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Friday, April 3, 2020

HS2 – A Railway for 2300

HS2 is a people project with added technology, that’s the view of the project’s technical director Andrew McNaughton.

HS2 will reduce journey times, it will relieve pressure from the West Coast Main Line – one of Europe’s busiest mixed-use rail corridors – and Britain’s growing cities will reap substantial economic benefits from quicker journey times.

But ultimately, HS2 will be built for people, giving passengers more time with their friends and family, more time to do what they want.

“HS2 gives you your life back. It stops you dying,” said Andrew McNaughton.

McNaughton took up the role of technical director in 2012, joining from Network Rail where he was chief engineer. The tall, thin-framed engineer from Leeds has become a fervent proponent of the project.

“I’ve been with HS2 over six years now, since the very start,” said McNaughton.

At the beginning it was all about capacity and journey time, “a very railway thing,” said McNaughton.

“Then the value of reliability and dependability came in. Slowly but surely people realised it’s not as much what HS2 is but what it can do.”

The Y-shaped network will cover around 550 track kilometres, linking the majority of the UK’s major metropolitan centres. High-speed trains will run through to places like Liverpool, Carlisle, Newcastle and Glasgow.

All major parties backed the initial parliamentary bill by 350 votes to 34 in the Commons on 31 October 2013, paving the way for construction to begin on Phase One in 2017 ready for the first train in 2026.

Hitachi 001_HS2_black_final_07052014 [online]
Hitachi’s HS2 concept design.

Railway of the Future

Around the world, trains are getting faster and countries are acknowledging the benefits of high-speed rail.

In Italy, the maximum operating speed on the national network will soon increase to 360 km/h (225 mph) with the introduction of Italian State Railway’s newest train – the Frecciarossa 1000.

The Frecciarossa 1000 is Europe’s fastest production train, capable of 400 km/h (250 mph). It includes many of the same modern features HS2 is proposing, including ERTMS level 2 signalling and remote condition monitoring. It provides a glimpse into what the HS2 rolling stock of the future could look like.

HS2 is likely to be built to accommodate speeds of 400 km/h, which would make it, by current standards, the fastest railway in Europe, if not the world.

It may have been dismissed initially but journey times do matter. That’s what McNaughton believes.

“Our aim is to give you your life back,” said McNaughton, addressing a packed Rail Exec Club meeting in Birmingham. “Because frankly, however well you’re using your journey, if you’re standing there because your train’s not frequent enough or late, what are you doing? You’re not living you’re life, you’re basically dying, so if I make you wait 10 minutes, you’re never going to get that 10 minutes back.”

Designing a railway with current technology when it won’t be completed until 2030 is a challenge.

“This railway is here forever. Not just for 2030 but 2300,” said McNaughton.

“You can look to the future but you can’t predict it,” he added. HS2 will be built anticipating future upgrades.

The project will make good use of smart technology. McNaughton talks of the ‘Wow!’ factor. Ticket barriers will be done away with, allowing direct access from street to seat. “I don’t want barriers,” he said. Passengers will know exactly which door to board on the 400-metre long trains. No time wasting wandering around and then waiting for barriers to open before joining the stampede.

IMG_1319
Frecciarossa 1000 in Milan.

“Innovation is a strong part of HS2, but it’s innovation for a purpose. So it’s not techies doing things for techies sake. You will see an awful lot of innovation on HS2, innovation in the way we use technology for the passenger experience. We hope to be ahead of the world.

“Our technical strategy is to use the latest proven technology. It’s too important a project for Britain that we use something that’s untried, untested, just crawling out the laboratory, but is the latest proven, we don’t want to use old stuff.”

Human Touch

The average age of HS2’s workforce is just 34. Women account for 43 per cent of the workforce. Many of the people who will help design, construct and operate HS2 are still in the classroom – some won’t have even begun to consider a career in rail.

“We’re certainly building careers,” said McNaughton. “The railway’s always a people business, it’s a human business. It’s used by humans, it’s operated by humans, it’s maintained by humans, it’s renewed by humans, it’s designed by humans and it affects humans. So it’s fundamentally a human business with added technology.”

A modern railway system is designed to be easy. But this doesn’t mean it needs to be a largely automated system, with little human interaction.

“The passengers want an emotional connection with people. They don’t want some people-less system.”

He added: “What you can say about the future is it will be different. We don’t necessarily know how. The point I continually make is that our people will be at the heart of what we do, which sounds kind of trite but it’s absolutely true.

Station Aerial [online]
Rendering of Birmingham’s Curzon Street HS2 station.

“It’s an exciting time because we’re big enough as a programme to change things… We’re big enough and a lot of our requirements that the government set out for us are that we are an exemplar… How we use technology, how we train people, the service it operates. We just want to redefine rail travel and leave something that people can then re-redefine in 30, 50, 60 years time.”

Removing barriers

HS2 is not a London-centric organisation. Birmingham will not only be the headquarters for HS2, it will be the site of the country’s main HS2 academy, the fleet will be maintained in Birmingham and Curzon Street station will give a boost to a tired corner of the city.

New railways have always faced barriers. HS2’s aim of creating a barrier-free station environment perhaps demonstrates its argument perfectly, removing barriers to growth and changing the way people think about rail travel.

49 COMMENTS

  1. Where do we start with this?

    Firstly the environment, something that seems to be ignored. This project will cause damage that will take at best 126 years before it become environmentally neutral, plus with power supplies likely to be tight over the next decade or so HS2 will require a power station by itself to run it. Why? Because the faster the train travels the more power it requires, at least four times that of present trains.
    Second is time saving. Most people are more than happy with the time it takes to get to London on the present WCML. From the Midlands it’s a little over an hour.
    How many cities will phase 1 & 2 connect directly? Just four, the others will have stations outside of the city or you will need to travel to the station between cities to get HS2.

    Third capacity. The Department of Transport were & still remain reluctant to release figures for the WCML. But a couple of years ago they were forced to release figures for peak hours leaving Euston.
    The trains were little more than half full. This compared to many other stations in London which are busting at the seams & yet little is being done it seems to solve their problems.
    Fourth, party support in Parliament. This is easy when most of those voting on the HS2 bills are not shown ALL the evidence. The National Audits Office, the Public Account Committee, the Lords Transport Committee & most damming of all is the vetoed Major Projects Reports from 2011 to present which David Cameron vetoed it’s release. One must ask if HS2 is so good for the country why so many reports are ignored or vetoed?
    Fifth, Now technology. Let’s remember that not twenty years ago the internet was a slow little thought of thing, today we all use it for searching & more & more video conferencing. In twenty years time where will HS2 be? There is already talk of computerised cars which will allow four times the amount of traffic on our roads & be able to go to where we want to go faster.
    Sixth, regions. It’s a known fact around the world that where high speed rail has been built it has been the capital city that has gained the most, not the regions. For politicians to say that it will regenerate the midlands & the north is tantamount to a lie. The only way to regenerate those regions is to build infrastructure in the regions, something that has not been done in years.
    So please don’t try to keep hoodwinking the public, they know better. All the surveys carried out have shown the vast majority of people don’t want HS2, instead they want the money spent of things like the NHS.

    • You flipping moron. Explain the carbon footprint from a jet aircraft engine covering the same distance? No fossil fueled wngine can produce the distances required by high speed electrical rail.

      • We are not talking about aircraft, we are talking about trains or have you not noticed?
        The fact is that this white elephant will destroy vast areas of countryside much of it irreplaceable & will consume far more energy that the trains running today.
        True aircraft consume & pollute the environment but we are NOT talking about aircraft. No airline runs a service between Birmingham & London unless you know something others don’t?

      • Yes. HS2 will relieve the many flights between Derby and London or Sheffield and Birmingham. What a great comparison you make.

    • It’s hard to think where to start with your ill thought out rant, but here goes.
      From day one when HS2 phase one opens, 39 towns and cities will have train services working on HS2 for all or part of it’s journey. Not 4 as you claim.

      Capacity. It’s train paths that is the important measure, not the number of seats occupied today on a few selected services. Your lot always ignore the issue of intermodal freight, the doubling and in two cases tripling of these services from all major ports, plus the addition of London Gateway traffic. There is a huge demand already for train paths to take these trains. so much so that it is squeezing passenger traffic paths and restricting expansion on the southern WCML now. To make HS2 viable 2% growth a year in passenger numbers was needed to meet the BCR. Growth has been between 4% and 6% a year every year in the last 10, apart from 2008 when it was only 3%. Freight has gone up constantly year on year. Demand is booming in the intermodal and automotive sectors for freight trains.

      Our current network was built to serve the centres of industry and our major ports. It therefore makes sense to keep the freight on those routes and make room by moving long distance high speed services onto purpose built lines where they do not have to compete with slower freight and commuter services. It is cheaper and quicker to build new than to adapt the current routes. Currently 125mph expresses have to mix in with 110mph stoppers, 75 mph intermodal freight and 60 mph heavy freight trains. All with different rates of acceleration and stopping patterns.

      Video conferencing has been around for years, people are travelling more than ever, the internet has not slowed traffic growth. The country with the World’s best internet speeds is currently building a network of high speed lines, even in South Korea, people are travelling in increasing numbers. UK rail travel numbers are far greater than even the most optimistic of forecasts made just 5 years ago. Half empty trains out of Euston at peak times? Total rubbish. They are rammed.

      HS2 offers immediate relief to WCML commuters in the shape of a 200% increase in the number of 12 coach commuter services from Rugby, Northampton, and Milton Keynes to London. Milton Keynes remember is a town destined to see a 50% increase in population by 2035. Large numbers commute to London and Birmingham area from there now, plus the reopened East-West (Oxford to Cambridge) route will intersect there as well.

      Computer controlled cars will still need to cope with capacity concerns on the motorway network. Given the increases in freight traffic from all those Ultra Large Cargo Vessels (ULCV) that are just starting to use our ports today, if rail capacity is not increased to cope, all those cars will be crawling along stuck behind lots of diesel spewing HGVs. Research is going well, but I very much doubt those lorries will be able to run the length of the country on batteries or fuel cells for many years to come.

      Linking infrastructure to the regions. Going by the arguments by so many of your ilk about it draining the regions wealth to London, well we’d better shut the M1, the M6 and the three main lines that HS2 is intended to relieve.

      Lords Transport Committee. It passed HS2, only 5 members decided to bring out their own minority report, usual suspects, three with their own personal agenda, all unelected, all long dead before it’s finished.

      Those voting in the elected part of the House did see ALL the evidence, much of it pored over in committee and all of it available in the library and debated at length.

      France, Japan , Korea, Spain, Italy, Germany, and many other nations have proved HS Rail enhances the spread of industry and innovation and subsequent employment to regions and does not drain wealth to capitals.

      We start digging in 21 months. HS2 is getting built and it will prove to be just as vital to the UK economy as the M1, M40, M25, HS1, and all the other main lines.

      • Your reply seem to me strange. For a start you talk about 39 towns and cities will have train services working on HS2 PHASE ONE! This is news to anyone who knows anything about HS2 as it is high speed between just London and Birmingham and if my figures are right that is just TWO not your THIRTY NINE. When I was talking about 4 cities connected by HS2 I’m talking about those with DIRECT links which are London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. All
        other don’t have a direct link, you need to travel outside the city to board
        the train. As for towns there are NO towns that are being connected by HS2.

        I still stand by the figure from the Department of Transport
        which clearly show that at peak time the WCML is little more than half full.
        PLEASE REMEMBER THESE ARE DfT FIGURES, NOT MINE so if you say they are ‘Total rubbish’ then its DfT and HS2 you need to contact . If it is freight that is
        the problem then why are we building a high speed line for passengers? surely
        it would make far more sense to build a line that is dedicated to freight which
        would not have to restrictions required for high speed i.e. going in a straight
        a line as possible.

        If we are looking at centres of industry HS2 does little to improve the situation as most of the industrial areas are in the Midlands and North i.e. Newcastle, Hull, Sunderland. Note that NONE of those in the North are being connected to HS2 apart from Leeds. The belated proposal of HS3 is a far better way of bringing the industrial areas together than HS2 can do in its current form.

        Video conferencing is still hampered by the poor speed that the internet operates on at this point in time but will clearly is starting to make a difference in who people communicate. Many job interviews these days are done via Skype, saving both time and expense in travel. Also a new way of transport in just starting to make it’s presents felt, that is the computer controlled car. This allowing a far greater capacity of traffic on ordinary roads. True South Korea has built high speed trains, but remember that South Korea has not had the heavy infrastructure of rail this country has. Nor is that country as crowded as England.

        HS2 will change the situation on the WCML but at the same time will make it more difficult for people who already use WCML to get to London. At present many people use the WCML link that goes north of Birmingham to travel to London. When HS2 phase one starts these services according to DfT will be drastically cut forcing those people to either travel to Birmingham New Street station and then continue to Curson Street before really starting their journey. Where is the time saving for all these people. Alternatively they would travel by car to London!

        Your comments on linking infrastructure to the regions and closing the M1 and M6 I think are best ignored.

        On the Lords Transport Committee to start with is an interesting set of figures in that since 2012 long distance travel has virtually gone to zero increase with local commuter growth continuing.

        Another interesting fact from the report was:

        Partial information on current railway usage, as well as uncertainty about future technological developments in automotive transport and working habits, makes it difficult to assess the plausibility of the Department’s forecasts of future demand for long-distance rail travel.

        Also

        Neither the Economic Case nor the supporting documentation published contains the number of passengers the model assumes will use HS2. It
        is also not clear how the model predicts which passengers will switch from
        existing transport modes to HS2 (see Box 3 for an example). We do know that the model assumes that fares on HS2 are the same as on the existing railway; it is unable to model the effect on demand for HS2 if there are differential fares.

        But still back to what the Lords actually concluded.

        According to the Committee, evidence on railway usage has not been disclosed by the government because of “commercial sensitivity”. It says this evidence shows that long distance trains in and out of Euston, the planned London terminus for HS2, are on average just 43% full and that overcrowding only occurs on Friday evenings and weekends on long-distance and London-bound commuter trains. Less costly alternatives to alleviate these problems have not been properly reviewed, it says.

        The report also points out that the main beneficiary of high speed rail projects in other countries, such as France, is the capital city. It suggests that improvements to the trans-Pennine rail links or building the northern legs of HS2 first, would help rebalance the economy better.

        The report adds that costs could also be reduced if the line runs slower – 200mph instead of the planned 250mph.

        In addition, the report says that the cost-benefit analysis for HS2 relies on
        out-of-date evidence, some dating back to 1994 and that “fresh evidence” should be provided before legislation that enables the construction of HS2 is passed.

        Lord Holick said: “The plausibility of the Government’s claim that there are current long distance capacity constraints and also its forecast of future passenger demand are difficult to assess without full access to current railway usage. The investment of £50bn investment of public money demands nothing less than full transparency.”

        As for other countries such as France and Spain. France is now halting future
        investment in high speed rail and in Spain they have now closed lines of high
        speed. As for the cities that have benefitted the most in countries around the
        world, it is a proven fact that it’s the capital cities. With London already
        overheating compared to the rest of the country is this what we really need?

        As for your dogged belief in a high speed rail line that will cost the earth
        (quite literally in places) and will certainly by itself not solve the overall
        transport problems this country faces nor link areas that need it is worrying.

        • Nothing strange, do you not understand the term ‘all or part’. Glasgow and Edinburgh services will run on HS2 on the southern part of their journey, Crewe is a town not a City, do I need to go on? Has it sunk in?
          I explained how it benefits freight and why we are building a passenger railway. You clearly have trouble understanding the basics. The current network goes where the freight needs to go, and we are in effect building a big bypass that will connect into the current network allowing services to use HS2 for sections of the journey.
          As for the figures they were all discredited by the Transport Committee hearings and some idiot called Rucking or Rukin tried to use them and made a laughing stock of himself and the stop hs2 campaign.
          HS lines cost only marginally more, fit more trains ‘down the pipe’ and free up more paths on the rest of the network. If it was to be a freight only line we’d have to build more of them.
          As for the comment about having to travel outside the city to board the train, they are regional hubs. Their hinterland is such that it would be a big disadvantage for the majority of users to have to battle their way into the centre of a city to get a train. That is why Meadowhall attracts so many people at the moment.

          • YOU remember quoting thirty nine towns and cities. Crewe is ONE.
            There is great doubt if HS2 will go to Scotland and even if it does it won’t be built until the 2050s, hardly immediate relief for the WCML in Scotland. Remember too that no plans exist at this point in time for HS2 to go beyond Manchester or Leeds with HS2 Ltd saying only a matter of weeks ago that there is no economic case for it. So please provide a full list of ALL the thirty nine towns and cities that HS2 will directly serve. Not those that it may or may not serve in the future or those where is sort of goes past e.g. Derby and Nottingham.
            Once you have provide this ‘list’ of thirty nine towns and cities that it supposed to directly serve then we’ll move on to the next part

          • You said it served only Cities, not towns. I’ve given you two so far. HS2 will go to the current planned terminus points where it joins the WCML at either Wigan or Crewe, and the ECML at Church Fenton just south of York, (it does not just terminate at Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham, a myth the luddites like to put about). HS2 and Network Rail produced the Connectivity Report which included draft timetables and a list of towns and cities planned to have services which used HS2 for all or part of it’s journey.
            The Station at Sandiacre serves Derby, Nottingham and East Midlands Airport. Services from the South West will also be able to use HS2 from the West Midlands to destinations in the NW and NE, so you could add places such as Plymouth, Exeter and Bristol as destinations for trains on HS2.
            As for moving on to the next part there is little point. You have no interest in facts and despite clear explanations difficulty in understanding plain written English. Here is the basic list of towns and cities that will enjoy access to services using HS2 for all or part of it’s journey.

            AYR

            BERWICK

            BIRMINGHAM

            BLACKPOOL

            BRADFORD

            CARLISLE

            CHESTER

            CREWE

            DARLINGTON

            DERBY

            DUNBAR

            DURHAM

            EDINBURGH

            GLASGOW

            HARROGATE

            HAYMARKET

            LANCASTER

            LEEDS

            LIVERPOOL

            MANCHESTER

            MIDDLESBOROUGH

            MORPETH

            NEWCASTLE

            NOTTINGHAM

            OXENHOLME

            PENRITH

            PRESTON

            SCARBOROUGH

            SHEFFIELD

            SHREWSBURY

            SKIPTON

            STIRLING

            SUNDERLAND

            WAKEFIELD

            WARRINGTON

            WIGAN

            WINDERMERE

            WOLVERHAMPTON

            YORK

          • Crazy! most of these towns & cities are NOT directly connected or served by HS2.

            Let me repeat. I asked you for TOWNS & CITIES directly SERVED by HS2. To put Stirling on the list, which is in Scotland where HS2 stops at Leeds & Manchester is stupid.

            If you have ever looked on a map for HS2 phase 2 you will NOT see Stirling unless someone has moved it! It does not even get to York but stops short. And the government has never said it would serve most of the towns & cities you have decided to put on the list.

            If we go by your interpretation of cities & towns served by HS2 then we might just as well put Brussels & Paris on it as well.

            So please stop stretching the so called benefits of HS2 to places which won’t be served by HS2.

          • They are directly served. You do not have to get off the trains from those places to run on HS2.
            You are simply a waste of time.
            That is the end of the discussion.
            By the way, I’m helping design it. Watch your blood pressure.

          • So let me get this right. You are saying that HS2 directly serves ALL 39 towns and cities?
            so by what you are saying HS2 will go directly to say Stirling In Scotlan. That is how people are reading your replies. And now you say you are designing it!
            I wonder where it will end up with you saying it’s going to al. those places? Does the Transport Secretary know this? And what about the cost of HS2 as you say going DIRECT to all these towns and cities?
            Clearly as has been said before HS2 does NOT go directly to anywhere near to all those towns and cities. You maybe able to get to them part of the way by using HS2 but not direct. You will need to change from HS2.I know hope you get it.

          • No, there WILL be direct services, it’s one of the benefits of building on a proven and effective technology. ‘Classic-compatible’ 200m trainsets will travel seamlessly onto the mainline, whilst two units can couple to enable full capacity on HS2. Potential for many different destinations not limited by a captive network.

          • Will HS2 itself actually travel to Stirling?
            NO. There are no plans for HS2 to go to Stirling and most of the other towns and cities mentioned earlier.
            You will need to change from HS2 to another train.

          • Did you not read my comment? Trains will transfer to the existing mainlines! More of the aforementioned destinations will be opened up as the new line progresses.

          • Here we go again.
            You therefore are saying that HS2 itself will go and stop at ALL those towns and cities mentioned earlier. YES OR NO?
            If yes, this is news to the DfT as they have never said this. Plus the fact that HS2 is supposed to be high speed and will only stop at a handful of places.
            If no then why are you including all these towns and cities. Apart from making HS2 sound as if it is going to more places than it actually does.

          • No, clearly the HS2 trunk route will not serve each and every one. Perhaps that list is a tad excessive, however these are towns and cities which will BENEFIT from high-speed, either through direct services to Birmingham or London, or the capacity made available for enhancement of inter-regional services.

          • So WHY put a list that is SO misleading in the first place.
            This clearly has been the case with pro HS2 people from the beginning, exaggerating the so called benefits of this vanity project to justify the huge expense this country could face if it ever goes ahead.
            Would you therefore stop using these towns and cities list in future and just use those that have DIRECT connection with HS2.

          • The plan has not changed one iota. Clearly you need to read the documents to understand .

            Read this page, and the downloads.

            //www.networkrail.co.uk/improvements/high-speed-rail/

          • StopTheWhiteElephant obviously does not understand the fact that people will be able to board a high speed train in, say, Liverpool which will then travel DIRECT to London, joining HS2 at Crewe. So, no doubt you have given up trying to explain that passengers will not have to change trains en-route.

          • If I get on a coach in Bristol to go to Scotland and it uses the M5 to get there, the M5 is serving traffic to Edinburgh. I do not have to change to another coach at the end of the M5. HS2 is no different, the trains will run on HS2 and the current network to serve all those places, and as Network Rail have said lots of others besides. It is not a difficult thing to grasp, except it seems for you.
            First construction contract bids submitted on Monday 22nd June.

          • Yes they have. The proposed timetables have been published and in the public domain. HS2 is simply a part of the overall network, it is not a standalone line which the ignorant antis like to portray.

            It will have junctions allowing trains to leave and join it at various points. As I have already mentioned, such as Church Fenton. You will be able to get on a train in Edinburgh, run down the ECML, then just south of York run onto HS2 and continue south at 200mph. No different to anywhere else in the World where HS trains come off the HS lines to serve locations away from the line itself.

            Try to read and digest what is written.

          • No you will not. The trains on HS2 will be perfectly capable of crossing a junction, such as that at Church Fenton, and continuing up the East Coast Main Line to all points North.

          • You have lost the argument. With saying HS2 will go to places it will never go to. Like Shrewsbury. So forget it and get real that HS2 what ever you may say if it ever happens won’t go to the vast majority of places on your fictious list.

          • The WCML in Scotland as well as the ECML in Scotland is not congested in the same way as they, and the MML are in England. The ECML south of York and WCML south of Warrington are.

  2. “HS2 will give me my life back”. What a load of tosh!!! 99% of the people in this country won’t ever use it. How dare you waste taxpayers money on such a stupid project. HS2 has actually taken my life away… My home and my family have a big black cloud hanging over us. We can’t sell our home because of it and therefore we have to bow and scrape to the government yes the government ,all this HS2 story that it’s nothing to do with the government is rubbish, to buy our home. Of course Mr McNaughton thinks it’s a good idea he’s getting a whopping salary out of thinking its a good idea.

          • China needs HSR because of the vast distances there are to cover.
            Elsewhere in Europe France is cutting back on investment while Spain is closing lines.

          • The thing is we need at this time of austerity to invest were we get the best return.
            And HS2 according to the vast majority of independent experts is not the best way to go.
            If it was then why is this government suppressing and vetoing reports that show HS2 is not the way to go.

          • Poaching is a real problem in Africa today. Any attempt to stop any elephant is reprehensible and should be fought with any means at our disposal.
            White elephants have a particular place in Asian culture, especially in Thailand. The rulers of that country currently have four, none of them actually white but certainly paler than the norm. Poaching of white elephants is not usually a problem as they are so rare.

          • What you failed to mention is a white elephant was given to an obnoxious person the kings didn’t like, therefore ruining that person with the cost of keeping it.
            Reminds so many people in this country of HS2. A vanity project given to the people of England by those who won’t listen to reason.

          • That was not always the case, otherwise why would the current ruler have four for himself?
            Comparing a white elephant to HS2 is missing the point entirely, both concerning the elephants and also HS2. One is a valued possession and a gift. The other is an essential piece of infrastructure that the country will badly need over the next forty years. It is just a shame that the legal process takes so long as it would be better built earlier.

          • That though is the basis of what is a white elephant.
            Having 4 of them now don’t change the saying of a white elephant. It still means the same when you say it to people.
            Also you say that HS2 is essential to the infrastructure of this country when other less expensive alternatives have been ignored or suppressed. Which in a time of austerity should be carefully considered.

          • There are no viable alternatives. The West Coast Main Line Capacity Improvement Scheme (which the Government dubbed HS2) is the only possibility to keep the West Midlands and the North West within reach of London and vice versa.
            It also must be remembered that there are other enhancements going on as well – HS2 is just one project and, year on year, not even the most expensive.
            EGIP in Scotland, the Welsh Valley Lines, the possible Okehampton route to West Devon and Cornwall, Manchester-Leeds, the East-West rail link, Crossrail 2 – these are all viable projects which will enhance the rail network over the next 5-10 years.

    • Not really. The line is being designed around AGV, the prototypes are currently running. Similarly capable trains by Hitachi and Siemens are in the final design stage. They can run on either the current network or on dedicated HS lines. So could enter service before HS2 is finished. That could probably be a good move as with any new design there will be things that need ‘shaking down’. HS2 building begins in just 21 months. It took 9 years for the French to get TGV trains into service and AGV is a step change again from them.

  3. Well the cat’s out of the bag. with Network Rail over spends & cut backs to (before the General Election) promises of £38.5 billion.
    Not only this, those who were at Network Rail when all this was going on are now going to HS2!!!!
    One wonders what wondererful over spends they will be able to muster there. And by the way for 2014/15 HS2 is 30% over budget. What a grant place for them to be. Yet on ploughs HS2 with no cuts with the likes of the ECML cut & no trans-pennine promises rail link.
    Still it all good news for London.
    And just after all this news broke the DfT silently tried to slip out the vetoed MPA reports for 2011/2 showing what a gigantic mess HS2 really is with little grasp of the costs. As a HS2 insider said “There is no doubt it’s in a bad place.”
    Surely now is the time to stop this madness and look at the whole of the rail infrastructure again.

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FirstClass Safety & Control, a company which specialises in protection and control systems for railway depots, has had a double accreditation success...

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