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Staffordshire County Council set to oppose plan for high-speed rail line through Lichfield

HS2 protesters in Lichfield

HS2 protesters in Lichfield

Proposals for a high-speed rail line through Lichfield are set to be opposed by Staffordshire County Council.

The authority has said the HS2 scheme would bring too few benefits to the county and its residents – but denied accusations of NIMBYism.

Council leader Phil Atkins claimed the route’s national benefit would not be enough to make the local disruption acceptable.

He explained:

“This is not a knee-jerk, not in my back yard decision. We have given the proposal full consideration and listened to the views of residents. Enterprise is key to improving the prosperity of the county and excellent transport links are vital. We believe that High Speed 2 must deliver a range of national and local benefits in order to justify the spend and disruption.

“The current proposals do not bring Staffordshire people many tangible benefits.  The only benefit seems to be reducing the travel times from London to Birmingham and Manchester.

“We will continue to listen to Staffordshire people and will be holding a full council debate on this issue. During this meeting, the usual political whip will be removed giving each county councillor free reign to express the views of their local constituents.”

The HS2 issue is set to be debated at a meeting in Whittington on Friday (November 19).

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60 Comments

  1. Paul

    18th November, 2010 at 1:38 pm

    Staffordshire Council Leader Phil Atkins stance is NOT acting in the interests of the country’s future, nor is he acting in the interests of the people in his county he is elected to represent.
    Whilst he recognises the critical value of excellent transport links to the economy, he is wrong to assume HS2 will not bring benefits to Staffordshire people, when quite the opposite is true.

    The primary benefit of HS2 that Mr Atkins has overlooked, is NOT speed but is its ability to increase low carbon transport capacity that the country desperately needs for the future. Currently the West Coast Main Line and many parts of the M6 & M1 are close to full capacity, in terms of cars/trains, passengers and freight. This has direct destrimental impact on Staffordshire’s economy and the mobility of its people. Mr Atkins assumes HS2 will not help Staffordshire as there is very unlikely to be a station on the line to serve it. However, the real beauty of HS2 is that it will remove passenger volumes from, and therefore release capacity on the West Coast Mainline for more localised and inter-regional services as well as more freight flows, both of which will certainly benefit Staffordshire. One only has to attempt to board a packed train to Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham or London from Stafford or Stoke to understand my point.

    HS2 will also help to reduce the volume of cars on the M1 and M6 and the congestion around Manchester Airport, which should release capacity for less congested localised travel and freight. So transport and mobility wise Staffordshire will win.
    I suspect Mr Atkins is over-concerned with the physical impact of a new line on his country. On this front he would do well to take a trip to Kent to inspect the impact of HS1. They too had fears of a blighted feature, but neither has HS1 negatively impacted the environment, noise or visual sightlines anywhere near as bad as people were expecting, nor has it impacted house prices at all. HS2 will follow the design principles of HS1 and will be built alongside existing corridors wherever possible, and where not, in cuttings or within sound banks to eliminate the 5 second whoosh of a train passing. In many places the corridor is no wider than my garden and you simply wouldn’t know it was there.
    It is safe to say in the garden of England, many of the fears over HS1 have been proven to be unfounded (unlike the constant, incessant drone of a 4 lane road carriageway I might add !)

  2. Chris

    18th November, 2010 at 3:18 pm

    What a joke! “The only benefit seems to be reducing the travel times from London to Birmingham and Manchester” – so instead of arguing that the short, mid and long term benefits of HS2 dont justify it, they make an irrelevant comment about journey times. HS2 is primarliy about CAPACITY, as anyone whose been herded into cattle pens at Euston recently will appreciate the need for. 200mph+ IS important to justify the high cost, but it is still about capacity – it means limited stop, long distance trains can be diverted from the MML and ECML while cutting road and airport congestion in the future. You can argue whether thats important enough to justify HS2, but being ignorant of the wider consequences and potential benefits is inexcusable.

  3. Cyril Preece

    18th November, 2010 at 4:09 pm

    I can’t believe the first comment. Of course HS2 is about capacity and not speed that is why the DfT’s first preferred choice was for Rail Package 2. 11 and 12 car Pendelinos gives a vast amount of extra capacity, converting two 1st class cars to standard class on each Virgin WCML train gives an extra 36% capacity. If speed is important why no go for similar trains to HS1 that run at 186mph and can run parallel to existing motorways / railways giving far less disruption to towns, villages and the environment. The time diff betwee London and Birmingham using 186mph trains as opposed to 220mph trains is 3.5mins.

    Capacity can be easily improved far more cost effectively and also incrementally and well in advance of the proposed completion date of HS2. As far as “overcrowded cattle pens” goes – travelling at 11.00 am can be a lonely experience. Too many people are unaware of all of the facts and figures and alternatives. In any case why should the majority have to pay for the minority to commute to London?

  4. Tim

    18th November, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    If CAPACITY is the issue, why then can’t the speed be reduced from very high speed to high speed, allowing some bends to be included, and the route go along already blighted transport corridors?

  5. Edward

    18th November, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    In other words Tim, pass HS2 on to some other area instead and at the same time, reduce the speed/distance/travel time benefit to make it less attractive and not future proofed, compaired to Europe and the rest of the High Speed Rail expanding world. Those with reservations about HS2 and the proposed route, ‘must’ realise and accept, over 30 possible routes were studied in great detail by railway planning experts. Including following motorways and existing rail paths like the West Coast Mainline. They were not persued further for many reasons, mainly (and the the most important) because too many thousands of extra people and properties would be affected, plus the massive regional construction disruption caused by having to close down existing over capacity transport routes and extra billions in cost caused, would not be accepted or practical. Route 3 is the ‘least impact’ result of those extensive studies and offers on going intended scope, for maximum mitigation measures for those sadly and respectfully affected.

  6. Chris

    18th November, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    ..because it wont make enough of a difference to justify the compromise, and it certainly wont make a different route more viable. Its worth remembering that HS2 is the beginnings of a long-distance network – while speed might not be an important factor now, it will be for trains from Newcastle, Scotland etc.

  7. Andrew Gibbs

    18th November, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    As the article says there are no benefits from HS2 to the people of Staffordshire so the council is entirely correct in opposing the plans – indeed it would be neglecting its duty to its residents if it did not. And this is not NIMBYism as even if the line was built somewhere there would still be no benefits to the people of Staffordshire – in this hypothetical case they would of course be spared the worst of the blight and direct pain, but would still be paying for a project that could only ever benefit the major cities with stations and leaving everywhere else left behind. It is questionable if there will be an overall benefit for anyone (apart from the rail industry) as the potential growth in Birmingham (or more likely London) will not create jobs, just move them from the regions – and I for one do not want to spend the rest of my life commuting to London for a job that I used to have here…

  8. Mr Riley

    19th November, 2010 at 10:49 am

    NIMBYs!!
    This is a national project not regional.

  9. Alan

    19th November, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Chris,
    I take it from you comments you do not travel to London or you live in Newcastle with plans to move to Scotland
    Mr Riley we know it’s National and that’s why people are fighting this all the way up to Manchester on the basis of costs and benefits.

  10. Chris

    19th November, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Mr Gibbs – HS2 is the first stage of a national transport network, it benefits EVERYONE. You dont have to personally use something to benefit economically from it – i’ve only ever used Gatwick, but im not stupid enough to think that i and everyone like me wouldnt be affected in the pocket if every other airport permanently closed down – its not a hard concept to grasp. Those between Manc/Brum/Euston will see an improvement in services, more paths for freight and with an extension towards York, the freeing up of the MML & ECML for more services too.

  11. Andrew Gibbs

    19th November, 2010 at 2:25 pm

    Hi Chris, It’s not a hard concept to grasp, but you seem to misunderstand. Transport infrastructure benefits directly those that use it. It is possible for it to generate indirect benefits that may benefit people that never use it, but this is less clear cut and certainly not some form of obvious natural law. It also clearly generates ‘disbenefits’, again some direct (nimbys) and some indirect (e.g. whoever is paying for it, whoever lives in a small town/city that see businesses move to the place with the transport link, those that like countryside, etc.) . HS2 will clearly generate benefits to many. HS2 will clearly generate dis-benefits to many. As a country do the benefits outweigh the dis-benefits? That is less clear – if you believe the NBR of 2.7 from HS2 Ltd then yes, if you believe the NBR of 0.28 from other analyses then no. Probably neither of these figures is correct, but still the case is that this is not some sort of sure-fire winner with massive benefits for everyone.
    Let’s define the problem(s) we are trying to solve, and then let’s come up with the best solutions. If the best of those is a shiny train then fine- personally I doubt this, but I’m no expert. Please point me towards the rebuttal of the ‘anti’ arguments that show where their analysis is wrong and I’ll happily have a look and admit I’m wrong!

  12. Chris

    19th November, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    The problem with the anti-arguments is that they rarely come from people with a sufficient knowledge to suggest alternatives. As i bang on about again and again HS2 is needed for capacity – so no rebuttal of HS2 is valid in my eyes without also addressing that issue – i’ve yet to see one that does. Show me an argument against HS2 that deals NOT with current capacity constraints, which quite rightly require longer trains (which are coming anyway) and eliminating the remaining bottlenecks, but demand post 2025. HS2 works because future phases, at much lower cost of Brum-London (and therefore much better Cost:Benefit) can also address capacity issues on the ECML and MML as well.

  13. David Ede

    19th November, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    With peak oil on the way the high speed line will be essential to free up capacity on the classic railway network for the efficient movement of freight and for more local passenger services. There will be a huge cascade of other transport benefits especially when fuel costs kill off cheap aviation and road haulage.

    The NIMBYS don’t see the looming liquid fuels crisis coming and if we listen to them we’ll all be walking, or bicycling, everywhere because we failed to act in time to provide the sustainable alternatives.

  14. Lemmy

    19th November, 2010 at 9:15 pm

    You certainly do bang on and on…..ad nauseum

  15. Marcus Gregory

    20th November, 2010 at 12:08 am

    Mr. Gibbs: “Let’s define the problem(s) we are trying to solve, and then let’s come up with the best solutions.”

    The first problem is that the 7.08am to Euston doesn’t get in until gone 8.20 and is always rammed!

    The second problem is that on occasions, when you book last minute, you have to stand the whole way….i’d consider that fairly unsafe as Virgin’s coffee gets served pretty hot!

    The third problem is that if you miss it and catch the next train, you have to change once and don’t get in until well gone 9am.

    The fourth problem is that our “local”, “provincial” outlook is preventing the average inhabitant of our lovely little city realising that London could be 49 minutes away.

    The fifth problem is that opposers need to remind themselves and drive to London and see the number of cars, traffic jams, accidents and pollution that sit between Lichfield and our capital.

    The sixth problem is that opposers forget that feats of engineering of this nature made this country “Great” (Brunel, GNER, The Mallard, The Flying Scotsman) and investment in infrastructure is vital to our nation’s economy, nationally and locally (as well as education and health). They have clearly never considered the impact the Japanese Bullet train had on Japanese people in terms of infrastructure, personal mobility and national status.

    We are years behind all other European nations in terms of high-speed rail network strategies and it’s about time we caught up. Luckily, for every opposer, there will be many more who support the project and it is our councillors who they are supposed to represent, not those with the loudest (dullest) voice.

    The project will go ahead if there are £’s in the coffers to pay for it…and there will be!

  16. Chris

    20th November, 2010 at 12:10 am

    …which i will happily continue to do while people keep banging on about HS2 only benefitting people the line directly serves, or that its not worth the expense just to get people between Birmingham and London quicker. When even a council say such tosh then its clear the message isnt getting through.

  17. Milly

    20th November, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    However many roads you build or trains you put on people all want to travel at the same time, this has been going on for decades and we have spent and built many times to try to solve it. We need to change our travelling times and office hours.

  18. Andrew Gibbs

    21st November, 2010 at 12:10 am

    To Marcus,
    Thanks for your list of problems, let’s see how many are solved by HS2:
    1a) it takes 1hr 14min to get from Lichfield to London – but to travel by HS2 will be LONGER as you will first have to get to Birmingham International and change. In no way will a high-speed station be built in Lichfied (or Coventry, or any other satellite town/city), so the 49min bit is the least of your worries.
    1b/2) it is always rammed or standing only – should be no different, as any transport system that is not full at the peak arrival time in the capital city is grossly over-specified.
    3) I think 30 billion will be enough to buy some alarm clocks and have plenty of change left over for local transport improvements that will help everyone get to work on time.
    4) Yes it could be 49 minutes away for Birmingham, which is why businesses and jobs will move there and not Lichfield (or Coventry, or …). Hence the opposition of Lichfield council.
    5) Sure there are problems with cars (dirty, noisy things mostly driven badly), but I seem to remember that trains have managed to kill people too. Note also that there are vastly more journeys made by car than trains, so the deaths/per trip are more comparable – but clearly trains are safer using current technology. But 16 years from now (when HS2 would open) do you really expect a business man in a new Merc to be actually doing the driving on the M40 (see Google autonomous vehicle project for example) And unless and until the entire UK energy supply switches to wind/nuclear your electric train is still effectively burning coal (and lots of it).
    6) We got great on engineers, true. Infrastructure is necessary for a successful nation, true. But building infrastructure for its own sake is not a solution to anything – it is an investment, and must produce a return or else a different project should be funded. Personal mobility is a car. National pride does not increase by buying German/French trains, running on Chinese rails, with a west-midlands catering attendant.

    On my count HS2 has solved no problems for you? So you should be worried about the amount of money that could be spent, as it will be found somehow, and in preference to less glamorous projects that people might actually use, or that would genuinely generate national wealth for all.

  19. Marcus Gregory

    21st November, 2010 at 1:00 am

    To Andrew:

    Many thanks for the information. So what you are essentially saying is that HS2 will do nothing for me other than satisfy my curiosity for speed and technlogy: not to sound too selfish!

    You argument about cars is a bit flakey btw. I’m all for saving the environment but the internal combustion engine will have a place in my life for as long as I live, even if it’s only on the weekends when I can leave my electric shopping trolley on the drive and pop up to Donington to enjoy some proper driving.

    Having spent the last 24 hours informing myself on this subject I’m mildly converted. HS2 will do nothing for me unless I can guarantee / shorten my travel time to London: not to sounds too selfish again. Unless it stops in Lichfield it will do little for Lichfield other than cause disruption.

    Also, the idea of a 2.5 mile viaduct and the general disruption it would cause is unappealing environmentally, but interesting from an engineering pov, which is hardly enough to justify it.

    I do still believe that rail investment is important and bridging the north – south divide would be beneficial to all of us and a high speed rail link connecting London, Birmingham and Manchester is a worthwhile investment.

    To conclude, HS2 won’t benefit me in any tangible way and for that reason I’m out (selfish point again), but I don’t feel strongly enough to oppose it for environmental reasons or any other.

  20. Adam

    21st November, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Question to Marcus Gregory: You state “The fourth problem is that our “local”, “provincial” outlook is preventing the average inhabitant of our lovely little city realising that London could be 49 minutes away.”

    How? It takes nearly 40 minutes to get to Birmingham New Street, then you would have to change trains or walk to the new HS2 station at Digbeth. How on earth have you come up with a figure of 49 minutes from Lichfield to London when HS2 doesn’t even stop in Lichfield?

  21. Marcus Gregory

    21st November, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Adam:

    I didn’t just make that number up or count match sticks I’d chucked on the floor! What I initiallly read laid claim to a 49 minute travel time to London and fairly openly implied from Lichfield….I can’t recall where I read this but take a step back, search for it and that’s the impression you’ll get.

    I suspect you are fairly engrossed with this topic, but as an outsider who only paid this attention on a Friday night with nothing better to do, gets a much different picture. It takes quite some time to uncover all of the facts and reasoning as to what has gone on over the last months.

    Travelling to Digbeth would make no sense at all, but travelling to somewhere near the M42 / Brum airport for a reduced travel time / increased frequency of trains would…as long as you use the Toll road too.

    P.S. There’s nothing wrong with local and provincial. I’ve lived in many large cities around the world and there is a reason I now live here, but I will still openly suggest we are disconnected and suffer from the north south divide. So you are aware, I do two to three days a week in the south, either in the City or Surrey.

  22. Pingback: Lichfield MP insists organisations must work together on HS2 - The Lichfield Blog

  23. Louise

    22nd November, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Sorry Marcus but I also believe, from the information you have provided, that you’re talking piffle: where is the figure of 49 minutes stated?

  24. marcus gregory

    22nd November, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    Louise, why don’t you look it up yourself? Just Google it, then you won’t have to read my piffle but someone else’s!

    Numerous articles site 45 minutes travel time from B’ham to London, others site 50.

    Excuse the briefness of my response or any typos as i happen to be responding from my phone whilst on a train that left Euston at 18.29 and won’t get to LTV until 20.38!

  25. Andrew Gibbs

    22nd November, 2010 at 10:39 pm

    The headline figure is indeed 49 minutes, and just a google away – so no need be rude to anyone! But that 49 minutes is from a train platform in Birmingham to another in London – how that helps or hinders overall journey times for a variety of train users is a more interesting question. Multiple factors can apply such as getting to the HS terminus, how frequently the trains run, to the trivial such as walking from 400m from the wrong end of a HS train to even get to the concourse at Euston.
    For train users not directly using HS2 you may well get a worse service than you do even now. For my own case I take the train from Coventry to London – currently takes just over an hour and leaves every 20 minutes. Post HS2 I’ll have the choice to take a trip to B’ham Int,then get HS2 to London (with a change, longer overall) or wait for a ‘classic’ train – but now this is planned to be only 1 per hour, and as the train would now be stopping at Rugby, Milton Keynes, etc. will take longer. Like everything else about HS2 there will be winners and losers, and the winners will want it and the losers will not. Winners/losers/not even users will all pay.

  26. Cyril Preece

    23rd November, 2010 at 8:26 am

    There have been a number of valid points made both for and against HS2. Having used the train from Birmingham to London frequently, my main concern and that of the majority of fellow travellers is that why do the trains still have 4-cars for 1st class which are half empty with a packed standard class? To de-classify two cars to standard class would increase capacity by 36% and to increase the Pendelino’s to 11and maybe even 12-car sets would increase by a total of 65%. The real problem for me is that once you get to Euston trying to get to Victoria or anywhere by tube is horrendous and dumping even more people onto an existing problem doen’t help. The underground just cannot cope and you end up arriving for your meeting drenched in sweat and totally stressed out. HS2 won’t address that problem. Other than the first 6 or so trains of the day – the commuter trains – you can travel in peace and comfort on half empty trains. The question of carrying more rail freight is not so easy either – and I can speak from experience. You still have to collect a container from ships rail to load onto the train and believe it or not there are still UK ports without a rail link. There is also a saturation point as to how many trains per day each terminal can take and we are pretty much there already. Once at the rail terminal it has to be transferred to road for delivery – all of these additional lifts have a cost. Once delivered the containers either have to go empty to a local depot – which are all full with no extra space to develop more – or return empty to port. So HS2 doesn’t do much here either. The comment about HS1 not being so bad after all. Depends on your view point really. It carries only 30% of its initial forecast, other trains were cancelled in a failed attempt to force passengers onto it, it cost close on £6bn and sold for less than £2bn – yes, a raging success. What I will say for it though is that it’s trains travel at 186mph enabling it to follow existing motorway routes (M20) where any further blight / environmental impact is minimised and would be a far better alternative to the proposed HS2.
    The technology of video conferencing has already and will continue to have a major impact on the need to travel which is yet another reason as to why the governments forecast increase in rail travel is a work of pure fiction. Not all commuter traffic is by necessity either but choice – which I won’t go through here.

  27. Marcus Gregory

    23rd November, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    Andrew, I was only using the same language used towards me, but apologies to all anyway, if it was actually my response you were referring to anyway ;)

    Anyhow, I accept your case. There will be winners and losers but at the moment I can only see that losers / non users are making their voices heard and I’m not certain how our councillors have come to the decision to support opposers. I’ve joined the party late!

    I’ve done the calculations for my own selfish reasons and I’d much prefer an increase in the frequency of the Virgin train service, but if they aren’t providing the service now, it should theoretically only be because there isn’t the demand! I don’t know enough about their business / regulations to comment.

    That doesn’t mean that the HS2 isn’t good for the Midlands economy or good for the economy in general. Investment in infrastructure is fundamental.

    You have to accept there is a certain amount on NIMBYism here too, but as a NIMBY and a user, I stand in both camps. I don’t want HS2 unless I can get on it on my own front doorstep…but that won’t happen.

    Do look back at the Toll road though as this scenario seems all too similar. It affected my parent’s house quite a lot and still does, as they can see the toll booth lights, hear the traffic when the noise is right etc, etc. It’s now very expensive but I use it all the time. The major differences are that it wasn’t paid for by the government and it has tangibly added to our local economy…Stobart Group, Fradley etc.

  28. Chris

    23rd November, 2010 at 9:01 pm

    Marcus, im not sure what you mean by “if they aren’t providing the service now, it should theoretically only be because there isn’t the demand!” – there are many reasons why somewhere isnt receiving a higher frequency of trains, track capacity being one of them and an issue which HS2 will, to a point, help address.

  29. Louise

    23rd November, 2010 at 10:37 pm

    So you were incorrect in stating that London would be 49 minutes away from Lichfield? That’s not a problem. I do know how to use Google, thanks- it does indeed state Brum to London in 50 minutes but not Lichfield to London.

  30. Marcus Gregory

    23rd November, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Chris, all I meant was that Virgin will surely have adjusted their timetables to the demand they perceive, their capacity, i.e., number of trains / rolling stock they have invested in and their permitted track capacity under their operating licence, but quite honestly I don’t know how any of that works.

    I don’t see your second point though: “track capacity….which HS2 will, to a point, help address”. HS2 will increase travel capacity overall between Birmingham and London, agreed. What number or users are expected to shift from the conventional LTV – Euston service to HS2 and would demand increase overall? Presumably so, but this could also potentially mean a decrease in demand for the conventional LTV – Euston service.

    So, going back to my own selfish pov, surely it could mean that there will be less trains on the current LTV – Euston service as HS2 will be taking some of that demand away and the current providers like Virgin and Midland will adjust their service to suit and maximise the return on their investment in rolling stock etc etc.

    Somewhere there will be statistical estimations that form the basis of the project….if you can show me where I’ll try and form a more informed opinion: or maybe I’m just talking piffle again ;)

  31. Marcus Gregory

    23rd November, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    Louise:

    I was indeed incorrect, but I don’t think the way you highlighted my errors was, but that’s your problem ;)

    As always in such matters, open and informative debate is productive and personal insults aren’t. I have changed my opinion on this matter numerous times and I still don’t know enough to form a proper opinion yet, so will continue to raise points and thoughts where anyone is welcome to challenge them and show me different.

    The outright opposition to the project seems incorrect to me, but the reasons for it’s inception by those that know more need to be understood by those that it will affect. The ultimate aim is to reach a compromise that’s agreable to as many as possible…there will always be someone that this upsets.

  32. Chris

    24th November, 2010 at 1:39 am

    Marcus, its the DfT that set service levels, timetables etc and companies like Virgin bid to run it. Its also important to remember that there might well be demand for more services, but stopping more trains has knock-on effects etc… timetabling is complicated at the best of times; add in a very congested railway + privitisation and its a nightmare! Anyway, regarding capacity – by moving most long distance, limited stop trains from Brum/Manc/Liv/Glas etc onto HS2 and relieving congested stations like New Street there will be more room to run semi-fast services, potentially increasing services to intermediate stations.

  33. Cyril Preece

    24th November, 2010 at 8:52 am

    No one would have to stand on the Birmingham London train if ony two of the four (half empty)1st class cars were delassified to standard. Plus the trains are half empty after around 10.00am. So we are talking purely commuter passengers here?

  34. Andrew Gibbs

    24th November, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    There is a potential to increase services, but that will only happen if there is a demand – which for ‘small’ places on their own there cannot be! From my own experience I stand on the platform at Coventry to get the Pendolino to Euston. Perhaps 50 people get off (who have had a relatively fast ‘local’ trip from Brum) and 50 get on (who will have a relatively fast (non-stop) trip Cov to London). Without the 250 odd people travelling B’ham to London those numbers will not (and should not) justify a 3 trains per hour fast service from Coventry. Either the frequency will drop or the number of stops will increase – or probably both. OK this is an entirely selffish viewpoint, but that is what I see.

    I’d also be interested to know how much of the Birmingham to London HS2 time saving is eaten up by existing users having to get from New Street to Curzon Street?

    (and I was unclear with my googling statement – I was trying to support the idea of looking things up and not to just denigrate others! Sorry for any confusion)

  35. Andrew Gibbs

    24th November, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    As mentioned above one of the key beneficiaries of HS2 would be those who do long-distance commuting – they are the people who really notice even a small time saving as it affects them every single day. This prospect is also reported here http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1410122/200-mile-commuter-belt-by-2010.html.
    The question occurs as to whether or not this is a good thing, as however ‘easy’ it becomes to travel 100 miles to work that still has a significant impact on congestion, energy usage, etc. Also, although commuters would be aghast at the concept, they do not pay enough compared to other users! For example if I want to get to London (from Coventry) for the day it will cost me over £100 to arrive at any decent time. To travel for a week will only cost about £165 – if you are intending to be in London even twice in 7-days it is cheaper to get a week pass (a tip I use often). For a month you would pay only about £650, which equates to only 1/3rd of the price. Maybe these discount prices are justified, but they do also point to the concept that demand can be met both by increasing capacity or by reducing demand.

  36. Paul

    24th November, 2010 at 9:30 pm

    Cyril, thats a good point about first class, it just shows either Virgin aren’t marketing first as well as they could, the price is too high OR mor elikely employers have simply banned first class business travel in these austere times. However I take issue with your assertion that trains are half empty after 10:00. Most Manchester and Glasgow trains are packed – even worse at the weekends.

    As for others comments on the 11 car Pendolino’s, even the Transport Select Committee admit this extra capacity ‘sticking plaster’ will be soaked up by 2016.

    The fact is more and more of us are travelling by train, as we are increasing mobility-rich and increasingly time-poor, hence the need to avoid unproductive time driving cars, queueing at airport security or cramped in aircraft cabins. And with Peak oil this is only going to get worse. The country should prepare for it or suffer the consequences of an increasing unattractive place to invest and live.

  37. Cyril Preece

    25th November, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    Paul, I bend to your better knowledge re Manchester / Glasgow – I was mainly referring to Birmingham / London. Re first class travel, it is partly due to private sector cut backs but also the directive in May 2010 re public service travel.
    Not sure about your point on travelling more as certainly most of the larger companies are using technology rather than travel – video conferencing etc – which saves huge amounts in terms of travel, hotel costs and office disruption and is certainly a major growth area. Which is certainly why there are millions of sq Mtrs of empty office space. Plus I still have no idea how all of these alleged extra passengers once dumped at Euston or Birmingham are going to get around. Certainly for me the journey from Euston to Victoria is the stuff of nightmares.
    You do mention a good point – cost. Rail travel even now is extremely expensive – and is set to increase yet again – with the most of the commuter traffic paid by emplyers – or a least a large contribution of. With HS2 and, in order to get some return for the billions invested fares would have to be in their hundreds. With regard to flights, what meaningful choice is there for me to get to Dusseldorf or Rouen other than to fly? If high speed rail is really a necessity – and I still can’t see any benefit economic or otherise to areas without stations – then why not look to suse the same trains as HS1? At least these run at 186mph and can run alongside existing motorway / rail routes. This would cause far less environmental damage / blight – much of which is already there – and the governments own figures say that the journey between London and Birmingham would only be 3.5 mins quicker with HS2. All it needs is talking about properly and openly without any hidden agenda which there presently is.

  38. Marcus Gregory

    26th November, 2010 at 2:17 am

    So, there have been a lot of good points about rail services and the potential benefits and detractions of HS2 in this regard. It seems that what we are all hoping for is an improvement to the “classic” route, as that is what will serve the people of Lichfield best along with a practical high-speed route that will serve Birmingham to London / London to Birmingham passengers who can afford the additional expense (or who’s employers are happy to cover the cost of a ticket / railcard similarly priced to a current 1st class ticket)…but what about this 2.5 mile viaduct that needs to be built around Lichfield and the environmental impact of the high speed track across the whole of the new route?

    I guess this is the part that the opposers find most un-appealing along with the associated disruption. It’s going to be a pretty ugly site and an extremely large and disruptive civil engineering works. What are the thoughts around that and is this the main sticking point that our councillors oppose on our behalf? Is it just a necessary evil and a means to a more efficient end? How long will it take? What’s the route?

    Am I understanding all of this correctly and sorry if I’m being a bit lazy by not researching it all myself, but there appear to be some knowledgable people on here.

  39. Milly

    26th November, 2010 at 10:25 am

    For me the impact of a new line cutting across the countryside is a BIG issue. Unsightly, noisey, loss of farm land and livelyhood, cutting through woods and habitats etc. etc. etc.
    The plus side is that some people will be able to travel faster (and apparently some will lose possibly lose present services). It is also stated that we need the extra capacity. In Lichfield area we have only just seen the end of Four Track which has doubled the lines. This has been disruptive but has followed an already existing route.So in conclusion to what I have read so far my vote is NO to HS2. If my taxes are to go on the railways then improve the present routes and do not carve up any more countryside.

  40. Chris

    26th November, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Are people actually reading the comments? The same non-arguments repeated again and again make them no-more valid. Upgrading the WCML instead of HS2 isnt going to happen – didnt anyone notice the orginal upgrade was unrealistic and unviable, and then the vast cost and disruption of the massively scaled-down upgrade that WAS undertaken? All the easy stuff has been done, and even if there was a business case do people really think the WCML can keep being closed at weekends and holidays ad infinitum? With regards to the wider benefits, if people cant see the impact of removing long distance, limited-stop services from our main north-south rail lines then what can i say? This idea that video-conferencing will kill off demand is nonsense – i dont believe there is any evidence that it will have any major effect whatsoever. I’d also like to point out that HS2’s business case was based on the current pricing formula, NOT p[remium fares. Saving 3mins to Brum? Pointless…. if HS2 wasnt going to Manc/Leeds and beyond where the savings will be much greater. Finally, can people put to one side this idea of losing services? No one can predict the timetable let alone stopping patterns of trains in 2025, so neither can they predict what the effect of HS2 will be on them.

  41. Edward

    27th November, 2010 at 11:13 am

    I think they are Chris, but some hoping if they repeat the invalid non-arguments enough, they will become accepted by those who understandably know little about detailed railway matters and HS2, but who are hoping to gain ‘correct’ and ‘factual’ information. I also get the feeling, reading between the lines, many anti-HS2 comments simply repeat almost ‘word for word’ what they have been ‘led’ to believe from action group leaders who themselves don’t always seem able (or want) to seperate fact from fiction.

  42. Marcus Gregory

    28th November, 2010 at 11:33 pm

    For info:

    Taken from: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-stoke-staffordshire-11856610

    Staffordshire high-speed rail stop ‘vital for firms’

    The president of a chamber of commerce says it is vital the planned high-speed rail line (HS2) from London to the Midlands has a Staffordshire stop.

    Plans for the £30bn HS2 route include a line from London to Birmingham branching off to Manchester and the East Midlands.

    North Staffordshire chamber said firms would not relocate there without it.

    A consultation on the coalition government’s preferred route is due to be announced shortly.

    HS2 said its plans would bring benefits of £2.5bn to the region’s economy.

    Mike Herbert, president of North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce, told the BBC’s Politics Show that without the HS2 firms would not consider north Staffordshire as a place to relocate to or open a new branch.

    Tristram Hunt, Labour MP for Stoke-on-Trent Central, said: “If they are making stops in the East Midlands with a much lower population level compared to North Staffordshire, if they’re making stops in York, again with a much lower population and also a much wealthier city, then it seems to me that there is absolutely a case for a stop in North Staffordshire.”

    The plans for the high-speed rail network, featuring trains capable of running at up to 250mph, were announced by the previous Labour government in March.

  43. Cyril Preece

    29th November, 2010 at 8:56 am

    I had no idea that Chris was such an authority on technology as we as rail – WOW. Before making comment about something you obviously have no idea about – please take a look at the stats that are available should anyone care to take a look. Major law and banking firms in London have saved £000’s of pounds from their travel, hotel and expenses budget from using vide conferencing plus other technological advances rather than dragging people in for meetings. Your comment is a little like saying that mobile phones will never catch on.

  44. Andrew Gibbs

    29th November, 2010 at 9:52 am

    I’m sorry, but this “Finally, can people put to one side this idea of losing services? No one can predict the timetable let alone stopping patterns of trains in 2025, so neither can they predict what the effect of HS2 will be on them.” is a rather two way argument. The whole case for HS2 is based on prediction of future demand so if you are saying that you cannot have even the most rudimentary idea of what that might be then really what are the rail models any use for – are you saying that the whole project is based on blind assumptions that fit the desired result?
    For my money the loss of service on the old routes is a much easier prediction – if B’ham to London people go via HS2 then everyone else (Lichfield, Coventry, …) are left trying to justify their services on their own – which either means that taxpayers are going to pay massively for subsidising 3/4 empty trains or they are going to run less frequently or they are going to stop at every station (or more likely all of the above).
    Predicting huge numbers of extra people to justify HS2 is questionable, predicting that what happens to everyone else is they get a worse service than they have now is rather straightforward.

  45. Andrew Gibbs

    29th November, 2010 at 10:01 am

    And the point about video conferencing is not that some people won’t still want to travel, but is one of the obvious reasons that the purported requirement for massive increase in numbers will not occur. Are we trying to be part of a global economy? I use web meetings to join colleagues in different parts of the UK, three european countries, plus the US – our ‘travelling time’ is about 1 minute which puts the HS rail concept into the technological backwater that it is.

    Rail projects have a global history of over-prediction: read
    http://flyvbjerg.plan.aau.dk/Traffic91PRINTJAPA.pdf and weep.

  46. Chris

    29th November, 2010 at 1:06 pm

    Andrew, thats just lame and irrelevant – i expected better. Traffic predictions of line (re)openings/upgrades/service increases in the UK might be useful, though im afraid they would show that traffic numbers are usually UNDER estimated – The recent figures from the Office of Rail Regulation showing that there was a nine per cent rise in passenger numbers in the third quarter of the year compared with last year are truly remarkable. I’ll quote HS2 pessimist Wolmar – “And as Eccles pointed out, of the six types of product sold by railways – long distance, commuter, etc – four continued growing throughout the recession: ‘what other industrycould say that?’ If your going to argue about traffic predictions, surely it makes sense to concentrate on HSL’s? I think you’ll find that not only are traffic predictions usually met but often exceeded – indeed people at SNCF suggested that HS2 should be built with 4 tracks from the outset based on their own experience…… Anyway, Cyril – i didnt suggest that videoconferencing wont have an effect, but what evidence is there that its going to have such a huge impact on passenger numbers? Is there any more evidence than that of Peak Oil, which could massively inflate passenger numbers? Rail growth is happening now; its not theory, and has proved resillient in the face of high ticket prices and a terrible recession. Just bear that in mind.

  47. Chris

    29th November, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Oh, regarding existing rail services – ultimately the number of services should reflect demand – Lichfield has i believe an hourly service – but i see no reason for that to be reduced. Coventry though has a 20min frequency – thats greater than the West London Line! Presumably thats justified by traffic numbers, but even if it went 2tph off-peak that isnt going to hurt Coventry – people dont expect a turn-up-and-go service with long distance trains, especially given the price of walk on fares. That said, with fewer long distance services there is actually an argument that current service provision could increase for places like Lichfield, with fewer trains, longer journey times but similar stopping patterns – reducing conflicts and increasing capacity, especially if platforms were built on the fast lines at some point.

  48. Andrew Gibbs

    29th November, 2010 at 2:28 pm

    Even if 2 trains per hour would be what Coventry gets (bearing in mind the quoted number in the HS2 report was 1 tph) they will still take longer than currently. Or are you saying that increases in journey time of 10-20 minutes do not really matter (while similar size decreases are part of the justification for HS2)?

    Personally I think that turn up and go is one of the strengths of the current service and that this view would be shared by many, especially business people and commuters. If someone on HS2 has to book a later train to allow for a possible overrun of a meeting then their effective journey time becomes longer – more than wiping out any reduction in the travel time itself. And for us on the backwater lines our average journey time has just got longer on average by half the time between train departures – I think the people of Coventry will notice a change of Generalised Journey Time of about 1:15 mins to closer to 2 hours.

  49. Marcus Gregory

    29th November, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Report on BBC Midlands today at 6:30 pm, 29th Nov.

  50. Marcus Gregory

    29th November, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    So one of the proposed station sites is next to the NEC / Birmingham airport with parking for up to 40k cars. That hasn’t come out in the postings on this site or anything else I’ve read so far. Did I hear 38 minute travel time between NEC and London mentioned somewhere too, perhaps it was the CEO of Birmingham Airport?

    Joe Rukin’s arguements were fairly weak as well:

    – HS2’s assumptions on future demand are flawed, but he didn’t really have time to explain why. 266% passenger growth seems reasonable, who the hell knows, it’s all complete guess work anyway.

    – A stronger local economy (London) will benefit over a weaker one (Birmingham), which I don’t agree with at all. What’s that based upon?

    – So apart from the environmental impact the objectors haven’t really been able / allowed to make put forward any decent arguements in this report.

    The report also reiterated the benefits in that the HS2 proposal claims to dramatically shrink Britain, bring major cities together and offer huge economic benefits.

    The proposal is starting to make a little more sense for me personally.

  51. Chris

    29th November, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Andrew, as few people will be going end-to-end a relatively small increase in overall journey time for some services isnt the end of the world, and actually helps the business case for HS2 both in terms of WCML capacity and passenger numbers on the new line. That said, its worth remembering that with the WCML becoming more and more congested in the next 15 years whether HS2 is built or not there’s a good chance that the cuts to train frequency you fear could happen anyway – changing from fast to slow lines and vice versa such as at LTV eats up capacity as does different trains observing different stopping patterns. Its far from impossible that growth between the main stopping points could hurt train frequencies to some intermediate stations anyway. Time will tell! With regards to turn-up-and-go, its unneccesary for long distance travel and given the price of walk on fares very unwise! The WCML, and in future HS2, have a high frequency to meet passenger demand, not because people expect a metro-type frequency for travelling between cities.

  52. Andrew Gibbs

    30th November, 2010 at 10:59 am

    Hi Chris. If I understand your point correctly a worsening of classic services is justified as it pushes people towards the new high-speed services (a tactic that appears to have been used deliberately with HS1 in Kent to try and get numbers up on the Javelin service)? Ok this is a cheap shot, but the fact remains that HSR wil not automatically improve everyones journeys. As you say in an earlier post the classic services will have to justify themselves on the basis of demand – and on that basis things are unlikely to get better for people outside Birmingham.

    I’m not convinced by your argument for lack of turn up and go – surely this should be a strength of HS2 not a weakness? If these major cities are being brought closer together as promised then this is no longer ‘long distance travel’ – a 45 minute trip to B’ham is less than many Londoners will take on their commuter lines.

  53. Andrew Gibbs

    30th November, 2010 at 11:57 am

    Hi Marcus,

    As I understand things the current rail scheme would be London Euston – Old Oak Common (london exchange) – B’ham Int – B’ham (Curzon street). The ‘Y’ northwards is less defined but one arm will end up in Manchester, the other arm will go to Leeds with an intermediate station around the Derby/M1/Nottingham area. Intermediate stations are limited in number by the need for fast and frequent services between the main centres. I’m happy for someone to clarify all of this (or we could all look it up ourselves!)

    Personally I would think that now the case for HS2 is resting more on its ‘transformational’ and/or capacity benefits that there should be a lot more attention placed on having more stations. There should be a station in Milton Keynes, in Stafford, in Sheffield, etc. Ok this could add something to journey times – but the benefits would be shared?

    On your points regarding the BBC Midlands report:
    – the forecast growth figures from HS2 are larger than the forecasts from other equally reputable bodies. Half of the 260% growth comes from new travellers (people who would not have travelled if it was not for HS2) – this looks good for the HS2 business case, but if it is true is bad for the environmental case!

    – the ‘transformational benefits’ of high-speed rail are more a political assumption than fact – the claims are not supported by any published documents from HS2 Ltd or DfT HSR does not generate new businesses but may well redistribute existing operations, but this can equally be to London rather than from London – and indeed what evidence there is suggests that the dominant economy will get larger. You can read the ‘anti-‘ version of this on the hs2actionalliance.org page ‘myths’ document – maybe someone else can give a link to the ‘pro-‘ version?

    For someone regularily travelling from Lichfield to London I expect you won’t be worse off -your journey will be different (e.g. rail or drive to International, then HS2 to London) but probably will take about the same time and may well have better flexibility due to better frequency of service. I would stress however that the claims of how HS2 will shrink Britain and offer huge economic benefits are just that – claims. Now that the Y extension is on the table it will be interesting to see how the 2nd incarnation of the HS2 Ltd business case comes out – it has to be better than the first one!

  54. Chris

    1st December, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Andrew, for people outside Brum there will be winners and losers- it cant possibly benefit everyone to the same degree, nor inconvenience no-one… but then thats also true of NOT building HS2, to a much larger degree especially if growth is anywhere near predicted. As i pointed out, with the WCML predicted to be full by 2020 (even with all the current capacity upgrades planned that werent included in the original upgrade) there will surely be an effect on these relatively low demand stops anyway, plus there’s the economic impact of needing to aggressively reduce demand through ticket prices even further.

  55. Chris

    1st December, 2010 at 11:17 am

    Andrew, i agree that metro style frequencies on HS2 can only be a good thing, but then such a service on HS2 doesnt come with the drawbacks that it does on a mixed-use railway. However the point i was trying to make is that somewhere like Coventry doesnt _need_ a 3tph intercity service except to meet demand – 2tph off-peak is more than adequate to attract custom without leaving people waiting around.

  56. Alan

    1st December, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    A recent comment from the HS2 Action Alliance Hammond losing the plot on HS2

    The Secretary of State (SoS) says in recent speeches and correspondence that he is unconvinced that the alternatives to HSR proposals are credible or practicaloptions.

    So let’s look at his six arguments in terms of the facts his own Department have published.

    1. New capacity required: SoS places much emphasis on the capacity challenge, and that a new line is the way to meet this huge projected demand, rather than improving existing lines.

    We would agree with the SoS that the key issue is capacity and not speed.

    His own Department has developed an option for improving WCML- Rail Package 2 (RP2). It may not be the best option, but its good enough to be preferable to HS2.

    A major benefit of improving WCML compared to building HS2, is the improvements can be done in stages, and as demand develops. Not only is this prudent practice given the uncertainty in demand forecasts but it avoids the problem repeatedly referred to – of capacity running out in 7 to 10 years , which is of course long before HS2 will ever be built. If the SoS’s demand estimates are right the overcrowding that would result could only be alleviated by improving WCML.

    So could RP2 meet the forecast demand? Yes and it would do it better than HS2! On HS2 Ltds modelling RP2 would accommodate all the demand they forecast for it with less crowding than HS2 (a load factor of 53%, compared to 61% on HS2).

    So RP2 is cheaper (£2bn), better value for money (NBR 3.63), and meets all the demand. So why don’t we do it? DfT tell us that RP2 gives nowhere near the capacity they require. They want spare capacity to run additional local and freight services, should it ever prove necessary. So DfT are replacing the doubtful policy of ‘predict and provide’ with the economically squanderous one of ‘predict and over-provide’.

    But de-bottlenecking WCML also creates spare capacity for other services besides the intercity ones. It is surprising that if spare capacity is really so important, that DfT haven’t bothered to assess it for RP2.

    Its worth noting that RP2 costs just 2 to 3 times what is being spent on planning for HS2 in this term of parliament (over £750m).

    2. Poorer reliability: SoS says upgrading WCML would cause reliability to ‘undoubtedly deteriorate’ by ‘trying to squeeze ever more capacity out of existing, mixed-use, railway lines’ while HS2 could improve reliability by ‘increasing segregation between different service types’

    Let’s see whether the improvements to the WCML (under RP2) would affect reliability.

    First, the existing headways would be maintained, that’s the time interval between trains. Second, much would be done by running longer trains and that doesn’t damage reliability. Third, running more trains, that is achieved by separating out fast and slow traffic and junction changes. This makes both fast and slow trains less susceptible to interference with each other. Fourth, there will be faster commuter trains that won’t clog up the fast lines.

    This is not a recipe for worse reliability.

    3. More disruption: SoS refers to the disruption that would be caused by delivering huge capacity improvements on the busiest commuter line and refers to the disruption caused by last WCML upgrade (4 Nov speech)

    The last WCML upgrade started as an exercise in stupendous optimism. It was to be the first application of a yet to be developed technology that did away with the cost and capacity limitations of line side signals and train detection. It was a case study in how not to do a project. It involved completely renewing track signaling and electrification – the same track and signalling that the services need to use on a daily basis.

    Lessons have been learnt: Chiltern Railway (with its Evergreen projects) show how it can be done to time, budget, with minimum disruption, and without subsidy.

    As the SoS knows RP2 is totally unlike the previous WCML route modernization project. It’s about addressing specific pinchpoints. Much can be achieved without interfering with the track in use and how to mitigate impacts is even discussed in the write up published. Crucially there are opportunities for further lengthening the fleet (to 11 car on all services and 12 car for all but Liverpool), which is not disruptive.

    There will be some disruption to passengers (again factored in by DfT’s plans), but minor compared to the disruption and dislocation HS2’s construction will wreak on communities the length of the line for years at a time

    4. Demolition of houses: SoS says ‘a very large number of houses would need to be demolished’ (4 Nov speech) if WCML were up graded to provide the capacity improvements.

    The SoS may inadvertently be reading the wrong brief!

    It’s HS2 that requires a swathe cut into central Birmingham for a new station, and effectively a new station built at Euston, on ground that people currently live on. It will also cut a swathe through the countryside demolishing and rendering uninhabitable numerous dwellings. This is in contrast to RP2 for which the creation of the additional platforms at Euston and Manchester can, like almost all the other improvements, be achieved on existing railway property.

    Its staggering that SoS rejects improving existing infrastructure on basis of its impact on residents, when the alternative that he supports is building a new railway that has massive impacts on 100,000s of residents, businesses and habitats.

    5 No huge journey time improvements: SoS says ‘no upgrade of existing infrastructure can deliver the huge improvements in journey times’ that HS2 delivers (4 Nov speech)

    He is right! It is entirely true that the alternatives cannot deliver huge improvements in journey times. But the journey time savings the SoS refers to are worth little. The reason his Department thinks a 30 minute saving is so important is because they believe no one works on trains and so there will be a massive productivity benefit from reducing this wasted time.

    The SoS has himself expressed disquiet at this assumption, but said it would make little difference to the answers. In fact it makes a massive difference as it accounts for a quarter of the benefits. To ignore the increasing use of technology by passengers on trains never mind now but in the future is simply unrealistic.

    It is no defense to say its just using standard DfT assumptions, its still at odds with the facts, never mind past studies done for DfT on this topic. Neither is it a defense to say sometimes people are not working but using their laptops for leisure purposes, unless of course we never do this in working time elsewhere! In fact DfT recognize the issue may not be a gain in working time but a loss by referring to studies that show people would not use the time ‘saved’ usefully, but waste it for example getting up later
    It is not as if our current journey times are poor by comparison with the rest of Europe. Again the facts speak for themselves. What Eddington said about the UK having extensive fast inter-city services is still true. We have routes capable of 200km/h (125mph) – with quicker rail journey times between the capital and the five largest cities than in other major West European countries (averaging 145 mins in UK, 151 mins Spain, 184 mins Italy, 221mins France, and 244 mins Germany).

    6. No transformation benefits: SoS says a new high speed network would bring ‘a step-change transformation to of our economic geography’ (4 Nov speech), that would not be delivered by an upgrade to existing infrastructure.

    He is right that an upgrade would not deliver transformational benefits. But neither would HS2. Nobody has yet produced credible evidence that HS2 would deliver any rebalancing of the economy, never mind ‘tackle the north/south divide more effectively than half a century of regional policy,’ as the SoS said.

    The wider economic benefits, such as they are, are already included in the business case using DfT’s approach – and they were just 11% of HS2s benefits (£3.6bn). But HS2 Ltd thought there might be something extra and employed experts from Imperial College to assess whether high speed connections would lead to economic growth. but they got a disappointing answer – the potential was very small – £8-10m/a.

    The Transport Select Committee has heard evidence from two recognized experts in this area (one who advises HS2 Ltd) who both said there is ‘no convincing evidence base’ to support transformational benefits. Surely the SoS does not want to build a railway on basis of unsupported supposition?

    The Prime Minister says HS2 will breathe economic life beyond the M25. But the best regeneration prospect identified by HS2 Ltd is Old Oak Common. Not in the West Midlands, not outside the M25, not even outside the North Circular!

    In fact the redistributive effects may mean its London, UK’s dominant city, not the regions that benefits. Buried in the detail is a DfT assumption that trips to London will grow twice as fast as those from london – and given 70% will be leisure travelers, the consequences are obvious.

    One can only deduce the current emphasis on transformational benefits is to create a smokescreen behind which the Government can attempt urgent repairs on business case already holed below the water line

  57. Chris

    3rd December, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    A lot of waffle but essentially it still boils down to a NIMBY argument – causing massive disruption to the WCML on an ongoing basis is better than disrupting people along the route of HS2. Suggesting that the Chiltern Mainline is a relevant comparison for how to carry out such work is breathtaking in its ignorance – you cant get away from the need for mass bustitution and disruption to commuter and freight services for which there will be ever decreasing room on other routes to divert trains via. I also note this completely ignores the benefits of HS2 away from the Eus/Brm/Manc corridor – do they not matter anymore?

  58. Andrew Gibbs

    3rd December, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Huge list of points as to why the existing case for HS2 is flawed. Gets standard response of ignoring all these points and dragging out the nimby argument – not exactly reasoned debate!

  59. Alan

    3rd December, 2010 at 4:25 pm

    Chris
    Benefit from Euston-Birmingham is said to be about 5 minutes. Five minutes but you have to get the the new Birmingham HS2 station first. I can do Euston-Lichfield in 80 minutes, to get to Birmingham first is about 40-45 minutes walk to the new station 10 minutes, but I will save 5 minutes to Euston. Financial benefits to the area I think not as great as they predict,

  60. Chris

    3rd December, 2010 at 7:06 pm

    The point that both the original list of ‘flaws’ and Alan misses is that Brum-Euston is the first and most expensive phase of a high-speed network. While Brum-Euston will help relieve capacity on the WCML to a certain extent, it will also attract new custom from a variety of destinations that will have services speeded up by using HS2 – attracting new customers from the congested motorways. Extending HS2 to Manchester-Leeds-York will further alleviate capacity on the WCML, MML and ECML while generating new traffic from both the roads AND air from across the midlands, the north east and even Scotland. It needs to be remembered is that Brum-Euston is only the first step – while it can be argued that much of its immediate benefits could in theory be achieved with another massive upgrade of the WCML, the benefits of further extending HS2 cant. The best option IMO is continue achieveable, realistic upgrades of the WCML, MML and ECML to cater for growth along those routes, alongside a high-speed network that will alleviate both road and airport capacity as well as long distance intercity train journeys.