.

HS2 probably means no high speed trains.

Unfortunately Berkeley seems correct.

OTC
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #52 on: January 13, 2020, 11:14:51 am »


It does not seem to have been discussed but removing the premium business traffic from the existing IC network would also remove the income stream that provides for the upkeep of that system. A rump of stopping and semi-fast services would soon lead to economies and shrinkage.

While I appreciate the capacity issue (assuming the inflating bubble doesn't burst) and the value of TGV's, I don't think that the option of extra LGV lines alongside but not interfering with existing lines, tunnelled or with deviations to ease curves or avoid settlements has been properly considered alongside the over specified, risk averse HS2. As an example, AIUI, a mere two high speed tracks need a band of about 200' of land acquisition, extensive tunnelling and viaducts etc etc.

HS2 probably means no high speed trains.

Unfortunately Berkeley seems correct.

OTC

Here in Bristol it seems very clear that running high(ish) speed trains along existing lines seriously limits the scope for local services. Since the December 2019 timetable change, we have fewer cross-city trains in Bristol and no direct daytime trains from Lawrence Hill or Stapleton Road to Bristol Parkway because 'premium business traffic' (in the form of London-bound IETs) has been prioritised over all else.

Campaigns to open new stations at Wootton Bassett, Coalpit Heath, St Anne's Park, Saltford and Corsham, or to provide a meaningful service at Pilning, or to reopen the Thornbury branch to passengers, are all to a greater or lesser extent held back by pathing issues. If it wasn't for all these trains, we could have a train service.

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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #53 on: January 13, 2020, 04:57:14 pm »

I have moved subsequent posts about the Bristol area to a new topic at http://www.firstgreatwestern.info/coffeeshop/index.php?topic=22749.msg280194#msg280194
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 11:16:31 pm by Red Squirrel » Logged
ChrisB
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« Reply #54 on: January 14, 2020, 09:21:39 am »

It's that word 'ancient'... Surely the trackbed of the Great Central as it runs past an old council tip cannot, by any stretch of anyone's imagination, be considered to be ancient woodland?

You would be surprised how quickly a section of ex-railway becomes a stronghold of nature, if not "ancient".  Not the only example - look to the issues that the Kent and East Sussex Railway has had getting the trackbed from Robertsbridge to Junction Road (about 4km out)

And therein lies the rub - newly-planted woodland can very quickly become 'established' woodland which quite quickly can become 'ancient' in characteristics. So if HS2 does plant replacement trees (at least one-for-one) in new woodland, it will quite quickly replace ancient woodland and go on to be as environmentally friendly as the removed anncient woodland. The antis need to realise & accept progress.

Also, in this case, the total number of hectares affected are pretty miniscule in the full scene of ancient woodland.

If people are content to built new roads, then new railways are more environmentally friendy!
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Bmblbzzz
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« Reply #55 on: January 14, 2020, 10:23:03 am »

The antis need to realise & accept progress.
Skimming through, I thought that was demanding unprecedented global awareness from our six-legged friends. Then realised I'd missed a letter.  Roll Eyes
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Red Squirrel
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« Reply #56 on: January 14, 2020, 10:59:15 am »

It's that word 'ancient'... Surely the trackbed of the Great Central as it runs past an old council tip cannot, by any stretch of anyone's imagination, be considered to be ancient woodland?

You would be surprised how quickly a section of ex-railway becomes a stronghold of nature, if not "ancient".  Not the only example - look to the issues that the Kent and East Sussex Railway has had getting the trackbed from Robertsbridge to Junction Road (about 4km out)

And therein lies the rub - newly-planted woodland can very quickly become 'established' woodland which quite quickly can become 'ancient' in characteristics. So if HS2 does plant replacement trees (at least one-for-one) in new woodland, it will quite quickly replace ancient woodland and go on to be as environmentally friendly as the removed anncient woodland. The antis need to realise & accept progress.

Also, in this case, the total number of hectares affected are pretty miniscule in the full scene of ancient woodland.

If people are content to built new roads, then new railways are more environmentally friendy!

'Ancient' in this context is a defined term:

Quote
Ancient woods are areas of woodland that have persisted since 1600 in England and Wales, and 1750 in Scotland.
Source: Woodland Trust

...which rather rules out the Beeching Forest.

The Woodland Trust go on to say:

Quote
Ancient woods are irreplaceable. We can’t replace the complex biodiversity of ancient woods which has accumulated over hundreds of years. Many species that thrive in ancient woodland are slow to colonise new areas. All ancient woodlands are unique, and are distinctive of their locality.

Once what little we have left is gone, it’s gone for good.

...so that's a very good reason to think long and hard before destroying it. The Lower Thames Crossing road scheme, for example, will destroy almost as much (real) ancient woodland in its 23km route as HS2.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #57 on: January 14, 2020, 11:14:15 am »

hmmm - definitions supplied by those with an inherant interest in the same.

So every ancient woodland is different? And why an arbitary date of 1600? So trees planted in 1601, 1610 & 1650 don't count? And if not now, why not in 20 years time when they are possibly as old then as 1600 tress are now? Doesn't make sense.
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stuving
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« Reply #58 on: January 14, 2020, 01:06:08 pm »

hmmm - definitions supplied by those with an inherant interest in the same.

So every ancient woodland is different? And why an arbitary date of 1600? So trees planted in 1601, 1610 & 1650 don't count? And if not now, why not in 20 years time when they are possibly as old then as 1600 tress are now? Doesn't make sense.

The original idea of "ancient woodland" was that it had never been felled by man (or nature, come to that) so would date back to the post-ice-age reforestation. You can look at a bit of woodland and try to work out how old it is, but that would lead to a circular definition. There are no historical records going that far back, and 1600 is an arbitrary cut-off based on when records become available for most of the country.

Being arbitrary is just what happens if you are asked to define things, especially if it's partly for the benefit of officialdom. Otherwise you can only be woolly, and they don't like (or, more importantly, respect) that.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2020, 02:02:46 pm by stuving » Logged
Red Squirrel
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« Reply #59 on: January 14, 2020, 01:25:25 pm »

hmmm - definitions supplied by those with an inherant interest in the same.

Yup. So by the Woodland Trust's own definition, Calvert Junction Jubilee is not ancient. You could call it 'pretty' or 'biodiverse' or 'in the way', but you can't call it 'ancient'.
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