HS2, whats the current status ?

HS2, whats the current status ?

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Discussion

Blue62

3,822 posts

97 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
RacerMike said:
Is that not really short sighted though? Sure, you can spend that money elsewhere in the short and medium term, but longer term, would the cost to the economy not actually be much greater due to a lack of high speed links?

And the elephant in the room is of course the discussion about the environment. I know a good number on here are full blown 'climate change is a conspiracy' believers, but ignoring that for a moment, if the report today regarding more people needing to give up their cars to achieve the emissions targets is to be believed, how are we going to do that without significant investment in public transport.

Put it this way....if we had better public transport links that enabled me to travel to and from most locations in the country in a broadly similar amount of time to driving (say within 150%) and it was the same or cheaper to do so, I would have no need for a daily. I'd be quite happy to give up my Fiesta for a train if I could....
Not sure why you consider canning a project that will never represent an ROI is short sighted, apologies if I've misunderstood you. I'm simply suggesting that the money could be spent more effectively elsewhere on infrastructure projects that will give a return. A Pennine route is an obvious choice, better links into the South West would also boost that region and so on. The trains don't have to travel at 250mph, a good modern rail system across the regions will, IMO, do more for our environment and economy than one stupid fast link to Birmingham that will soak up most of the budget for years to come.

biggles330d

246 posts

95 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
They should just get on and build the thing. If victorian Britain had taken the same attitude as is taken today we'd be a very backward nation today.

Part of the problem as I see is that it runs through bits of leafy London and the suburbs but doesn't bring direct benefit to these people. Well, there's no way of getting into London without creating these access corridors, and little real value from the line in terms of speed and journey time for the North if it has to keep stopping everywhere.

There's lots of hand-wringing that the South East and London are full (note I say that bit, not the whole of the UK, because much of the UK very much isn't full, its just there's a lot of people who all for some reason want to squeeze into the same corner and then moan about it). My criticism of HS2 is the hypothesis that people will access the North more easily. I think its far more likely to make London more accessible and encourage more people to come south making the place even more congested unless it is delivered in coordination with infrastructure in the Northern-Powerhouse mindset as a an opportunity to really create a balancing economic force to London.

However, if it needs a business case of any sort and political backing then the thing has to involve London simply due to current demographics and London-centric political and decision making. I'd rather they started on the Liverpool - Manchester - Newcastle corridor where there is tangible need for much better infrastructure but most DfT civil servants and politicians can barely see the M25 never mind what's beyond it and where 'value for money' is involved there's no escape that anything to do with London will always show a better return, which doesn't necessarily make it the right answer as it creates a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Our railway network is full, especially the West Coast Main Line. Fact. We've squeezed and squeezed capacity to the point where the slightest issue causes terrible disruption - we've gone beyond the point of resilience. Part of HS2's problem is it's been sold as a TGV-like high profile high speed solution when in a country as small as ours it should have been positioned as a capacity solution, like adding an M6 Toll route which will take the pressure off the network and provide resiliency and the potential for improved journey times as you can better handle stopping and express passenger services and freight services.
We don't need 225 mph, we probably need much better ability for limited stop 140mph services - comfortably quicker than the road alternative.

I'm probably no different to any other person, but if I'm going from London to Birmingham or Manchester, I've blocked out a morning or afternoon to travel. Saving 40 or 50 minutes would make bugger all real difference to most people. Only a tiny fraction will be powerfully built directors who absolutely need to get there faster. But they can work on the train anyway, so what time is lost anyhow?? Most people I see on these services are family's, students, people on leisure journeys or middle managers and project people who are either on their laptop working anyway or taking the time out to enjoy the passing scenery. Very few appear to be clock-watchers itching to arrive a few minutes earlier.

I don't buy the whole need for a business case on this sort of infrastructure. It's either 'a good and necessary thing' or not. We're still extracting amazing value from investment made in a network built by the Victorians and I doubt they gave much thought to how it might be used in 2019. Once it's there its unlikely to go away and society and opportunity will grow around it. Any business case based on 50 or 60 years return is nonsense.
And look at our motorway network. Much of our society and supply chain efficiency has been built around a network conceived in the 40's-50's where there were vastly fewer cars and journeys. No business case would have really stood up then either, but it got built and we've adapted to it. Without it today we couldn't function.

So, stop faffing, get on with it. Slow the speed down, reposition it as a capacity project and make damn sure the northern bit gets built else the thing will become nothing more than a drain to London from Manchester and Leeds, and that would be a travesty.

stuckmojo

2,007 posts

133 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
Lily the Pink said:
Part of the answer would be to reduce demand for travel, particularly within and into the crowded southeast where many commuters spend an hour and a half (or more) travelling each way to and from work. Government departments should have specific targets as to how many of their staff and offices should be outside London.
Good point. Scrap it and lower NI for employers who locate workers remotely/at home with some benefit for the employee too. Boost local community, decongest cities and so on.

Vaud

33,162 posts

100 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
stuckmojo said:
Lily the Pink said:
Part of the answer would be to reduce demand for travel, particularly within and into the crowded southeast where many commuters spend an hour and a half (or more) travelling each way to and from work. Government departments should have specific targets as to how many of their staff and offices should be outside London.
Good point. Scrap it and lower NI for employers who locate workers remotely/at home with some benefit for the employee too. Boost local community, decongest cities and so on.
Very good point. Sure, many places do need people to be present. Many don't and are stuck in a "presentee culture" despite having much of the technology they need to balance home/office working. Civil service and quasi-civil service are the worst offenders in my experience.

ALawson

6,895 posts

196 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
I work in construction and even in that sector there has been an appreciation that working from home isn't that disruptive. There are plenty of cloud based options now for file sharing, Skye etc. that means people don't need to be in the office. There is also now more focus on well being and mental health which are challenging the amount of time people spend commuting and spending in the office.

I think HS2 are trying to build the project with people only working 37hrs a week with no opt out. They have plenty of other initiatives which have grown off the back of those on Crossrail which add more paperwork and process to an already complex undertaking.

Obviously the people pulling the levers. pouring concrete, laying track and fitting out stations need to be on site but there is a growing swing about people all having to be in the office the whole time.

I work for one of the contractors involved in HS2 and there is growing concern about when things will kick off on the main works. Early works are continuing but there are large teams waiting for permission for main works to continue. They have been treading water for at least a year which now looks like it has been extended another 4 months (that's assuming the review is completed this year).


Digga

27,511 posts

228 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
RacerMike said:
And the elephant in the room is of course the discussion about the environment. I know a good number on here are full blown 'climate change is a conspiracy' believers, but ignoring that for a moment...
I'm neither a denier nor zealot, and certainly think it wise to conserve resources, however, if you think the UK can:
  1. Increase it's population as it has done over the last decades, whislt also
  2. Not building major roads as it has done for the last few decades
Then you are a sock-sandal wearing fruitcake.

RacerMike said:
...if the report today regarding more people needing to give up their cars to achieve the emissions targets is to be believed, how are we going to do that without significant investment in public transport.
Just like those academic twits who are blissfully unaware of how few of us are able to live in hermetically-sealed, cycle-friendly bubble, like they do. Less still aware of how their existence depends on the vast, daily movement of goods, services and professions.

gregs656

3,772 posts

126 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
Digga said:
ll the major EU democracies have built more miles of motorway then the UK for decades.

HTH: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_motorwa...
Those figures don’t provide a full picture. Look at the population density and value of land in Spain, France or Italy. Even Germany has a lot more space. They also (fairly obviously) Need to lay a lot more road to actually connect places.

I am not a fan of HS2 and would gladly see it scrapped but I think there is a bigger need to get major infrastructure projects moving and IMO they need to be less political. I don’t know exactly how you would do it.

Digga

27,511 posts

228 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
gregs656 said:
Digga said:
ll the major EU democracies have built more miles of motorway then the UK for decades.

HTH: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_of_motorwa...
Those figures don’t provide a full picture. Look at the population density and value of land in Spain, France or Italy. Even Germany has a lot more space. They also (fairly obviously) Need to lay a lot more road to actually connect places.

I am not a fan of HS2 and would gladly see it scrapped but I think there is a bigger need to get major infrastructure projects moving and IMO they need to be less political. I don’t know exactly how you would do it.
The figures paint a clear and appalling picture. In fact, with a denser population, the lack of building - yes perhaps outright miles of distance which need to be linked are less - the effects of a lack of building are even worse.

As anyone who regularly drives in Europe to compare and contrast their journeys on UK roads compared to continental roads. It is IME over decades, nearly always worse on this side of the channel.

The UK is haemorrhaging productivity, and I'd wager a significant chunk of that is due to important goods and people stuck in traffic on journeys that no amount of public transport could ever hope to link up.

P5BNij

4,008 posts

51 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
biggles330d said:
They should just get on and build the thing. If victorian Britain had taken the same attitude as is taken today we'd be a very backward nation today.

Part of the problem as I see is that it runs through bits of leafy London and the suburbs but doesn't bring direct benefit to these people. Well, there's no way of getting into London without creating these access corridors, and little real value from the line in terms of speed and journey time for the North if it has to keep stopping everywhere.

There's lots of hand-wringing that the South East and London are full (note I say that bit, not the whole of the UK, because much of the UK very much isn't full, its just there's a lot of people who all for some reason want to squeeze into the same corner and then moan about it). My criticism of HS2 is the hypothesis that people will access the North more easily. I think its far more likely to make London more accessible and encourage more people to come south making the place even more congested unless it is delivered in coordination with infrastructure in the Northern-Powerhouse mindset as a an opportunity to really create a balancing economic force to London.

However, if it needs a business case of any sort and political backing then the thing has to involve London simply due to current demographics and London-centric political and decision making. I'd rather they started on the Liverpool - Manchester - Newcastle corridor where there is tangible need for much better infrastructure but most DfT civil servants and politicians can barely see the M25 never mind what's beyond it and where 'value for money' is involved there's no escape that anything to do with London will always show a better return, which doesn't necessarily make it the right answer as it creates a self-fulfilling prophesy.

Our railway network is full, especially the West Coast Main Line. Fact. We've squeezed and squeezed capacity to the point where the slightest issue causes terrible disruption - we've gone beyond the point of resilience. Part of HS2's problem is it's been sold as a TGV-like high profile high speed solution when in a country as small as ours it should have been positioned as a capacity solution, like adding an M6 Toll route which will take the pressure off the network and provide resiliency and the potential for improved journey times as you can better handle stopping and express passenger services and freight services.
We don't need 225 mph, we probably need much better ability for limited stop 140mph services - comfortably quicker than the road alternative.

I'm probably no different to any other person, but if I'm going from London to Birmingham or Manchester, I've blocked out a morning or afternoon to travel. Saving 40 or 50 minutes would make bugger all real difference to most people. Only a tiny fraction will be powerfully built directors who absolutely need to get there faster. But they can work on the train anyway, so what time is lost anyhow?? Most people I see on these services are family's, students, people on leisure journeys or middle managers and project people who are either on their laptop working anyway or taking the time out to enjoy the passing scenery. Very few appear to be clock-watchers itching to arrive a few minutes earlier.

I don't buy the whole need for a business case on this sort of infrastructure. It's either 'a good and necessary thing' or not. We're still extracting amazing value from investment made in a network built by the Victorians and I doubt they gave much thought to how it might be used in 2019. Once it's there its unlikely to go away and society and opportunity will grow around it. Any business case based on 50 or 60 years return is nonsense.
And look at our motorway network. Much of our society and supply chain efficiency has been built around a network conceived in the 40's-50's where there were vastly fewer cars and journeys. No business case would have really stood up then either, but it got built and we've adapted to it. Without it today we couldn't function.

So, stop faffing, get on with it. Slow the speed down, reposition it as a capacity project and make damn sure the northern bit gets built else the thing will become nothing more than a drain to London from Manchester and Leeds, and that would be a travesty.
Well said Biggles - I drive trains on the West Coast Mainline and the capacity is already at bursting point, I see it with my mk1 eyeballs almost daily. I also drive on the Midland line between London and Leicestershire, and part of the ex-Great Western route south of Birmingham to Oxford, these too are incredibly busy and not just during the morning and evening peaks. The investment in re-quadrupling the Midland route between Sharnbrook Junction and Kettering North Junction tells you all you need to know about adding capacity and operational flexibility.

gregs656

3,772 posts

126 months

Thursday 22nd August
quotequote all
Digga said:
The figures paint a clear and appalling picture. In fact, with a denser population, the lack of building - yes perhaps outright miles of distance which need to be linked are less - the effects of a lack of building are even worse.

As anyone who regularly drives in Europe to compare and contrast their journeys on UK roads compared to continental roads. It is IME over decades, nearly always worse on this side of the channel.

The UK is haemorrhaging productivity, and I'd wager a significant chunk of that is due to important goods and people stuck in traffic on journeys that no amount of public transport could ever hope to link up.
I completely agree with you on the consequences of inaction, but I think the attitude that generates the inaction is not a uniquely British.

It should be absolutely no surprise to anyone that driving in large countries with low population density and any kind of road network what so ever is preferable to driving on congested roads.

Now go into a major city and see how they get on. I would happily put money down that there have been ideas floated for decades to solve transport issues in any major European city that have never quite managed to get off the ground because it just gets that much more complicated politically and no one really wants to die on that hill.


Amateurish

6,023 posts

167 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
I think the political reality is that any major investment in public transport is only palatable if it directly benefits London. Crossrail is massively over budget and hugely delayed, but there has never been any doubt that it will be completed.

Digga

27,511 posts

228 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
If you follow the Twitter feeds for the M6 and M1, and the traffic police, the routine gridlock is appalling. The whole system is so overloaded that almost any and every incident has anything from significant to catastrophic effects on hundreds of thousands of journey times, not only on the primary routes, but also on the A and B road network that traffic thereby floods onto.

If you talk to people in logistics, the problems for UK efficiency and productivity are huge.

valiant

3,962 posts

105 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
Amateurish said:
I think the political reality is that any major investment in public transport is only palatable if it directly benefits London. Crossrail is massively over budget and hugely delayed, but there has never been any doubt that it will be completed.
Only because it blew up in their faces in the last year or two and by that time it was too late to cancel/amend and you’re too far down the rabbit hole where you have no choice but to continue. Up until it went a bit mental, everything was supposedly on time and budget and hailed as a example of good public/private building practice and governance.

Also remember, Crossrail had a very difficult birth and was on the drawing board in one form or another for decades before a spade went in the ground.

Swervin_Mervin

2,756 posts

183 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
Digga said:
If you follow the Twitter feeds for the M6 and M1, and the traffic police, the routine gridlock is appalling. The whole system is so overloaded that almost any and every incident has anything from significant to catastrophic effects on hundreds of thousands of journey times, not only on the primary routes, but also on the A and B road network that traffic thereby floods onto.

If you talk to people in logistics, the problems for UK efficiency and productivity are huge.
Which is why freeing up capacity on the WCML is such a good idea. It will create breathing room to enable more freight by rail.

dcb

5,334 posts

210 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
Digga said:
The UK is haemorrhaging productivity, and I'd wager a significant chunk of that is due to important goods and people stuck in traffic on journeys that no amount of public transport could ever hope to link up.
+1

According to this:

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/governmen...

Trains by distance in 2017 were 8% of all journeys. By the same measure, cars were 78%.

That tells me that 78 / 8 = 9.75. Which I think means that every pound
spent on the roads is about ten times more effective than a pound spent on rail.

By trips, it is 2% and 62 %, so cars get used in over 30 times more trips.

So the opinion that I'd be happy for every single railway in the country to be ripped up
and replaced by a motorway does have a relentless logic to it, however
much a political white elephant of more rail capacity from London to Birmingham
might bring.

The numbers simply are that investing more in the M40 and the M1 would be ten
to thirty times more effective than HS2 London to Birmingham.


Robertj21a

6,736 posts

50 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
Swervin_Mervin said:
Which is why freeing up capacity on the WCML is such a good idea. It will create breathing room to enable more freight by rail.
Realistically, the amount of freight that could be taken away from lorries on the M1/M6 must be infinitessimal. Many of those loads are time critical, sometimes refrigerated, abnormal dimensions and needing to be taken direct to factories or shopping centres.

Digga

27,511 posts

228 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
dcb said:
The numbers simply are that investing more in the M40 and the M1 would be ten
to thirty times more effective than HS2 London to Birmingham.
We need to do more than just that. One of the strength of continental roads is the redundancy/choice of routes. Never more important than if/when there is a major incident, where the emergency services need (or just decide) to close the road. We should be elevating roads like the A38 to motorway grade.

We are not far of crisis point for many types of freight delivery.

Swervin_Mervin

2,756 posts

183 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
Robertj21a said:
Swervin_Mervin said:
Which is why freeing up capacity on the WCML is such a good idea. It will create breathing room to enable more freight by rail.
Realistically, the amount of freight that could be taken away from lorries on the M1/M6 must be infinitessimal. Many of those loads are time critical, sometimes refrigerated, abnormal dimensions and needing to be taken direct to factories or shopping centres.
And building more roads doesn't work either, so what's the solution?

Freeing up the WCML doesn't just mean more freight either - it means local line services that utilise it, connect with it can be increased as well, taking more people off the roads.

robinessex

7,292 posts

126 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
Can someone tell what jobs will actually be created by this project? In the 50years I spent in engineering, the need to all work in one place on the design side for a project gradually receded, until now, when I reckon about 80% could be done at home on an employer-supplied computer. How many these days go to the office, sit at the computer, e-mailing stuff all over the place. Easily done at home methinks as well.

Digga

27,511 posts

228 months

Friday 23rd August
quotequote all
Swervin_Mervin said:
And building more roads doesn't work either, so what's the solution?
Says who exactly and on what basis? Given the UK has cleared underperfomed in this duty for decades, I defy anyone to produce any credible data on this - we simply cannot know how upgrading and extending the whole system would work.

Moreover, the small bits of A road which I have seen built locally most definitely [i]have[i/] improved both local and through traffic.

If you talk to the people who actually move the goods and services required by consumers and industry, they will tell you the system teeters on the brink on too many days.