HS2

Discussions about serious topics, for serious people
User avatar
nekomatic
Dorkwood
Posts: 1390
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:04 pm

Re: HS2

Post by nekomatic » Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:31 pm

plodder wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:23 pm
What's wrong with a garden bridge?
Just as a reminder, what was wrong with the specific garden bridge was that it was going to be a privately owned and privately policed space, partly built and entirely maintained at public expense, in a place that didn’t need another bridge, which destroyed some existing public space and mucked up some views that lots of people rather liked. Bridge-cum-garden in principle though? Knock yourself out.
Move-a… side, and let the mango through… let the mango through

plodder
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2981
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:50 pm

Re: HS2

Post by plodder » Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:33 pm

nekomatic wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:31 pm
plodder wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 1:23 pm
What's wrong with a garden bridge?
Just as a reminder, what was wrong with the specific garden bridge was that it was going to be a privately owned and privately policed space, partly built and entirely maintained at public expense, in a place that didn’t need another bridge, which destroyed some existing public space and mucked up some views that lots of people rather liked. Bridge-cum-garden in principle though? Knock yourself out.
Well, yes. The bastardised version was more about corruption (and, frankly, bean counters moaning about strategic and sustainable funding) than the actual vanity concept that had Joanna Lumley gasping with delight.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3343
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Tue Nov 23, 2021 5:44 pm

IvanV wrote:
Tue Nov 23, 2021 2:18 pm
Network Rail has already identified that at current railway construction delivery costs we cannot afford to keep our existing railway going, as renewal is too expensive. It has a project to reduce signalling renewals to 45% of their current cost, which it believes is the kind of cost necessary for the railway to be sustainable. And that's just the signalling.

So it ought to save a lot of money to have a conventional railway. And basically our railway is stuffed unless we relearn how to do it at a sensible cost.
I'm one of the technical leads for that signalling cost reduction programme, and whilst there is (justifiably) a lot of scepticism about its ability to hit its goals, it's good to see a programme really look in-depth at every cost driver and see what can be done systemically to remove factors that increase cost. A lot of it is in conjunction with EULYNX, which is a pan-European project to set standards around signalling systems and how they interface. The EU is a massive player here, mainly because it has the clout to try to force suppliers to work to standards and avoid supplier lock-in, which can be a big part of the cost.

Thing is, other asset disciplines (track, electrification, etc) also need to get a grip of their own costs, and there isn't anything like the same focus that signalling has got going. The exec just aren't bothered about the unit costs of renewals - the cost of staffing, yep. But not renewals.
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

User avatar
Grumble
Light of Blast
Posts: 4823
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:03 pm

Re: HS2

Post by Grumble » Wed Jun 08, 2022 5:54 am

While we were looking at the Tory party tearing itself apart, the government announced the removal of the West Coast mainline link to HS2.
https://www.theconstructionindex.co.uk/ ... link-sinks
where once I used to scintillate
now I sin till ten past three

User avatar
JQH
After Pie
Posts: 2151
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:30 pm
Location: Sar Flandan

Re: HS2

Post by JQH » Wed Jun 08, 2022 9:31 am

So the North loses out yet again.
And remember that if you botch the exit, the carnival of reaction may be coming to a town near you.

Fintan O'Toole

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3343
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Wed Jun 08, 2022 9:36 am

Yup. The strategic outline business case for it is due out from DfT next month, and it contains work on the impact of removing it. Suffice it to say, it doesn't help.

The official thinking here is that they don't want to worsen the capacity issues through Wigan up to Preston, and also that better times to Scotland could be achieved by having more HS2 line joining the WCML further north. But the alternatives will involve spending more money on more infrastructure, and having more discussion in Parliament which will take longer. Many people here will, in all honesty, be dead by the time Phase 2b Western leg connects to the WCML in the north west. I'll be nearing retirement (I'm 38).

It's a bad decision, in my mind. The entire Integrated Rail Plan is a bad decision, mind, but even this wasn't considered in that atrocious document.
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3343
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Sep 15, 2023 8:35 am

For f.cks sake
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

IvanV
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2780
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Re: HS2

Post by IvanV » Fri Sep 15, 2023 9:28 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2023 8:35 am
For f.cks sake
I could never understand that a conservative government, of all governments, would decide to pour so much money into such a deep money hole. They that refused to build the much more valuable and cheaper Crossrail, though at least they allowed that to finish, and it is a project that serves its original and high value purpose, unlike the ever-changing purpose of HS2.

They are slowly waking up to the idea that they don't like so much money going down the HS2 money hole, when there is so much pressure on public money. But we are increasingly creeping towards the outcome that no one ever thought would be a sensible, a high speed line only from London to Birmingham, which is likely to be a white elephant. The Dutch high speed HSL-Zuid line is now widely considered a white elephant in the Netherlands, in part because the Belgians ultimately only upgraded 36km of the track to high speed from the border to Brussels. But at least it only cost €8bn for its 125km, even though at the time that seemed expensive for a high speed line. The British would be delighted to be able to build at that unit cost.

Let us not forget that in 1974 it was a incoming Labour government that decided that the shortage of money was such that they would abandon the channel rail tunnel under construction at that time, even at the cost of compensating the French for what they had done on their side.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3343
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Fri Sep 15, 2023 10:01 am

For the last time, the purpose of HS2 has remained the same since 2010. And much of the reason for the expense is the fact that the government, who have got incredible amounts of interference into what HS2, keep dicking around with what they want.

Even just the uncertainty right now will make things more expensive - suppliers will make layoffs or refuse to gear up until things are certain, and thus things will take longer.
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

IvanV
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2780
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Re: HS2

Post by IvanV » Fri Sep 15, 2023 12:23 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2023 10:01 am
For the last time, the purpose of HS2 has remained the same since 2010. And much of the reason for the expense is the fact that the government, who have got incredible amounts of interference into what HS2, keep dicking around with what they want.
If you have a sufficiently clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, and how the project, just this project, delivers it, then it ought to be pretty resistant to being endlessly buggered about with. See for example, Crossrail, which for all its problems in the end had a scope that made sense for a clear and specific objective. And for all the pain of the eventual cost and time overruns, which seemed horrible at the time but in hindsight were pretty modest for such a megaproject, the scope or something very close to it stood up to scrutiny and was delivered.

A senior HS2 person reminds us what HS2 is for, writing in 2018. The main benefits are journey time, capacity, and levelling up. Though the £92 billion of benefits is looking very sick by now, and suggestive of a BCR that has now fallen well below 1.

This 2019 House of Commons Committee report, see especially Ch 5, seems to take the same view that I suggested this list of benefits was not stable from the start, but added to as time went along. A commentator there calls it "benefit hunting". It didn't help public confidence in the benefit case that we had a KPMG business case claiming agglomeration benefits between Birmingham and London, that didn't pass the laugh test, and a PWC report revealing problems with the cost and benefit realisation, that was sat on for 2 years.

But the ultimate problem, as I would see it, is that the objectives the first author sets out are a bit too generic to define the precise scope of HS2. I know you have pointed to reports in the past which claim that the HS2 scope is optimised. But that is within quite a narrow context. Greater problems of poor capacity, slow journeys and poor connectivity in our rail system are evident on quite different route axes, especially between northern and midland cities, where rail has a poor market share of journeys on those axes. It was always controversial whether HS2 would help levelling up, as evidence appeared to show such railways avoid the need for, rather than facilitate, development in outlying regions. I'm aware that the management of Manchester etc is much in favour of it. And no one really believes conservatives talking about levelling up. So it has never been quite clear that just this scope is the best way to spend money to gain just these benefits.

Ultimately, precisely what HS2 is for and how it delivers it were never pinned down to the precision of the Crossrail case, and the cost estimates were also less well pinned down. And if they had been, it would have been much more resistant to the damaging buggering about it suffered as realities emerged.

User avatar
Trinucleus
Dorkwood
Posts: 1000
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 6:45 pm

Re: HS2

Post by Trinucleus » Fri Sep 15, 2023 1:49 pm

IvanV wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2023 12:23 pm
El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Fri Sep 15, 2023 10:01 am
For the last time, the purpose of HS2 has remained the same since 2010. And much of the reason for the expense is the fact that the government, who have got incredible amounts of interference into what HS2, keep dicking around with what they want.
If you have a sufficiently clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, and how the project, just this project, delivers it, then it ought to be pretty resistant to being endlessly buggered about with. See for example, Crossrail, which for all its problems in the end had a scope that made sense for a clear and specific objective. And for all the pain of the eventual cost and time overruns, which seemed horrible at the time but in hindsight were pretty modest for such a megaproject, the scope or something very close to it stood up to scrutiny and was delivered.

A senior HS2 person reminds us what HS2 is for, writing in 2018. The main benefits are journey time, capacity, and levelling up. Though the £92 billion of benefits is looking very sick by now, and suggestive of a BCR that has now fallen well below 1.

This 2019 House of Commons Committee report, see especially Ch 5, seems to take the same view that I suggested this list of benefits was not stable from the start, but added to as time went along. A commentator there calls it "benefit hunting". It didn't help public confidence in the benefit case that we had a KPMG business case claiming agglomeration benefits between Birmingham and London, that didn't pass the laugh test, and a PWC report revealing problems with the cost and benefit realisation, that was sat on for 2 years.

But the ultimate problem, as I would see it, is that the objectives the first author sets out are a bit too generic to define the precise scope of HS2. I know you have pointed to reports in the past which claim that the HS2 scope is optimised. But that is within quite a narrow context. Greater problems of poor capacity, slow journeys and poor connectivity in our rail system are evident on quite different route axes, especially between northern and midland cities, where rail has a poor market share of journeys on those axes. It was always controversial whether HS2 would help levelling up, as evidence appeared to show such railways avoid the need for, rather than facilitate, development in outlying regions. I'm aware that the management of Manchester etc is much in favour of it. And no one really believes conservatives talking about levelling up. So it has never been quite clear that just this scope is the best way to spend money to gain just these benefits.

Ultimately, precisely what HS2 is for and how it delivers it were never pinned down to the precision of the Crossrail case, and the cost estimates were also less well pinned down. And if they had been, it would have been much more resistant to the damaging buggering about it suffered as realities emerged.
Up here in Yorkshire, we're interested to see how spending oodles of cash on a London to Birmingham line will help levelling up, especially after Crossrail has been built with some Government support. To be fair they did at least promise to electrify our line to London. It never happened of course, but I'm sure they'll promise it again before the election
I'm peeved because the original HS2 plan would have put London an hour travel time away from our house

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3343
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Sep 25, 2023 10:46 am

Legislatively, cancelling Phase 2 is going to be difficult.

Phase 2a from Birmingham to Crewe is law. It received Royal Assent back in February 2021, and although no government is mandated to proceed with it, actively cancelling it requires a new act of parliament to repeal the Phase 2a act. There is zero chance of that happening - there isn't time, there isn't the support in either the commons or the lords, and the lords could easily kill it because it isn't a manifesto commitment to cancel Phase 2a (the opposite is true). Sunak can refuse to proceed with it for now, but Labour can then easily pick it back up and crack on straight away.

The Phase 2b Western Leg Hybrid Bill is in Parliament at the moment, having been deposited in January last year. It is in the committee stage, and is still hearing petitions. That process isn't going to complete any time soon, and the point at which the committee has finished responding and sends the bill back to the commons is at least a year away. Thence, it's the third reading, then over to the Lords for the same process to happen all over again. Royal Assent probably won't happen until 2025/26.

Most of the time, Governments can decide to drop bills by failing to support them and find time for debate in the timetable, then they die automatically at the end of a parliamentary session. Hybrid bills don't - they're designed to continue on into the next session. To cancel it, the Commons would need to vote to stop the bill committee hearing petitions and cancel the remaining process. To do that, there needs to be time to do so, support for it and probably a line in the King's Speech. There probably isn't the support for that, and possibly not even the time. Sunak would massively divide his party and create a huge backlash. He may even fail to win the vote if it does come to that.

The probable outcome is delay - more delay - though at this stage it's difficult to know what "delay" means when it's already pushed back to 2038 and requires very little money until a few years' time. And Labour can easily bring those dates forward again if they choose to.
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

IvanV
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2780
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Re: HS2

Post by IvanV » Mon Sep 25, 2023 11:38 am

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2023 10:46 am
Legislatively, cancelling Phase 2 is going to be difficult.

Phase 2a from Birmingham to Crewe is law. It received Royal Assent back in February 2021, and although no government is mandated to proceed with it, actively cancelling it requires a new act of parliament to repeal the Phase 2a act. There is zero chance of that happening - there isn't time, there isn't the support in either the commons or the lords, and the lords could easily kill it because it isn't a manifesto commitment to cancel Phase 2a (the opposite is true). Sunak can refuse to proceed with it for now, but Labour can then easily pick it back up and crack on straight away.
I'd be pretty sure cutting off the funding is all they mean. As you say, Labour can pick it back up, but maybe you are assuming too much in thinking they'd want to. I assumed too much 26 years ago in thinking Labour would have a more humane home secretary than Michael Howard...

Labour policies on HS2 are unclear (Evening Standard). On the one hand, they are saying that they are not guilty of "rail betrayal", as some Labour people have been describing the HS2 scope reductions. But if you would never have built it in the first place - which was Labour policy at the time, saying that they had other spending priorities - then perhaps you can claim that you aren't guilty of that. Recently they said no final decision on HS2 until they see the costs. They are clearly trying to keep their options open, as with, er, everything.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3343
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Sep 25, 2023 12:53 pm

But if you would never have built it in the first place - which was Labour policy at the time, saying that they had other spending priorities - then perhaps you can claim that you aren't guilty of that.
? Labour created HS2 Ltd in 2009 with a view to creating HS2, put creating HS2 in their 2010 manifesto, 2015 manifesto, 2017 manifesto and 2019 manifesto, supported the passage of HS2 Phases 1, 2a and 2b through parliament and have a current policy to build HS2 "in full".

Labour will have noted the massive outcry in recent days and are making lots of noise still about wanting to build it in full, even if they are also being cautious about costs (which is what you'd expect).
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

IvanV
Stummy Beige
Posts: 2780
Joined: Mon May 17, 2021 11:12 am

Re: HS2

Post by IvanV » Mon Sep 25, 2023 4:00 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Mon Sep 25, 2023 12:53 pm
But if you would never have built it in the first place - which was Labour policy at the time, saying that they had other spending priorities - then perhaps you can claim that you aren't guilty of that.
? Labour created HS2 Ltd in 2009 with a view to creating HS2, put creating HS2 in their 2010 manifesto, 2015 manifesto, 2017 manifesto and 2019 manifesto, supported the passage of HS2 Phases 1, 2a and 2b through parliament and have a current policy to build HS2 "in full".
Thanks for the correction. I must have given undue prominence to something someone once said that never became policy.

User avatar
Brightonian
Dorkwood
Posts: 1449
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:16 pm
Location: Usually UK, often France and Ireland

Re: HS2

Post by Brightonian » Mon Oct 02, 2023 1:18 pm

Now looking certain that the Manchester leg's been cancelled: https://www.itv.com/news/2023-10-02/hs2 ... nderstands

User avatar
gosling
Stargoon
Posts: 128
Joined: Wed Nov 13, 2019 9:12 am

Re: HS2

Post by gosling » Mon Oct 02, 2023 1:56 pm

Brightonian wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2023 1:18 pm
Now looking certain that the Manchester leg's been cancelled: https://www.itv.com/news/2023-10-02/hs2 ... nderstands
From that article
Fending off criticism over terminating the line six miles to the west of central London, instead of at Euston, Mr Sunak said Old Oak Common is a “world-class station” with “fantastic” connections to most London destinations.
Last time I went past it, OOC was a building site. With a 10 minute walk uphill to Willesden Junction (Bakerloo line and Overground), and a 10 minute walk downhill to East Acton (Central line) with a tiny gateline which can barely cope with rush hour let alone the number of people who'd be coming off an intercity train. Oh, and one bus goes past - the 228, every 20 minutes, single decker only because it has to pass under a low bridge.

The plans currently include platforms for an Elizabeth line station but who knows (EPD??) if they'll also be scrapped at some point.

User avatar
Martin Y
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3097
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:08 pm

Re: HS2

Post by Martin Y » Mon Oct 02, 2023 2:25 pm

Maybe the "fantastic" connections just means they're a fantasy.

User avatar
TimW
Catbabel
Posts: 804
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 4:27 pm

Re: HS2

Post by TimW » Mon Oct 02, 2023 2:30 pm

And meanwhile it says that Sunak thinks it's important to maintain the potholes.

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3343
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Oct 02, 2023 3:01 pm

gosling wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2023 1:56 pm
Brightonian wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2023 1:18 pm
Now looking certain that the Manchester leg's been cancelled: https://www.itv.com/news/2023-10-02/hs2 ... nderstands
From that article
Fending off criticism over terminating the line six miles to the west of central London, instead of at Euston, Mr Sunak said Old Oak Common is a “world-class station” with “fantastic” connections to most London destinations.
Last time I went past it, OOC was a building site. With a 10 minute walk uphill to Willesden Junction (Bakerloo line and Overground), and a 10 minute walk downhill to East Acton (Central line) with a tiny gateline which can barely cope with rush hour let alone the number of people who'd be coming off an intercity train. Oh, and one bus goes past - the 228, every 20 minutes, single decker only because it has to pass under a low bridge.

The plans currently include platforms for an Elizabeth line station but who knows (EPD??) if they'll also be scrapped at some point.
Well they can't be scrapped because that would f.ck up the government's other scrappage plans. There'll be an interchange station at OOC, it just hasn't been built yet. Obviously, OOC isn't designed to be a terminus station either, so big gallic shrug what the f.ck they're playing at.

No 10 are currently briefing DfT and HS2 Ltd that no decision has been made. My hunch is that that isn't a complete denial of the reports, they just want to control the message and the timing. Apparently there'll be a cabinet meeting tomorrow in Manchester to cancel the line to Manchester. Presumably they'd like to avoid a lynching. I'd like Sunak to be mauled to death by a unicorn.
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3343
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Oct 02, 2023 3:07 pm

Or stabbed in the face with a fork. I mean, anything really.
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

User avatar
lpm
Junior Mod
Posts: 5978
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:05 pm

Re: HS2

Post by lpm » Mon Oct 02, 2023 3:14 pm

El Pollo Diablo wrote:
Mon Oct 02, 2023 3:07 pm
Or stabbed in the face with a fork. I mean, anything really.
Brain scooped out with a rusty spoon.

Oh wait, we did that years ago.
⭐ Awarded gold star 4 November 2021

User avatar
El Pollo Diablo
Stummy Beige
Posts: 3343
Joined: Wed Sep 25, 2019 4:41 pm
Location: FBPE

Re: HS2

Post by El Pollo Diablo » Mon Oct 02, 2023 3:18 pm

Has there ever been a time when the Tories were this insane? What was it like in 1996? I was 12 and wasn't paying attention.
If truth is many-sided, mendacity is many-tongued

User avatar
lpm
Junior Mod
Posts: 5978
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:05 pm

Re: HS2

Post by lpm » Mon Oct 02, 2023 3:24 pm

There was the cones hotline at the end of Major's time. Though that was silly rather than silly and destructive.
⭐ Awarded gold star 4 November 2021

User avatar
JQH
After Pie
Posts: 2151
Joined: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:30 pm
Location: Sar Flandan

Re: HS2

Post by JQH » Mon Oct 02, 2023 3:26 pm

They were pretty bad - though the corruption was at the brown envelopes stuffed with cash level rather than £37billion contracts for your mates. A lot of arguing about Europe too.
And remember that if you botch the exit, the carnival of reaction may be coming to a town near you.

Fintan O'Toole

Post Reply