HS2

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Bird on a Fire
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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:59 pm

Grumble wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:48 pm
I’ve taken internal U.K. flights, but there isn’t a train line from Manchester to Belfast yet.
Yeah fair enough, crossing the water is a special case if there isn't a decent ferry service.
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Jun 24, 2021 4:42 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:44 pm
Relying on market forces is all very well if it works. But the UK is currently trying to reduce its carbon emissions by 68% in the next 8.5 years. Flying from London to Birmingham doesn't seem like a realistic part of that.
Cor, you're right. Maybe they need some sort of way to a) speed intercity trains up, and b) create more local trains too, and c) encourage freight onto the trains the commuters don't need, and d) encourage drivers onto trains because they've become more useful for short journeys by being more frequent.

They probably need some sort of efficient plane, but that would mean it not flying which uses loads of fuel, so a sort of tube with seats in it, with its own special runway so it doesn't get in the way of everything else, but still really fast. Aa bit like that thing between St Pancras and Paris, but without the expensive intercontinental tunnel bit.

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Re: HS2

Post by Grumble » Thu Jun 24, 2021 5:53 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:59 pm
Grumble wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:48 pm
I’ve taken internal U.K. flights, but there isn’t a train line from Manchester to Belfast yet.
Yeah fair enough, crossing the water is a special case if there isn't a decent ferry service.
There is a decent ferry, takes a while though
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Re: HS2

Post by Woodchopper » Fri Jun 25, 2021 8:19 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:44 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:36 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:07 pm


Which is odd, because if they wanted to kill domestic short-haul flights they could just ban them like France has done recently. No need to spunk £100 billion on a trainline.
That's a very odd response - France can only realistically do this because they already have their High Speed rail network that gives a realistic alternative to internal flights.
Define "realistic". I've travelled in the UK a lot and have never taken an internal flight. Trains, buses and cars are all real.

Relying on market forces is all very well if it works. But the UK is currently trying to reduce its carbon emissions by 68% in the next 8.5 years. Flying from London to Birmingham doesn't seem like a realistic part of that.
The problem is that, as we've seen with Brexit, relatively small delays can have large economic effects. If people in say, Birmingham, Manchester or Leeds can't reliably and quickly get in and out of central London then they may decide that they or their business need to relocate to London.

Of course the low carbon future shouldn't involve flights between cities on the isle of Great Britain. But if you want that future to be politically feasible you need to offer people a low carbon alternative that is similarly as fast and reliable as air travel. That doesn't just include the people who fly, but everyone who might be affected by jobs etc being relocated.

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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Jun 25, 2021 8:52 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:44 pm
Gfamily wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:36 pm
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:07 pm


Which is odd, because if they wanted to kill domestic short-haul flights they could just ban them like France has done recently. No need to spunk £100 billion on a trainline.
That's a very odd response - France can only realistically do this because they already have their High Speed rail network that gives a realistic alternative to internal flights.
Define "realistic". I've travelled in the UK a lot and have never taken an internal flight. Trains, buses and cars are all real.

Relying on market forces is all very well if it works. But the UK is currently trying to reduce its carbon emissions by 68% in the next 8.5 years. Flying from London to Birmingham doesn't seem like a realistic part of that.
One of the biggest factors which affects the willingness of people to travel some of the longer routes in the UK is time to destination. Typical travel time from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh by train is 4h30m. For the same journey, it's a 50 minute trip to Heathrow T5, maybe 20-30 minutes buffer time at the airport, a 1h25m flight, another 20m to get through Edinburgh airport and, say, a 25m taxi to the city centre. That's 3h30m. And that's one of the easiest and fastest routes for trains - other destinations are more complicated. London to Inverness is at least 8h04m and that's if you take a direct train. There's even a sleeper service because it takes so bl..dy long. However, the flight is 1h40m.

I've found it hard to find centralised statistics on which domestic air routes are most popular, but according to this, London-Scotland routes account for eight of the top eleven most popular routes. Just looking at a map of the UK, that seems like it's an obvious thing. So there's clearly a great opportunity, if we get high speed rail right, to make a big dent in that market.

HS2 isn't being planned at present to extend into Scotland, which to my mind is hugely short-sighted (this was originally an ambition for both major parties a decade ago). However, even without that, HS2 will cut half an hour off the time to Edinburgh, and that makes the comparison a little better. There are also discussions about improving that further.

Nonetheless, if they do get it right,
into the future of the UK domestic air market said about HS2:
HS2 and the development of other competing surface transport modes

Research into the impact of high speed rail on air/rail mode share in Spain indicates that the development of HS2 from London to the North may impact domestic air transport demand in the UK. Although there is no data available for the UK since it does not have an operational domestic high speed rail network, competition and cooperation between air transport and HSR has been extensively explored in mainland Europe and parts of Asia. Such studies demonstrate that the provision of HSR not only shifts passengers away from air transport but also stimulates new demand (Sun et al., 2017). Research by Jimenez and Betancor (2012) revealed that new high speed rail services in Spain led to a 17% fall in domestic air transport operations.
The continued use and commercial viability of domestic aerial trunk routes for mail and express parcels may be impacted by technological and policy innovations in other surface transport modes including the proposed repurposing of high speed train stock for domestic mail and express parcel delivery by rail and the introduction of electronic, connected and autonomous vehicles (Clewlow et al., 2014; Albalate et al., 2015).
Not quite a killing, that, but certainly an improvement. I'd argue, given the shape of Great Britain (longer and thinner than Spain), there's probably more opportunity here to reduce the domestic air market than there, where I could well imagine domestic flights were less concentrated in a specific direction.

But even then, they've got to get the costs sorted too, which is another area where the airlines tend to win at the moment. So that means taxing the airlines more and probably subsidising the railway more. With the advent of the Great British Rail-Off, the government may even be able to frig it so they deliberately and specifically get ticket price reductions on routes which they intend to replace air travel paths.

And the benefit?
Domestic Aviation Emissions.png
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Re: HS2

Post by headshot » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:05 am

Britain May be longer and thinner, but have you ever tried getting a train from Aberystwyth to Norwich?

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:07 am

surface transport - is that freight, or just cars on the road? This is another major benefit, the capacity increase on the rail network should open major opportunities here.

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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:41 am

HS2 will definitely be a boon for faster travel around the UK.

Nevertheless - and this is a bit of a derail - the scale of the UK's climate commitments may well involve people having to do a bit less of something. To me, shaving a few hours of a journey to Scotland seems like something the world as a whole wouldn't miss, if it's part of a package of measures to seriously limit climate change to 1.5°C.

The old-fashioned model of incrementally providing alternatives and hoping people voluntarily use them hasn't delivered good results so far.

Best case scenario, how much faster will rail to Scotland be by 2030? Equal with flights, or would a ban or massively taxing tickets still be necessary to ensure the modal shift we likely need (unless there's some other package of measures about to be announced by the Johnson administration)?
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:43 am

headshot wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:05 am
Britain May be longer and thinner, but have you ever tried getting a train from Aberystwyth to Norwich?
Well no, and neither have many other people, hence why we aren't building a high speed railway between those places. That said, the Cambrian line to Aber is going to be the first part of the national rail network to get moving block signalling installed (as a trial; I think it'll be a hybrid system) so it isn't completely ignored.
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:46 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:41 am

The old-fashioned model of incrementally providing alternatives and hoping people voluntarily use them hasn't delivered good results so far.
Evidence please, especially that banning things is a better option. You’re kind of suggesting that offering people choices, some with advantages, isn’t successful.

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:48 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:43 am
headshot wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:05 am
Britain May be longer and thinner, but have you ever tried getting a train from Aberystwyth to Norwich?
Well no, and neither have many other people, hence why we aren't building a high speed railway between those places. That said, the Cambrian line to Aber is going to be the first part of the national rail network to get moving block signalling installed (as a trial; I think it'll be a hybrid system) so it isn't completely ignored.
East / West is generally a complete pita compared to North / South though. I always assumed it was a historic thing to do with wars.

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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:51 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:41 am
HS2 will definitely be a boon for faster travel around the UK.

Nevertheless - and this is a bit of a derail - the scale of the UK's climate commitments may well involve people having to do a bit less of something. To me, shaving a few hours of a journey to Scotland seems like something the world as a whole wouldn't miss, if it's part of a package of measures to seriously limit climate change to 1.5°C.

The old-fashioned model of incrementally providing alternatives and hoping people voluntarily use them hasn't delivered good results so far.

Best case scenario, how much faster will rail to Scotland be by 2030? Equal with flights, or would a ban or massively taxing tickets still be necessary to ensure the modal shift we likely need (unless there's some other package of measures about to be announced by the Johnson administration)?
I'm not aware of any improvements other than HS2 which will have any measurable impact on the journey time to Scotland by 2030. HS2 might commission phase 1 by 2029 (though it might be later), but again I'm not certain of the journey time improvements that will bring north of Birmingham.

Trouble is, your approach here is very much coming at it from the (arguably ideal) perspective of considering the actual urgency of climate change and doing whatever it takes to avoid the massive catastrophe that awaits. Unfortunately, politicians are coming at it from the perspective of avoiding pissing too many people off at once, and telling people they can no longer travel to Scotland by air (or have to pay shitloads more) without in some way improving the journey by rail there, would (a) piss people off a lot and (b) probably ensure they go by car instead.
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Re: HS2

Post by IvanV » Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:58 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 8:52 am
One of the biggest factors which affects the willingness of people to travel some of the longer routes in the UK is time to destination. Typical travel time from London Kings Cross to Edinburgh by train is 4h30m. For the same journey, it's a 50 minute trip to Heathrow T5, maybe 20-30 minutes buffer time at the airport, a 1h25m flight, another 20m to get through Edinburgh airport and, say, a 25m taxi to the city centre. That's 3h30m. And that's one of the easiest and fastest routes for trains - other destinations are more complicated. London to Inverness is at least 8h04m and that's if you take a direct train. There's even a sleeper service because it takes so bl..dy long. However, the flight is 1h40m.

I've found it hard to find centralised statistics on which domestic air routes are most popular, but according to this, London-Scotland routes account for eight of the top eleven most popular routes. Just looking at a map of the UK, that seems like it's an obvious thing. So there's clearly a great opportunity, if we get high speed rail right, to make a big dent in that market.

HS2 isn't being planned at present to extend into Scotland, which to my mind is hugely short-sighted (this was originally an ambition for both major parties a decade ago). However, even without that, HS2 will cut half an hour off the time to Edinburgh, and that makes the comparison a little better. There are also discussions about improving that further.
You are right. Rail journey times are already short enough that there is no material London-Midlands air market, and rail has much the lion's share of the London to Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds and even Newcastle air/rail markets. The scope for HS2 to increase the rail market share from air in these markets is limited, because it already has most of it. Air routes like London-Manchester mainly serve the long-haul interline market.

Whenever I say this, people usually produce their anecdotes of someone flying London to Manchester just because. My Yorkshire-born boss occasionally flies from Gatwick to Leeds because she lives near Gatwick Airport and it can be cheaper than going on the train, given when she has to travel. But this merely explains why there is enough demand for a small number of flights in comparison with the hordes going on the train. And low cost airlines can get demand by competing on price, given that the train is expensive at certain times.

The main opportunity to make major in-roads into air market share, within this island, is London-Scotland, as you notice. Though actually it's not as big a market as London-Manchester, etc. As you say, HS2 as is will take some time out of London-Edinburgh, and maybe even more time out of London-Glasgow, though L-G is rather slower than L-E to star with. And seemingly the cost of trying to speed up the line all the way is too rich even for a goverment willing to spend on the present core HS2.

This was all well known about 15 years ago, because colleagues of mine, in a previous employment, carried out a study for DfT on it. So it was pretty bonkers when the government came along a little later and tried to say that HS2 was about avoiding air capacity expansion. The number of people you could get out of the air did not amount to very many train-loads worth, nor a significant proportion of Heathrow slots, even if you made major in-roads into the London-Scotland market. And this was all pretty obvious.

But this is merely a small side issue, not a show-stopper.

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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:06 am

plodder wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:48 am
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:43 am
headshot wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:05 am
Britain May be longer and thinner, but have you ever tried getting a train from Aberystwyth to Norwich?
Well no, and neither have many other people, hence why we aren't building a high speed railway between those places. That said, the Cambrian line to Aber is going to be the first part of the national rail network to get moving block signalling installed (as a trial; I think it'll be a hybrid system) so it isn't completely ignored.
East / West is generally a complete pita compared to North / South though. I always assumed it was a historic thing to do with wars.
I think it's more a thing to do with where people live and don't live. Not many people live along the line west of Shrewsbury, so the rail line there hasn't been prioritised much. That said, Birmingham to Norwich takes a f.cking age, and whilst the eletrification of almost the complete network is needed, the highest priority lines which haven't yet been done are probably the Midland Mainline north of Kettering, the Chiltern main line, the South Wales main line west of Cardiff, the North Wales coast line, the Great Western main line south west of Bristol (arguably), and the key Cross-Country lines of Bristol to Leeds via Birmingham and Derby, and Birmingham to Peterborough and Ely. Getting those lines sorted would make a massive difference for those sorts of east-west journeys. East West rail will help a little further south, but, of course, Grayling spunked his magic over that and it isn't going to be electrified.
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Re: HS2

Post by Gfamily » Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:23 am

As far as I can see, the quickest rail route from Liverpool to Leeds takes longer than driving would. (1h 32 compared to 1h 20 ish depending on traffic)
Most daytime trains take 10-15 minutes longer, and add another 25 minutes if you can't get a direct train.
HS2 won't help with that of course, but it shows the scale of the problem with rail in UK

They're less than 65 miles apart
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:35 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:06 am

I think it's more a thing to do with where people live and don't live. Not many people live along the line west of Shrewsbury, so the rail line there hasn't been prioritised much. That said, Birmingham to Norwich takes a f.cking age, and whilst the eletrification of almost the complete network is needed, the highest priority lines which haven't yet been done are probably the Midland Mainline north of Kettering, the Chiltern main line, the South Wales main line west of Cardiff, the North Wales coast line, the Great Western main line south west of Bristol (arguably), and the key Cross-Country lines of Bristol to Leeds via Birmingham and Derby, and Birmingham to Peterborough and Ely. Getting those lines sorted would make a massive difference for those sorts of east-west journeys. East West rail will help a little further south, but, of course, Grayling spunked his magic over that and it isn't going to be electrified.
Classic ‘lots of fiddly little technical solutions’ rather than ‘one big simple one’ territory there, with all the precarious issues around funding / approvals multiplied accordingly.

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Re: HS2

Post by IvanV » Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:53 am

Gfamily wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:23 am
As far as I can see, the quickest rail route from Liverpool to Leeds takes longer than driving would. (1h 32 compared to 1h 20 ish depending on traffic)
Most daytime trains take 10-15 minutes longer, and add another 25 minutes if you can't get a direct train.
HS2 won't help with that of course, but it shows the scale of the problem with rail in UK

They're less than 65 miles apart
Chris Stokes did an excellent analysis in a lecture to the Transport Economists Group in 2014 https://transecongroup.org/wp-content/u ... t_41-3.pdf (page 8ff) setting out major city pairs with seriously crap rail journey times in comparison to road, where improving the speed of travel of the railway could make a large contribution to modal share of rail and improving the economic connectivity of those major city pairs. Liverpool-Manchester-Leeds/Sheffield, and generally Birmingham to all those stand out as crap. Manchester/Liverpool-Birmingham is also notably crap by road, which probably accounts for the surprisingly low internal trade between W Mids and the NW.

So that is what stands out as the best value investments in rail speed and capacity improvement available in this country.

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Re: HS2

Post by JQH » Fri Jun 25, 2021 11:05 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:41 am
HS2 will definitely be a boon for faster travel around the UK.

Nevertheless - and this is a bit of a derail - ...
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Jun 25, 2021 11:19 am

On the point of Liverpool to Manchester and Leeds and thence deeper into Mordor, Northern Powerhouse Rail is aiming to improve journeys along that route markedly. To my mind it's always felt a little nebulous and ill-defined, as I've heard people talking variously about it as HS3 and others as just improving the current railway. The latter wouldn't really work west of Leeds. However, that wikipedia article seem much firmer on it being largely proper high speed rail west of Leeds, which is good if true. However, I'm still very sceptical of how much the government cares about this and is prepared to commit to it.

Edit: See, for example, this.
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Re: HS2

Post by philbo » Fri Jun 25, 2021 4:06 pm

JQH wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 11:05 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:41 am
HS2 will definitely be a boon for faster travel around the UK.

Nevertheless - and this is a bit of a derail - ...
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Re: HS2

Post by Millennie Al » Sat Jun 26, 2021 1:01 am

headshot wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:05 am
Britain May be longer and thinner, but have you ever tried getting a train from Aberystwyth to Norwich?
For an East-West route which more people would use, try London to Holyhead. It costs £77. According to Google, London Euston to Holyhead is 289 miles. At 30mpg a diesel vehicle will cost £59 in fuel to make the trip. Why doesn't the train, which takes many people together, cost a lot less? For comparison, nationalexpress does London Victoria to Cardiff (shorter at only 174 miles, but that's the closest route I can find) for £11.90 (well, actually, their prices go down to 90p, but that's ridiculous). There's something very wrong about train prices - especially when you consider that road travel is heavily taxed.

And there's more! Now try extending the train trip via the ferry to Dublin. The cost falls to £50. Why is it cheaper to go further on the exact same train?
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Re: HS2

Post by headshot » Sat Jun 26, 2021 6:01 am

Birmingham to London has two lines, and therefore competition. In the before-times, it was often possible to get an off-peak return ticket for £10-£15.

The local train tickets from your home to your final destination in London, and back, would sometimes cost more.

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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Sat Jun 26, 2021 9:35 am

The pricing on the railway is obviously ridiculous. It's mainly caused by a few factors - the fact that the railways have been so busy on certain routes, the captivity of the commuting market into London (until recently), and the government's refusal to subsidise the railway to the extent seen in Europe.

Privatisation plays some role here but less than it is blamed for - ticket prices would still be high under BR if it had continued for another 25 years, and renationalisation wouldn't have made prices go down much. The relatively high running costs of the UK railway compared to some others in Europe (and that point is considerably more debatable than you'd think from reading the newspapers) is in large part down to fragmentation. Hopefully the GBR reforms will alleviate it somewhat, but it'd be fair to be sceptical.

An influence on the busyness of the railway is obviously a refusal of the government to meaningfully invest in enhancements with a long term strategy in mind. Investment has, instead, been piecemeal, subject to stupid constraints and decisions, liable to late stage alterations (putting the price up, typically, and often sh.tting the trackbed, so to speak) and inconsistent. The Great Western electrification was obviously far too expensive but the answer to that wasn't to just stop doing any for years as Grayling decided. If, instead, investment had been forward-thinking and great enough and consistent enough since the 1960s, issues with passenger numbers could've been foreseen and alleviated.

The subsidy part is just standard neolib b.llsh.t. For all of Corbyn's manning the barricades, I don't think I ever heard him simply say, "we will subsidise the railway more and so reduce ticket prices". Not necessarily the most progressive policy evs but it'd play well with the likes of me.

It'll be interesting to see what happens now with working from home. The people who can do it are often the people who commuted by train, hence the massive drop in numbers in the last year. The loss of or reduction in that captive market for a time should, through economics, mean the ticket prices drop. But then the tories put the prices up in January, so figure that one out.
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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jun 27, 2021 9:59 pm

plodder wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:46 am
Bird on a Fire wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:41 am

The old-fashioned model of incrementally providing alternatives and hoping people voluntarily use them hasn't delivered good results so far.
Evidence please,
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plodder wrote:
Fri Jun 25, 2021 9:46 am
especially that banning things is a better option. You’re kind of suggesting that offering people choices, some with advantages, isn’t successful.
I can't, off the top of my head, think of many case studies where things that contribute to climate change have been outright banned (because of their carbon contributions).

If anyone would like to suggest an example, I'll happily look into the likely carbon consequences.
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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Sun Jun 27, 2021 10:03 pm

There's some other good posts I'll reply to tomorrow, but I'm currently rushing between watching football and finishing some phd paperwork annual appraisal* guff.

*My last year was f.cking sh.t, like everyone else. But there's no way I can vent in this form without it coming back to hit my supervisor or department, who have been awesome and fine respectively. Luckily I know from previous years that nobody responds to these things and I don't know if they're even read, so whatever. But that's an even bigger derail (no pun intended, honestly!).
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