HS2

Discussions about serious topics, for serious people
IvanV
Snowbonk
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Re: HS2

Post by IvanV » Tue Aug 17, 2021 8:35 pm

shpalman wrote:
Tue Aug 17, 2021 9:27 am
But then the next major project will also feature whatever shiny fancy cutting edge best-in-class everything there is in the future.
Small projects are also a problem. And I think shiny fancy etc is part of the problem. For example, TfL were quoting £700m just to upgrade the pedestrian access to Holborn station. There is an awful lot of stuff like that which needs doing across the London Underground network, and it needs doing within the next few decades, not centuries. I think they now realise if such is the cost of dealing with just one station, then they just haven't got anywhere near enough money in the period of time that is required, and large parts of the network are just going to fall apart through lack of money to fund renewals in anything like the timescale required. There just is nowhere near the amount of money to put so much of it on just one station, relatively important station (nearest to my office) though it is.

A couple of years ago I went to a conference on railway station developments, both in the sense of building new stations, and also using railway stations to encourage economic development. The Dutch head of railway stations and some colleagues were there and made a presentation. Alongside was a presentation on the new railway station at Meridian Water, a new £46m commuter/local railway station serving a large development area in the Lee Valley in North London, on a 2-track railway that required no realignment. The railway station at Southend Airport, a £30m station on a 2-track railway requiring no realignment, came up. It was clear that the chins of the Dutch contingent had clanged to the ground, long way though it is for a Dutch chin, at the costs of these projects. They thought it was a long way beyond stupid.

I believe Chiltern Railway succeeded in building the actual station at Warwick Parkway, a new station on a 2-track railway, as part of Project Evergreen for less than £1m. The car park and access was separately costed, so that's makes the comparison somewhat misleading, as that would be included in the cost of the other projects. It did subsequently get a bit of smartening up. But it makes you wonder what the difference is between a £1m station and a £46m station, on a plain, straight 2-track railway.

The Dutch mentioned the Luchtsingel, a 400m footbridge, with multiple entrances, creating pedestrian connections across several thoroughfares including a 4-track railway and an 8-lane road, assisting with the revitalisation of some areas near Rotterdam Centraal station which had become severed. I came away with the impression it had been built for €400,000. That contrasted very badly with UK costs, as you'd struggle to build a basic footbridge over a 2-track railway line in a small town for that in Britain. Though I now have difficulty getting a source for the cost, and I suspect that was the cost for just one of 6 phases of construction, or perhaps just the design phase, and it must have cost a lot more. Though it would be nice to find the actual cost, and then we could try to compare it with spending £50m on the Garden Bridge before even putting a spade in the ground... I'm afraid google didn't help, but maybe someone who knows more Dutch than me could find something.

User avatar
shpalman
Light of Blast
Posts: 5910
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:53 pm
Location: One step beyond

Re: HS2

Post by shpalman » Wed Aug 18, 2021 5:27 am

Apparently it cost €3 million to put a couple of platforms on the 2-track Chiasso-Como-Monza line where it passes close to Camerlata Station (on the Como-Saronno-Milano Cadorna line) and build a walkway from one to the other (and a bridge to get to the far platform). Still waiting for the extra parking spaces.

The two lines used to be State Railway and "North Milan" owned, respectively, and would literally cross each other but were entirely separate. Now they're both run by a single operator.

It costs less than €5 for the ~50 km trip to Milan from Como on a regional train.
molto tricky

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 2201
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Aug 18, 2021 8:35 am

Basic footbridge unit cost for planning is £700k, so about double, though the cost of bridges varies enormously. Building a PRM-compliant bridge is more like £2m.

I get the sense (based on little to no evidence) that much of the cost of erecting a footbridge here isn't the job itself, but the legal processes, getting local consent, etc.
Cinch?
Cinch!
Cinch?
Cinch?!
Cinch*
<Cinch>
-Cinch-
"Cinch"
Cinch.

User avatar
shpalman
Light of Blast
Posts: 5910
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:53 pm
Location: One step beyond

Re: HS2

Post by shpalman » Wed Aug 18, 2021 8:41 am

This footbridge (over a road) cost "a little over €1 million" apparently.

Image
molto tricky

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 2201
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Aug 18, 2021 8:50 am

shpalman wrote:
Wed Aug 18, 2021 5:27 am
It costs less than €5 for the ~50 km trip to Milan from Como on a regional train.
Yes, you'd expect it to be so cheap, given that the Italian railway is considerably more subsidised than the GB railway (in normal times at least).
Cinch?
Cinch!
Cinch?
Cinch?!
Cinch*
<Cinch>
-Cinch-
"Cinch"
Cinch.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 2201
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Aug 18, 2021 8:56 am

This footbridge at Tidemills is estimated at around £5-6m, and is a bespoke design because the area is a national park and an area of beauty.
Cinch?
Cinch!
Cinch?
Cinch?!
Cinch*
<Cinch>
-Cinch-
"Cinch"
Cinch.

User avatar
shpalman
Light of Blast
Posts: 5910
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:53 pm
Location: One step beyond

Re: HS2

Post by shpalman » Wed Aug 18, 2021 9:16 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Aug 18, 2021 8:50 am
shpalman wrote:
Wed Aug 18, 2021 5:27 am
It costs less than €5 for the ~50 km trip to Milan from Como on a regional train.
Yes, you'd expect it to be so cheap, given that the Italian railway is considerably more subsidised than the GB railway (in normal times at least).
It means it's actually worth it to use compared to driving, even if I'm only driving to the Bovisa campus; I used to drive to Bovisa regularly in the evenings for social reasons but always take the train if it's during the day (e.g. for teaching). Even better is that if I'm only in Milan for a pointlessly short time, I can get back during the 3 hours that the original ticket was valid for i.e. the return trip is free.

A monthly go-anywhere-in-Lombardy pass costs about €110 I think. I'll probably get one in October when I'll be teaching more centrally in Milan because I'll need the metro;* a monthly train-only pass between Milan and Como costs about €80 but the monthly train-plus-Milan-metro pass is only marginally less than the pass for the whole of Lombardy.

* - actually the within-Milan public transport is all integrated on the same tickets.

The disadvantage is that they tend to go on strike on Fridays.

(Other disadvantages are that the line is only single track from Camerlata down into Como and to the lake, and that the level crossings tend to knacker the traffic in the centre especially at rush hour.)
Last edited by shpalman on Wed Aug 18, 2021 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
molto tricky

User avatar
shpalman
Light of Blast
Posts: 5910
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:53 pm
Location: One step beyond

Re: HS2

Post by shpalman » Wed Aug 18, 2021 9:19 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Aug 18, 2021 8:56 am
This footbridge at Tidemills is estimated at around £5-6m, and is a bespoke design because the area is a national park and an area of beauty.
The first drawing makes it look like it's not going over anything and not coming down at the other end.

What about this and this in Lincoln?
molto tricky

User avatar
shpalman
Light of Blast
Posts: 5910
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:53 pm
Location: One step beyond

Re: HS2

Post by shpalman » Wed Aug 18, 2021 9:29 am

And now completely off topic since it's a road bridge over a small river but this.
molto tricky

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 2201
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Aug 23, 2021 9:25 am

Reports in on Sunday that the government is indeed close to committing political harakiri by scrapping the Leeds branch of HS2.

Nigel Harris has done a rare thing of posting his editorial from the current edition of Rail magazine on the twitter:

https://twitter.com/RAIL/status/1429690550719029248

Everyone should read it in full.
Cinch?
Cinch!
Cinch?
Cinch?!
Cinch*
<Cinch>
-Cinch-
"Cinch"
Cinch.

User avatar
shpalman
Light of Blast
Posts: 5910
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:53 pm
Location: One step beyond

Re: HS2

Post by shpalman » Tue Aug 24, 2021 3:14 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Aug 18, 2021 8:50 am
shpalman wrote:
Wed Aug 18, 2021 5:27 am
It costs less than €5 for the ~50 km trip to Milan from Como on a regional train.
Yes, you'd expect it to be so cheap, given that the Italian railway is considerably more subsidised than the GB railway (in normal times at least).
I was just figuring out which would be the optimal tickets to use when I have to go and teach in the centre of Milan in September and October and I noticed that a monthly rail-only Como-Milan season ticket has dropped from €80 to €57, while the monthly Como-Milan-plus-Milan-public-transport season ticket has dropped from €105 to €84. This means it's not worth it to get the monthly go-anywhere-in-Lombardy this time, which still costs €108. It is, however, worth it to get the monthly ticket for September even if lessons only start half way through but I won't buy it yet in case the covid situation sends everything online again.
molto tricky

plodder
After Pie
Posts: 2364
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Aug 26, 2021 9:38 am

Here's Greens for HS2 putting the case for, well, HS2, in a detailed podcast for the byline times. It's good.

https://podfollow.com/1522910878/episod ... 1434b/view

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 2201
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Oct 11, 2021 8:47 pm

Looks like Leeds is getting canned.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/p ... 34935.html

The branch line, not the city. Though now that I mention it...
Cinch?
Cinch!
Cinch?
Cinch?!
Cinch*
<Cinch>
-Cinch-
"Cinch"
Cinch.

User avatar
TopBadger
Clardic Fug
Posts: 169
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:33 pm
Location: Halfway up

Re: HS2

Post by TopBadger » Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:02 am

Boris betraying his levelling up agenda? Colour me shocked.
You can't polish a turd...
unless its Lion or Osterich poo... http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbus ... -turd.html

plodder
After Pie
Posts: 2364
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Mon Nov 15, 2021 3:17 pm

More on the likely cancellation of the Eastern leg of HS2:

https://twitter.com/GarethDennis/status ... 0301242369

User avatar
Martin Y
After Pie
Posts: 2285
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:08 pm

Re: HS2

Post by Martin Y » Tue Nov 16, 2021 2:26 pm

TopBadger wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 10:02 am
Boris betraying his levelling up agenda? Colour me shocked.
He's embracing cancel culture.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 2201
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:35 am

Hard to emphasise just how much the government has f.cked this
Cinch?
Cinch!
Cinch?
Cinch?!
Cinch*
<Cinch>
-Cinch-
"Cinch"
Cinch.

plodder
After Pie
Posts: 2364
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:43 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:35 am
Hard to emphasise just how much the government has f.cked this
Have they announced the alternative plans? Does indeed feel like a butcher has got involved and that there's literally no strategy at all.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 2201
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:46 am

Given an absence of commentary from anywhere other than Government, I don't think the report has yet been released, but it's due out today. Once it's out, the real anger will begin. That said, Nigel Harris has just been on LBC (he was due on the Today show but they canned him at the last minute in favour of Demonic Raab's expert view on the railways), and he's predictably livid.
Cinch?
Cinch!
Cinch?
Cinch?!
Cinch*
<Cinch>
-Cinch-
"Cinch"
Cinch.

plodder
After Pie
Posts: 2364
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:01 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 10:46 am
Given an absence of commentary from anywhere other than Government, I don't think the report has yet been released, but it's due out today. Once it's out, the real anger will begin. That said, Nigel Harris has just been on LBC (he was due on the Today show but they canned him at the last minute in favour of Demonic Raab's expert view on the railways), and he's predictably livid.
https://twitter.com/RAIL

Livid is about right.

IvanV
Snowbonk
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Re: HS2

Post by IvanV » Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:09 am

They have decided that they have £96bn for rail investments over a certain period. That's a huge number, which in any other sensible country would enable a staggeringly large number of amazing things for their railway. Can we say they are being mean in not finding more? It's enormous in comparison to the money they are willing to give to supporting domestic decarbonisation, for example. Most other things the govt has sized spending plans on recently, the comment has been that it is but a small fraction of what is needed. And in this country, £96bn doesn't even let you finish all of HS2.

We should also remember that a fair bit of that money is needed for other parts of our railway. Our railway system will start (continue?) looking like a tottering historical throwback unless there is money for keeping the rest of the railway up to date. And HS2 will not give value unless we leave space for those complementary investments that give real value to the overall concept. Probably for every £1 you spend on HS2 you should hold onto at least £0.30 for complementary stuff. So it is not the sensible thing, at all, to allocate all of that £96bn to HS2, and leave the rest of the railway go hang.

So, if you have decided you "only" have £96bn for rail investments, then, at UK unit rail construction costs, there has to be some butchery to the scope of our ambition. I read Modern Railways, and we see excellent unfunded ambition after excellent unfunded ambition presented in their pages, and my reaction is always, do we have the money. Well maybe we would if we could solve the railway construction cost problem this country suffers very badly from. But that has had a tendency to get worse rather than better, and there is no magic wand to suddenly solve it, it would appear. Now probably isn't the best time to start saying, maybe those continental countries could teach us a thing or two about building railways at a sensible cost.

So, recognising that money is not in infinite supply, and £96bn is probably sodding generous by the standards of this government which normally produces a small fraction of the spending required to satisfy its publicly stated ambitions, and accepting our present railway construction costs, what would you choose to spend your £96bn on? My choice probably wouldn't align with theirs, but then I haven't studied the possibilities in detail. But I'll hold silence on my ill-informed choices for now, until I have heard some other reactions.

plodder
After Pie
Posts: 2364
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Nov 18, 2021 11:30 am

The perceived inefficiency in UK construction is potentially also within the government's gift to solve, though.

Some things which might help:

1) Less risk-averse (and better advised) government departments - currently risk is pushed onto the supply chain who are wise enough to up their prices accordingly. It also leads to risk getting pushed down the supply chain, with bunce added at each tier.

2) Easier access to land. Compulsory purchase is unreliable, slow, difficult etc. Land prices are crazy.

3) Greater political support for schemes. Local people (especially in affluent / Home Counties areas (where the barristers and other experts live) can cause havoc for government projects, especially where those government departments have wishy-washy legal advice or loopholes in the law to content with. The solution here is to have a long term strategy, communicate it, and stick to it.

4) General public sector inefficiency. This is a thing. You'd be horrified to hear things like "upping the burn rate" to meet forecasted annual spend (rather than upping the rate that deliverables are completed). The treasury absolutely creates this climate of "use it or lose it". Where the infrastructure owner is private, but a monopoly, the same applies.

5) A reliable pipeline of work. Show me a major UK contractor that is willing to invest in best practice technology (trick question) - they're all far too aware that their pipeline of work will be changed / cut / is subject to reactive numpties getting involved - so we get the bare minimum of innovation - just enough to win their place on the next framework, rather than something driven by genuine market pressure.

6) Asset management. This is currently still in the piss poor category due to decades of neglect. It's very difficult to build new things without understanding in detail what you currently have. For example Crossrail's cost and programme overruns happened when they tried to plug the new system into the hotchpotch of jury-rigged old shite that none of the engineers were told about. Essentially, clients don't know what they need until it's far too late.

User avatar
Troubled Joe
Sindis Poop
Posts: 78
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2021 8:42 am

Re: HS2

Post by Troubled Joe » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:44 pm

Whether money should be spunked up the wall on HS2 is one question.

Whether it should be spunked selectively in this manner is another.

Granted the full report might not be out yet but the TLDR version is clearly “F*ck the north”
Tarantella

plodder
After Pie
Posts: 2364
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:47 pm

Troubled Joe wrote:
Thu Nov 18, 2021 12:44 pm
Whether money should be spunked up the wall on HS2 is one question.

Whether it should be spunked selectively in this manner is another.

Granted the full report might not be out yet but the TLDR version is clearly “F*ck the north”
It's not spunked in the case of HS2. Seeings as these alternative plans appear to have been magicked out of nowhere in a short amount of time they may be a bit more stained and crusty.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
After Pie
Posts: 2201
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Nov 18, 2021 2:27 pm

Let's just go through the detail of what they're offering and judge how generous it is:
  1. HS2 from Crewe to Manchester - already announced, no new funding
  2. HS2 from Birmingham to a field just north of Loughborough - already announced, massive cutback from previous announcements
  3. Northern Powerhouse Rail aka HS3 - changes from a new high speed rail line from Liverpool to York and becomes a new high speed rail line from Warrington to Manchester to just over the border of Yorkshire. This was already announced and is a massive cutback from previous announcement. Further detail includes:
    1. Electrification between Liverpool and Warrington, upgrades to the lines (already announced, delivered in full I think)
    2. Electrification of the line between Manchester and Leeds, already announced and currently being delivered, although the electrification decision has been a dithering mess for about six years now, but appears to have been changed from partial electrification (ie DEMUs) to full electrification. The decision is fully based on speed, and not on capacity ("We carefully examined the other options put forward by TfN... they would have made the Manchester-Leeds journeys only four minutes faster... and cost an extra £18bn). The government has f.cking lost it.
    3. Announced as a separate thing, but actually identical to the previous point, full electrification of Manchester-Leeds-York. Note that Leeds-York electrification has already progressed so much the structures are in the ground.
    4. ETCS on the whole route - previously just partial
    5. "Longer sections of three and four-tracking". Previously was just a bit of four tracking. Now it's slightly more. This is the key bit. This is where the thing falls down. It doesn't matter how fast the trains are or whether they're electrified. If they're stuck behind a freight train then without four-tracking it's like being in a ferrari stuck behind a lorry on the A4 for mile after mile.
  4. Full electrification of the Midland Main Line "between London St Pancras, the East Midlands and Sheffield" - previously announced in 2012, scrapped by Grayling and now re-announced so that it will be delivered about ten years later than was originally intended, and was inevitable regardless of HS2. This is actually full electrification of the Midland Mainline between Kettering and Sheffield, because London St Pancras to Bedford was done in the 70s and 80s, and Bedford to Kettering and Corby was completed a few years ago.
  5. ECML upgrades - delivery of ETCS "in some places" (Kings Cross to Stevenage-ish, already announced, delayed now to after 2024), upgrade the power supply (standard Network Rail renewals funding), increase maximum speeds in some areas (where ETCS is installed - truly MASSIVE impact there :roll: ), removal of some bottlenecks such as flat junctions (already happening in some places on ECML, pretty standard network enhancement, frankly dull as sh.t). Again, all about speed, f.ck all mentioned about capacity. Nothing more on new trains or more trains.
  6. Leeds tram system. Genuinely new announcement, though has previously been announced at least twice and has been cancelled each time.
  7. Contactless ticketing across commuting networks in the Midlands and North. Alan Partridge shrug.
  8. Midlands Rail Hub waffle. Nothing concrete. Meaningless guff.
  9. Local transport at Toton and in the East Midlands. Toton gets a station (subject to the private sector paying half). Also something about an East Midlands Delivery Vehicle, which I assume is a new Royal Mail van.
  10. Apparently HS2 and NPR wouldn't have seen MML electrification completed (because it's a different project, and Grayling cancelled it). But now they "could" see imprved services. Presumably they also could not. And there'll be no more capacity.
  11. Hope Valley Line upgrades - previously announced, currently in progress
  12. Lancashire Triangle electrification - previously announced, nearly complete.
  13. Safeguarding of the HS2 route north of the field just north of Loughborough - maintaining the fear but worsening the uncertainty.
Very, very little of this mysterious £96bn is actually new funding for new schemes. Much of the improvements are in progress or complete.
Cinch?
Cinch!
Cinch?
Cinch?!
Cinch*
<Cinch>
-Cinch-
"Cinch"
Cinch.

Post Reply