HS2

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Stephanie
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Re: HS2

Post by Stephanie » Wed Jun 23, 2021 10:39 pm

oh come on lads, I wanted to see how it would play out lmao
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Re: HS2

Post by discovolante » Wed Jun 23, 2021 10:58 pm

Hahaha omg my stomach did about 3 somersaults reading through this page, I'm with stephanie.
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Re: HS2

Post by JQH » Thu Jun 24, 2021 8:39 am

Stephanie wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 10:39 pm
oh come on lads, I wanted to see how it would play out lmao
So did I - I was getting the popcorn ready.
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Jun 24, 2021 10:01 am

Well hey, I'm not the only person who works in the rail industry (strategic modelling of business planning and future investments, myself), and opinions do vary. Although I haven't worked on HS2 myself, the capacity benefits as assessed by those who have (in Network Rail, not HS2) are huge, much bigger than any other options, and could make a real difference to things like commuting capacity which would be extremely difficult, time-consuming, expensive and damaging to try to replicate in other ways.
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Re: HS2

Post by Stephanie » Thu Jun 24, 2021 10:16 am

but are you "professional" epd? i bet that makes all the difference on whether your view is nuanced and all that
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Jun 24, 2021 10:19 am

Sometimes, I guess. I'm wearing a Star Wars t-shirt and sweat pants today so I don't know if that makes a difference. People can't see it on video calls.
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:28 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 10:01 am
Well hey, I'm not the only person who works in the rail industry (strategic modelling of business planning and future investments, myself), and opinions do vary. Although I haven't worked on HS2 myself, the capacity benefits as assessed by those who have (in Network Rail, not HS2) are huge, much bigger than any other options, and could make a real difference to things like commuting capacity which would be extremely difficult, time-consuming, expensive and damaging to try to replicate in other ways.
And of course all that extra local capacity opens up all sorts of doors for freight.

LMFAO at the "biodiversity net gain" from the new road building programmes by the way.

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:31 am

IvanV wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:14 pm
plodder wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 2:45 pm
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 12:56 pm
It's to increase rail capacity. And yes, it's expensive, but there aren't any better ways to provide the same huge increase in capacity as HS2.
Lol yes.
It is interesting to know that you both think this, and think it amounts to a cogent reason. As a professional transport policy economist, who has carried out many rail project appraisals, I have a more nuanced view of such things. But this is not a place to into detailed HS2 debates.
Bring it to the HS2 thread then. I'm sure your professional transport policy economics are as valid and interesting as the professional flood defence economics I have to put up with as part of my day job. They really are dandy. Does it have anything to do with the Treasury Green book? I don't hope so.

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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:55 am

plodder wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:28 am
LMFAO at the "biodiversity net gain" from the new road building programmes by the way.
Well exactly. HS2 is worse than that. While pretending to be "green".
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:55 am

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:55 am
plodder wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:28 am
LMFAO at the "biodiversity net gain" from the new road building programmes by the way.
Well exactly. HS2 is worse than that. While pretending to be "green".
Wrong thread. Bring your a-game.

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Re: HS2

Post by Stephanie » Thu Jun 24, 2021 12:14 pm

i could shift these to whatever HS2 thread there is?
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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Jun 24, 2021 12:18 pm

By all means! (Delete this post though, it's sh.t)
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Re: HS2

Post by Stephanie » Thu Jun 24, 2021 12:32 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 12:18 pm
By all means! (Delete this post though, it's sh.t)
tough, i've kept it haha. Anyway, do carry on :)
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Re: HS2

Post by IvanV » Thu Jun 24, 2021 12:42 pm

plodder wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 11:31 am
IvanV wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 4:14 pm
plodder wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 2:45 pm
Lol yes.
It is interesting to know that you both think this, and think it amounts to a cogent reason. As a professional transport policy economist, who has carried out many rail project appraisals, I have a more nuanced view of such things. But this is not a place to into detailed HS2 debates.
Bring it to the HS2 thread then. I'm sure your professional transport policy economics are as valid and interesting as the professional flood defence economics I have to put up with as part of my day job. They really are dandy. Does it have anything to do with the Treasury Green book? I don't hope so.
That was in part by way of expressing disgust at the suggestion I might learn something from that dippy engineer talking on youtube. I now see from the style of debate that is apparently acceptable that an expletive might have been a better reaction.

I think we have all demonstrated that we have the background to understand perfectly well that "to increase capacity" is an rather incomplete and vague justification. And this is all I am trying to say. What it is "for" is not fully clear, and has kept changing. And when you don't know properly what it is "for", it is difficult to build a cogent case that it is the best solution to that ill-defined problem.

Clearly it will have large capacity benefits. It's bound to as it is a new high speed railway connecting major settlements and relieving the existing railways. All sorts of things can have large capacity benefits, but the government has chosen to invest a lot of money in this particular railway, so much money that it will reduce our ability to invest in many other things. Are these the capacity benefits we most urgently need and are willing to spend this much to buy? It is interesting that EPD mentions in particular capacity benefits for commuting. Is that what it's "for", or part of what is "for"? Certainly that kind of thing will come out as a large incidental side-benefit, because building a new railway will necessarily relieve the existing railways. But no one suggested that is part of what it was "for" until later. Is it an optimised solution that best addresses the things that it is "for"? What about all the other heavily over-subscribed (in normal times) commuter lines. Is it the Northampton line we should prioritise?

I remember a colleague who formerly had a senior departmental role in the financing of the new diesel-electric hybrid intercity trains, prior to our working together. When I expressed doubt about them, she said, wait and see, you'll love them when you actually travel on them. I was never in any doubt that they were a purchase of trains, which is about what that seemed to suggest. It's not worth buying some trains at any price. The true point was, were they the best solution, and best value solution, to the particular problem. At least in that case the problem was well-defined. The idea that they were a ridiculous and excessively costly solution is today so common that it is hard to remember the level of support the project once had.

We can all be rude about the Green Book when we need to be. It does at least set out a common methodology so appraisals should be on a common basis, and compared on a common basis. But it is also much misunderstood and misapplied. It should be an aid to policy-making, not a straitjacket. The most common failing is a lack of clarity about what a project is "for". There is a sad tendency for projects to get a life of their own and people then try to use the Green Book to justify their pet projects after the fact. What I'm saying here is, I must admit, could be said to be merely echoing what Joseph Lowe, the Green Book guru himself, said about it in a lecture earlier this year. Both in terms of its frequent misuse, and the specific failing in relation to HS2. I know that's another argument from authority, and thus a fallacy. But I think the characterisation of HS2 as a project which got a life of its own, and has been sought to be justified after the fact, is plain. And that's why I repeat what he said.

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Jun 24, 2021 12:55 pm

Ivan, you're completely right. There does come a point where process-obsessed bean counters hamstring major projects for so long (decades, sometimes) that someone just says "oh for heavens sake, just get on with it. Enough of the existential b.llsh.t. We'll make it work, everything is falling apart around our ears already".

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Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:18 pm

I mean, nearly twelve years ago Network Rail published a report all about whether and why we need new rail lines. The summary report is called "Meeting the capacity challenge: The case for new lines", with the second page titled, "Meeting the capacity challenge" and stating in the very first paragraph,
Our railways are getting full. At some point, in the not too distant future, our railways will have no more spare capacity. Passenger numbers continue to grow, despite the economic downturn, with the railways now carrying more people per year – 1.3 billion – than at any time since 1946 when the network was almost twice the size.
It started this work in June 2008. The main report is 140 pages long and the second paragraph of the main report states:
The key aim of the New Lines Programme is to meet future needs for additional rail capacity. A new line will provide additional capacity in two ways:
  • Through the provision of capacity on the New Line itself; and
  • Through the associated release of capacity on the classic rail network.
The start of this work was before either the Conservatives or Labour backed the concept of High Speed Rail. So this is what it is "for".

However, when the Conservatives backed the idea in 2008, they put the reasoning firmly on the environment - avoiding the need to increase capacity for air transport, and encouraging modal shift to rail. When the Labour government eventually also backed the idea a year later, they also had the same reasoning - trying to kill the domestic short-haul flight market. By that time, however, the Tories had somewhat developed their reasoning for it:
The case for high-speed rail is neither that it is visionary nor totemic of a modern transport infrastructure. It is quite simply that it addresses the central challenges of our transport network: congestion, enhanced capacity, economic growth and the environment.
A year after that, at the 2010 General Election, the Labour manifesto said:
Britain needs to invest in modern, high-capacity and lowcarbon transport infrastructure. At the heart of our growth plan is the commitment to a new high-speed rail line, linking North and South. Built in stages, the initial line will link London to Birmingham, Manchester, the East Midlands,
Sheffield and Leeds, and then to the North and Scotland. By running through-trains from day one, cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, Newcastle and Liverpool will also be part of the initial network. Journey times will be slashed – those from the West Midlands to London will be as little as 31 minutes. We will consult fully on legislation to take forward our high-speed rail plans within the next Parliament.

High-speed rail is not just about faster journey times. It will free up capacity on existing intercity rail lines, enabling more rail freight, commuter and local services.
So, yeah, enhancing capacity was absolutely central to the reasoning for HS2 from its very genesis, and was openly discussed as such by many contributors to the debate at a very early stage. Encouraging modal shift from aeroplanes to rail was also a very strong reason.
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:29 pm


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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:07 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:18 pm
However, when the Conservatives backed the idea in 2008, they put the reasoning firmly on the environment - avoiding the need to increase capacity for air transport, and encouraging modal shift to rail. When the Labour government eventually also backed the idea a year later, they also had the same reasoning - trying to kill the domestic short-haul flight market.
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.

With the increase in remote working, regional development and so on I expect the future will involve a lot less commuting, which is going to make it more difficult for HS2 to offset its carbon emissions (which according to the models looks like it'll take somewhere between 100 years and never).

So it's a sensible bit of transport policy but a crap environmental one.

ETA good post btw epd, sorry to just pick out a sentence and run with it ;)
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:25 pm

Only a small % of people can work from home, and they tend to be male professionals (as far as I remember, anyway).

So without wanting to nitpick I'd be fascinated to see the evidence base behind your enthusiastic assertion that commuting is going to be on the decline over the longer term.

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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:28 pm

On banning things to get the "right" outcome: the French ban things a lot, and also have regular riots and extremely militant protests. It's a different culture. Also, strong central government control is not without its own risks. I'm sure there are lots of things our politicians would *like* to ban, but perhaps it's sensible that they currently prefer to try and use market forces to steer things instead.

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Re: HS2

Post by Gfamily » Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:36 pm

Bird on a Fire wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:07 pm
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:18 pm
However, when the Conservatives backed the idea in 2008, they put the reasoning firmly on the environment - avoiding the need to increase capacity for air transport, and encouraging modal shift to rail. When the Labour government eventually also backed the idea a year later, they also had the same reasoning - trying to kill the domestic short-haul flight market.
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.
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Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:41 pm

It's as if European railways were really over-crowded, expensive, inconvenient and unpopular.

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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:41 pm

plodder wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 3:25 pm
Only a small % of people can work from home, and they tend to be male professionals (as far as I remember, anyway).

So without wanting to nitpick I'd be fascinated to see the evidence base behind your enthusiastic assertion that commuting is going to be on the decline over the longer term.
It's certainly what employees would prefer. Some employers are enthusiastically embracing it, others less so. By no means set in stone.

But for example:
According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) Labour Force Survey, mainly working from home was a rising trend before the pandemic, but it amounted to less than 5% of working adults over the age of 16 prior to 2019. Understanding Society reported that in January and February 2020, 11.8% of workers often or always worked at home, and a further 17.7% sometimes worked at home. This implies that more than 70% of the entire UK labour force was commuting most working days prior to the pandemic.

ONS data from its Coronavirus and the social impacts on Great Britain survey indicate that it was common for more than 40% of the population to have worked from home during the pandemic, but Decision Maker Panel data show this varies by industry (Haskel, 2021). Having tasted the benefits of working from home, spending two to three days a week at home is the most common expected working pattern post-Covid-19. In a new UK survey of working adults in the UK, we find that many would prefer a drastic change in the pre-pandemic pattern of five days a week commuting.

Having reduced commuting substantially during lockdowns, working adults in the UK are keen to commute just two to three days a week, and only one in seven expect to return to five days a week commuting. This will contribute a substantial reduction in costs and time travelling to work. Our results show that workers spent on average 29 minutes commuting and spent £5.50 per day on travel and parking costs. Over 60% commuted by private vehicle and 34% by public transport.
https://www.economicsobservatory.com/wh ... ng-to-work
In response to the epidemic and pressure for more remote working, commercial real estate owners and employers have promoted the concept of “hybrid” working.

Business surveys show employers envisaging workers spending 60% of their time in the office, while employee surveys generally show a preference for working in the office 40% or even just 20% of the time.
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-glob ... KKBN29A123
Private car use in the UK could fall by up to 10% in coming years if a long-term shift toward more homeworking takes hold in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the country's National Infrastructure Commission.

Under a 'virtual local reality' scenario, where more workers shift from urban to rural areas due to remote working flexibility, public transport use could also fall by up to 25% and demand for energy, waste and water would slip by a single-digit percentage compared to pre-pandemic levels, the commission said in a report published May 13 into behavior changes and infrastructure after COVID-19.
https://www.spglobal.com/platts/en/mark ... king-study
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Re: HS2

Post by Bird on a Fire » 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
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:18 pm
However, when the Conservatives backed the idea in 2008, they put the reasoning firmly on the environment - avoiding the need to increase capacity for air transport, and encouraging modal shift to rail. When the Labour government eventually also backed the idea a year later, they also had the same reasoning - trying to kill the domestic short-haul flight market.
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.
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Re: HS2

Post by Grumble » 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.
You’ve got no chutzpah, your organisational skills are lacklustre and your timekeeping is abysmal.

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