Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

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Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by lonelyinardwick on Tue Nov 08, 2011 7:49 pm

Apparenty, I received a tweet, from one whom I'm following, linking to an article about the HS2, though I am aware that some if not every member here are also wary of the HS2, but this article by Michael Hanlon caught my attention and I was intrigued by his arguments, quite yet I'm abstaining from this HS2 plan thingy. For example, if I understand correctly that British Rail would have received less subsidies from the government than privatising the network, then British Rail would have performed better if it has more subsidies, right? Personally I don't know.. but I'd like to hear your reactions after his impressive article.

scratch

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2058968/Why-rail-fans-wary-HS2.html

Michael Hanlon wrote:As a big fan of railways I should be massively in favour of a new High-speed link between London and Birmingham. Britain’s railways, which should be the envy of the world, are all too often a slow and expensive shambles.
I could fill the Daily Mail’s servers with an account of everything that is wrong with the way our trains are run, but a short list would have to include Dr Beeching, a botched privatisation, idiotically short franchises, ill-conceived mega-projects, wasted subsidies and get-rich-quick spivvery by the operators.

So I should be overjoyed at the prospect of a new 200mph link, just given a cautious thumbs-up by a Parliamentary Committee, right? Well, I am not so sure. Britain’s railways certainly need upgrades and improvements, but this does not seem the obvious place to start.
Britain is a fairly small island and London and Birmingham are not very far apart. The current journey takes around 72 minutes on the fastest trains, and this would be shortened, on HS2, to 49 minutes. That’s 23 minutes saved for an investment of £32bn. One and a half billion pounds per minute.

The line’s supporters claim there will be huge gains in productivity; it will no longer take half a morning to get between Britain’s two biggest cities and thus high-flying businessmen will be able to cram in that extra meeting.
The trouble with this argument is that trains are good places to do work. As a journalist I find the quiet peace of a railway carriage, equipped with Wi-Fi, an electrical socket a nice cup of tea and a biscuit, an almost ideal place to write – quite unlike a plane or of course, a car.
So what else could this £32bn be spent on? This is, I believe, the strongest anti-HS2 argument, not the noise worries of the Chiltern Nimbys. Because what Britain surely needs if not necessarily faster trains, but more trains. And there are some glaring gaps in the network.

It is insane, for instance, that Heathrow Airport’s only rail link is a dedicated (and ludicrously expensive) line to Paddington, a station in a part of London where relatively few people live or work. It is utterly absurd that passengers alighting at Heathrow cannot get a train to Reading, let alone Bristol, Cardiff, Birmingham, Edinburgh or Exeter. It is madness that there is no direct train linking Oxford and Cambridge and I do not fully understand why the £16bn London Crossrail project does not include St Pancras station - Britain’s rail gateway to the Continent - on its route.
We need longer trains and more frequent services. In many countries capacity is doubled using double-decker carriages. This would be hard to do here because of bridge heights and so on. But not impossible and £32bn would go a long way to alleviating congestion on the London commuter routes and along the South Coast.
Some routes are unacceptably slow. Trains to Devon and Cornwall dawdle along at velocities that would embarrass IK Brunel. The current franchising system needs to be scrapped in favour of something which actually rewards companies that invest in new rolling stock and better services.

Necessary? Britain is a fairly small island and London and Birmingham are not very far apart
Of course the network really needs to be taken back into public hands, but this is whistling into the wind. British Rail was not perfect but it was a coherent organisation that required less subsidy than Virgin, First Great Western, National Express and the rest seem to require.
New signalling and some line upgrades would mean that many services currently restricted to 125mph could run at 140mph or more. Again, Britain is a fairly small place so the huge advantages of ultra high-speed trains are not as apparent as they are in, say, France.
Britain suffers from having the world’s oldest railway network. If you look at a map of London’s railways, for instance, you see a surreal spaghetti of unconnected routes weaving and wiggling their way over and under the capital’s streets, a legacy of the mid-19th Century when dozens of fly-by-night railway companies sprung up to build lines here there and everywhere without a moment’s thought about a national or even regional strategy.
The antiquity of the network explains why London’s termini seem to be scattered so randomly, why it is hard to get from Dorset and Hampshire to Devon and Cornwall (the old SR and GWR services nearly met at Yeovil, but not quite and they still don’t, despite there being a physical line in existence, built in the War). Thirty two billion pounds would not begin to sort that lot out but it would be a start.

High-speed trains do have one advantage – they make us feel better just knowing they are there. I would support HS2 if – and it is a big if – the plan was extended to take 200mph trains to northern England and into Scotland. And why not make the London terminus St Pancras instead of Euston? People still fly from London to Glasgow – mad, yes I know, but they do – but if the journey could be brought down to a couple of hours they would stop.
Don’t get me wrong. I love the idea of fast trains and dream of a future of 300mph transcontinental expresses and a redundant Heathrow turned into a nature reserve. That ain’t going to happen for awhile so we have to do what we can. I’m just not sure HS2 is the right place to start.

Link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2058968/Why-rail-fans-wary-HS2.html

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by kwijiboenator on Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:23 am

I see his point, which is very valid in the time we're living in right now - but the thing is that by the time construction is starting, we'd be out of the current financial difficulties. I do think the current AA-Roadmaps with lines drawn in showing the route on the DfT's website don't really show us the best route available though - if any HS2 were to operate, surely St.Pancras would be the best choice of London terminal so that potential services could connect us to other European cities?

But I do think we should perhaps look at connecting Wales and Scotland up to a better rail network first - as the chap Jeffery Quoted had observed a number of times in his letter to the Mail, we should look to invest in the current system - and I think we should probably be looking at cutting down the journey times between Edinburgh and Aberdeen - because at that distance it really shouldn't be taking two and half hours between the two cities - by intercity services no less!

I do however value time above money - because in this life, time is all we have. We never really do have money, because money is an exchange system, which looses all value if it lacks the 'exchange' part of it's very being.

I have a lot of respect for the letter though - because it isn't the nimby's making up invalid, random arguments which spiral into an out of control ravings of lunatics, but somebody who has sat back and taken stock - and perhaps construction of HS2 should sit it out until other issues are resolved on the current rail network - bear in mind, introducing in-cab signaling could mean faster operations on our current mainlines from 125mph to 140mph or 150mph - bear in mind some Japanese Shinkansen routes run at 152mph, so that wouldn't be too bad.

As I've said before, in-cab signaling also means no copper wire cable thefts from signals - because there wouldn't be any. Plus, the time saved off of mainline routes would have it's uses to the majority of those who commute and use our rail system on a daily basis.

There'd not be a hole in anybody's pocket for too long a time either - selling off all of the copper wire after introducing in-cab signaling would probably prop up the cost for it's introduction.

HS2 is a good idea at some point though - perhaps if not HS2 whilst a HS2 system costs are in it's Billions, then the above changes implemented on our network could mean waiting for a more efficient - and even higher speed mag-lev system, bringing speeds of around 500mph, once such a system developed on the scale of the proposed HS2 was brought down from the trillions to the billions level? To answer that question though, you need to ask 'Do we need HS2' prior to it's immediate construction.

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by Dexter on Mon Nov 28, 2011 6:11 am

Just for your comparison, our second largest city (Brno) and third largest city (Ostrava) are 167 km away from each other, the net railway distance is considered. Now, if I take the train departing Brno at 6:02 in the morning, I will get to Ostrava at 8:27 a.m., How poor is that?

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by lonelyinardwick on Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:13 am

Derryck wrote:Now, if I take the train departing Brno at 6:02 in the morning, I will get to Ostrava at 8:27 a.m.,
Damn, that's absurd for a couple hundred kilometres!

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by Dexter on Mon Nov 28, 2011 11:20 am

Yes it is, that's one of the reasons why trains are so "popular in my country". albino

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by Misfit on Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:16 pm

But is it really necessary to be able to travel from Birmingham to London in 45 minutes. Perhaps the government want to turn Birmingham into a commuter city for London. Goodness knows how many folks would be able to afford the cost of a season ticket if this were the case.

How long would it take to drive by car from Brno to Ostrava. I believe that there is a motorway for most of that journey.

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by Dexter on Mon Nov 28, 2011 2:29 pm

Actually yes, the motorway has been finished last year It goes whole the way throu and it takes about 90 minutes or so...

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by lonelyinardwick on Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:09 pm

Derryck wrote:
Actually yes, the motorway has been finished last year It goes whole the way throu and it takes about 90 minutes or so...
Are you saying a Taxi would be faster than a Train between the two cities?

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by Misfit on Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:04 pm

A report in the Guardian says the Department of Transport has miraculously found £500 million to spend on 1.5 miles of tunnelling through the Chilterns so as to preserve an area of outstanding natural beauty. Yet more money the country cannot afford or is the BOE going to start printing monopoly money to pay for this ludicrous scheme.

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by graymac on Sun Dec 04, 2011 3:11 pm

Ah, yes! But you overlook the fact that the spending is in the backyard of the overprivileged conservatives. Different rules, old boy!

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by 92220 on Mon Dec 05, 2011 5:43 pm

Wongie2009 wrote:Are you saying a Taxi would be faster than a Train between the two cities?

I once caught the night sleeper from Durban to Johannesburg. A bicycle would have been faster. A 300 mile journey took 18 hours and you missed the nice scenery going through Natal because it was a night with no moon. Dawn came and we were up on the reef where it is flat like Norfolk, only bigger. rendeer

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

Post by kwijiboenator on Tue Dec 06, 2011 11:57 am

The past few winters have meant bus journeys from Bradford to the village where I live takes 3 hours - only 1 bus per direction per day, for a distance of 10 miles!

Complain to the bus driver, and s/he just shuts the bus down and stares at you!

I'll stick with my car and the trains, thank you!

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Re: Rail enthusiast opposes HS2 project.

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