Joking aside, if Britain is every to grow beyond being quite so London-centric, we do really have to focus on the belt from Manchester to Hull more, North East too.
HS2 is probably going to be £300+ for a peak return from London to Leeds - yes, I pulled that from my backside, but given when it’s due to launch and the ever-ratcheting fares, I think it’s perfectly realistic.
As to supply and demand influencing pricing - yes and no. While there will be more capacity, existing operators and franchises may or may not take advantage of it, and even if they do, what possible motivation would they have for reducing their prices? They won’t be competing with HS2 on price - if anything, the inevitability high fares for HS2 will provide an anchor for a price increase on the old mainline. The only others trains running on the same route will be theirs, as that’s how the rail franchise system works, so their only competition will be themselves - i.e. none.
The problem at the moment in off-peak times is that they dare not reduce the price because there are trains that run during the day which fill up, and there's no good way of differentiating fares between the ones which do and the ones which don't.
Isn't there? Travelling from Leeds to London at 7-9am Monday costs several times as much as at 2pm Sunday, and I assume that's because the operators can differentiate which journeys are popular (and furthermore which ones carry large numbers of business people who can afford/expense higher fares).
imho, to prepare for the long-term we should be building infrastructure on the ground to reduce short haul flights.
If they were proposing express trains that would really gain the benefit of the line I could see the justification, but they're not are they?
Good one. I can hop on a plane from London to Edinburgh tomorrow for £35 and be there in an hour and a half, call it 3 hours all in. By comparison I can hop on a train and it'll cost me £146 and take about 5 hours.
Hell, just last week I hopped on a ferry to France and back on a whim for less than it would have cost to go 20 miles by train.
Unless you live airside at Heathrow and your destination is the Edinburgh duty free shop, I sincerely doubt your journey will take 1.5 hours total. More realistic timings allowing for 30mins travel either end and arriving an hour early for your flight bring it up to 3.5h - the fastest current London-Edinburgh expresses are just over 4 hours.
At those timings, high speed rail starts to look quite attractive, considering it's much easier to work and relax on a train and you don't have to waste time shuffling through the airport and waiting in queues.
t+0 leave office
t+45 arrive Heathrow
t+90 wheels up
t+145 wheels down
t+150 in taxi
t+0 leave office
t+45 arrive Euston
t+60 train departs
t+170 arrive Wilmslow
t+175 in taxi
t+0 leave home
t+7 arrive manchester
t+10 arrive gate
t+25 wheels up
t+85 wheels down
t+145 arrive office
That's either a slight exaggeration or an impressive feat
Having ordered Uber during the taxi, it was already waiting for me, so in within 2 minutes of getting off the gate. 5-7 minute drive to home in Hale Barns.
Best I did was 93 seconds from leaving taxi to gate 141, rare to take longer then 5 minutes. Once the taxi didn't arrive and I had to hail one, got in 10 minutes before scheduled departure time and was sat on the plane (in 1C) before scheduled departure time.
BA have changed since then (there's now a business class section so you don't get to choose 1C), and Manchester Airport is very hostile to people arriving/departing via taxi so I suspect it would take 5 minutes longer now.
At most major airports it takes 5-10 minutes just to get out of the duty free shop after security! Even in priority lanes I've never got through security at a big airport quicker than 5 minutes - there is always a line of people ahead.
I know some people who have the "special" invite-only etc airline status where someone physically whizzes you through everything in a few minutes and out into a waiting car to take you directly to the gate etc, but that is hardly representative of the sort of person who might benefit from taking HS2
1tph First Stop Warrington (2h20)
1tph First Stop Crewe (1h40)
1tph First Stop Stafford (1h20)
1tph First Stop Stoke (1h30)
2tph First Stop Rugby (1h)
1tph First stop Coventry (1h10)
Some make additional stops in the peak, but that won't happen with HS
Typical HS2 service will be
Euston (for Crossrail2/Northern Line)
OOC (for Crossrail/GWR/Heathrow) -- 5 miles
Birmingham Interchange -- 100 miles
Crewe -- 160 miles
Euston (for Crossrail2/Northern Line)
OOC (for Crossrail/GWR/Heathrow) -- 5 miles
Birmingham Interchange -- 100 miles
Birmingham Central -- 150 miles
I suspect Curzon Street to Interchange will be relatively slow (7 minutes for 10 miles), like OOC to Euston
Most of the claims in this piece are simply nonsense. The Euston to Crewe train that's mentioned doesn't go anywhere near Birmingham, so it's not obvious that HS2 would make much of a difference to traffic on it.
And even if it did, it's merely one of a large number of routes heading out of London in all directions that are ridiculously overcrowded. At best, HS2 might reduce a small proportion of that overcrowding, but it's certainly not going to eliminate it.
The idea that HS2 can make Birmingham airport competitive with Heathrow for Londoners is clearly wrong. Birmingham doesn't have the flights, the destinations, or the capacity. London also has Heathrow Express for quick train journeys from Paddington to Heathrow - concourse to concourse. Even with a shorter journey time, HS2 can't match that.
And HS2 doesn't start to make sense until Phase 2 is built, linking Sheffield, Manchester and Leeds. You might see some benefits then - but the realistic total cost is likely to be the far side of £100bn. Which is madness.
It's actually five years of the total NASA budget, which is supposed to pay for development of the next Lunar program, as well as everything else NASA does.
It would be much better to spend a much smaller sum making the UK's broadband the best in Europe, set up a world-leading incubator fund for digital startups outside of London, with next-generation training and education, and try to persuade existing corporates to consider home working options. The return on that would be huge.
This is just a giant train set for rail nostalgists.
The UK has a weird chicken and egg thing going on. Everything is in London because everything is in London. HS2 is an attempt to break out of that. By developing better rail links across England we allow companies to start moving out of London.
> The idea that HS2 can make Birmingham airport competitive with Heathrow for Londoners is clearly wrong.
But that's not the aim. The aim is that we shouldn't have everyone in the country using Heathrow for all journeys. Currently we have about 80 million people going through Heathrow which is stupid if a chunk of them are only using it to get into the UK.
London doesn't just have Heathrow and Gatwick. London has six international airports.
Heathrow alone at 80m people currently carries the equivalent of Manchester, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Glasgow, and Bristol combined. We urgently need to fix this.
Despite the topic being divisive, this is an ill-informed comment and does not relect the real purpose of HS2 ─ which is to increase capacity and improve links in the North of England to stimulate local economy and reduce the burden on over crowded services.
I will leave you with a couple of articles, which do a good job at explaining some of the reasons behind the HS2 project; which also serves as a springboard for the Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR).
One of the criticisms of HS2 is that it will just facilitate centralisation in London, by helping people get there more quickly!
It will just drag even more resources to london
If you let that be a guide then you wouldn't invest in anything outside of London.
H2 increases capacity for commuter lines out of London, and one of the reasons it's so f'ing expensive is people in Tory Shires demanding the line is placed in a tunnel
It's halving the time from Crewe to London from 100m to 50m, so that's a big plus. Every train going to Manchester, Liverpool, North Wales, North West England and Scotland will be an hour quicker - that's a 2 hour saving on a day trip.
> And would the project be cheaper if it didn't need to be so super-straight in order to be able to achieve the high speeds
No, the extra cost for high speed is negligable in the open country. If it's not straight it's using more land.
Seems to me that could increase the housing supply and offset the costs of HS2 at the same time - and most governments have had plans for new towns, new garden cities and suchlike.
House prices near crossrail have risen an extra £133k each (above similar houses in similar places that don't get crossrail).
That's somewhere in the region of £100b.
Crossrail is a massive transfer of wealth from working people to wealthy land owners. It should have been funded entirely by a windfall levy on the increase land value near the stations.
A significant portion (over 30% of the original £17.8b budget) of Crossrail's funding has actually come from land owners and businesses, in the form of:
- Business rate supplements
- Property developer contributions
- Community infrastructure levy
- Sale of surplus property along the route
- Contributions from other non-taxpayer funded entities like Heathrow and the City of London corporation
Much of the rest of the funding is from TfL and loans backed by the DfT, which should eventually be payed back from ticket revenue.
Not that I particularly disagree with you, but I have two friends I'd consider 'working people' rather than 'land owners' who potentially benefit from increases in the value of their homes nearby the Crossrail improvements.
I don't think any such land ('cheap', 'middle of nowhere', '20 mins from central London') exists in the UK.
Or if Quainton is too expensive/green-belt-y, do the same at Wormleighton or Newton Purnell or somewhere else along the line.
That’s like... Croydon distance from London Bridge?
HS2 is designed to run a little faster and if you nixed the stop I think 30-35 miles could realistically be 20 minutes out of London on HS2. That sticks you right in the middle of the Chilterns if you follow HS2's rough direction.. probably not ideal for a town.
Add another 5 minutes, though, and there's a lot of open land just south-east of Oxford and just off of the M40 too..
The open land near Oxford will be open because it's a swamp. If you could build on it cheaply somebody would.
Once close to a HS2 station yes it would be £5m a hectare
Nice to know we explicitly provide for land owners to extract rent even when they don't own the land any more.
And the day after this article was written the UK government announces a review of HS2 - probably for rather short term political reasons:
Tories whine about Brussels forcing all of this stuff onto the UK, they'll gleefully strip it away at the first opportunity. It might turn out to be good for business after all, but in the same way the Iraq war was.
While it's true that the Tory party of old (charitably until ~2015) may have cared about competitiveness for business, that party is now dead - overtaken by the extreme right. The only thing that matters to them at this stage is power, and personal enrichment, and they have become masters of disinformation and confusion to ensure it -- a job made much easier by the generally awful state of the press in the UK. It's a shame that the opposition are, as you say, no better.
Not friendly for manufacturing (relying on JIT inventory management across borders and regulatory alignment for exports).
Not friendly for scientific spin-off/catapult startups, which rely on the the universities attracting researchers and research grants.
Not friendly for anything relying on a large number of domestic customers with disposable income (e.g. retail), because everyone will have to save up against the fear of sudden unemployment or US-style healthcare bills.
Basically, most things that are not good for the general public are also not good for most business, because in the end, businesses rely on customers buying their product (or in a B2B scenario, their clients' products and so on).
Two stopping trains per hour between local stations is not enough and if any were cancelled or delayed it created hell.
I left partly because the commute to work sometimes took 2.5 hours each way and was ultimately draining. And that was living on the outskirts.
Well of course there is. There's currently 10 trains an hour in each direction that run non-stop through Milton Keynes.
There could easily be an initial service along the lines of
6tph London-Harrow-Watford-Stations to MKC
It’s a high speed intercity line that only has a few stops (compared to a local or commuter service). It can’t provide local services, it doesn’t have the stations or the track to do so. It also won’t be high speed of it stopped every 10miles.
It's less about moving local traffic off current lines, and more about freeing them up to provide local services. You could potentially see something like Bawtry station, which is between the two, brought back into service if there is demand, whereas it might not currently make sense to do so as the line's primary purpose is intercity travel.
 Not necessarily something that might be affected by HS2 - just a set of stations I know as an example.
 Closed in 1959, but Wikipedia notes: "land near the station has been protected should the site be required as a new station, with car parking facilities, in the future as the town grows". The line initially went Doncaster-Rossington-Bawtry-Scrooby-Ranskill-Barnby-Retford, but now only Doncaster and Retford remain.
Some commentators in this post have questioned why the article is called what it is when it is just about HS2. For me I think that the title is apt and I now have so much more clarified. This is a really good article and I finally understand and like the project. Before I didn't give a damn about it.
As for not planning another exit route out of Euston, I'd imagine that there's a significant planning headache in routing new tunnels around the existing infrastructure in and around Euston, and that having the line shadow the existing WCML is much less painful to both plan and develop.
Paddington has had a significant amount of work done to it recently with the Crossrail work going into it. Though it doesn't appear to suffer the access issues that Euston has it may prove to be a headache if HS2 traffic was supposed to arrive alongside GWML traffic.
This article, which is unfortunately now paywalled, covers a lot of the same ground: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hs2-logistic...
HS2 is one of those projects that's unpopular across the political spectrum and unfortunately seems like it's under threat, but the arguments in this post make a lot of sense and they're just not being made more broadly.
This map shows where capacity will be unlocked: https://twitter.com/HS2ltd/status/1158403767756316672
And this comprehensively explains why more capacity is needed and a new high speed railway is the solution: https://medium.com/@garethdennis/high-speed-two-and-the-need...
From your article "Yet the story doesn’t seem to be getting through. As engineers, it is not just our duty to create new infrastructure, it is also our duty to communicate its purpose. Helping the British public to get behind High Speed 2 must be a priority for our industry if we are to truly make this megaproject a success."
Translation: shut up and swallow, plebs.
I'd like to know what incremental cost there is for an increment of higher speed - I bet I know the shape of that graph. If you want higher capacity, let me know why longer trains don't work.
New line yes, gouging expense for national vanity, no.
You could go for Ballast rather than Slab, which means lower install costs and slower trains, but also means higher maintenence costs, but the headline price will be lower, even though the TCO will be higher and the service will be worse.
Longer trains don't work because you'd have to demolish the towns that the stations are currently in -- extending 200m north/south at every station between Euston and Rugby is not cheap and will piss off a lot more people than building a quiet railway through an empty area, not to mention all the signal problems and points fouling, and what will you do at Euston?
> I'd like to know what incremental cost there is for an increment of higher speed
The big costs are land acquisition and earthworks, which won't change at all regardless of the speed. Euston is another cost, but you'd have to completely rebuild the station, including putting all the platforms underground, for your longer train plan - and Underground space in London isn't that easy.
So you are arguing against it when you don't know the cost?
However to be sure I'm not being unreasonabe I want to know what that curve is - am I being unreasonable to ask for information given that I'm going to be paying for HS2?
If you take a look at the construction costs, of the $6.6Bn only £665 are going towards the rail and control systems. With all other items being largely the same regardless of rail speed, I have a feeling (though I could be quite wrong), that the cost difference between low and high speed is marginal.
We need some solid stats by an independent party which is why I'm happy one is going to be looking into it.
FYI from that document, let me quote cos it's interesting: cost estimates in march 2012:
2.9 Route package cost summaries
2.9.1 The phase one total cost estimate is £16.3 billion within a cost range of £15.4 billion to £17.3 billion. [...]
2.9.2 The phase two total cost estimate is £17.1 billion within a cost range of £15.7 billion to £18.7 billion. [...]
2.9.3 The full Y network cost estimate is £33.4 billion within a cost range of £30.9 billion to £36.0 billion. [...]
That has to happen whether the trains run at 180mph or 80mph.
I suspect the numbers are more like
60mph railway: £40b
140mph railway: £50b
180mph railway: £60b
Theres also the fact that this route will have competition, against aircraft and cars, ideally it needs to be quicker than its alternatives in order to succeed.
Longer trains probably will increase capacity, but mailing around TB hard drives probably has higher bandwidth than the average internet connection. Good luck selling individuals on that 'upgrade' though.
which part of "I'll happily accept that new tracks need to be built" was unclear?
> designing it to be 250mph capable seems sensible
I understand it's not going to be run at that speed for much of its length, so what's the cost benefit?
> Theres also the fact that this route will have competition, against aircraft and cars, ideally it needs to be quicker than its alternatives in order to succeed
Interesting question whether we will have fossil-fuel powered aircraft for many decades, and as for cars it's a matter of cost. Trains are expensive now - that's where it will compete with cars; they often are already faster than cars for long distances.
> Longer trains probably will increase capacity
> but mailing around TB hard drives probably has higher bandwidth than the average internet connection
false equivalence. Trains can already be faster than cars.
Will HS2 be the world’s fastest bullet train?
[...] But HS2 told FactCheck that there are actually no plans to operate at this speed. What’s more, they say this was never the plan. Indeed, the track, control systems and trains being purchased are not physically capable of it.
The confusion has arisen because HS2 says it has allowed enough flexibility to potentially do a major upgrade of the line at some point in the distant future, should the government want to. The curves in the route could theoretically see speeds of up to 400km per hour.
So my claim taken from wiki is not incorrect but not relevant yet.
Back to your point "I don't think it's beyond the wits of engineers to work out which parts of the track need to be 250mph capable given the acceleration profile of the trains that are likely to use it"
Good point! However while the engineering of the tracks can vary the trains have to be made to run at that spec speed even if it was for 1 yard. On t'other hand, judging by the jaw-dropping price of the tracks (£104.8m per kilometre, source is same as above) perhaps the trains are the cheap bit.
OK, you are right.
That wasn't the point I was trying to make, in the quoted paragraph
Passengers may value the speed more than the capacity. If you quadrupled capacity, but halved speed would that be better or worse for the railway, or the internet?
Door to door train v car journey is more marginal that what you suggest. I would have to spend 2 hours to get to the east cost mainline. In a car I could be over halfway to London by then. And i could have the same problem at the other end. In the same way you'll never be as fast as a plane, but you don't have to turn up 2 hours early for a train.
Bandwidth is speed in most cases for the internet, lag intolerant games being an exception. Also my 10Mbit link is good enough for me despite having 100Mbit available. So the question is about comparing things which are not really comparable. Well, TBF, I can't.
> Passengers may value the speed more than the capacity
well they might, and they might want the carriages painted polkadot with hot podium dancers at each end, so how about arguing from a basis of fact instead?
from https://press.which.co.uk/whichpressreleases/rail-companies-... and with a table at the bottom. Speed is not mentioned in the report. Clearly other things really are hurting them.
As to speed vs capacity, look in the chart at 'standing room' and 'availability of seats'. That's about capacity.
> Door to door train v car journey is more marginal that what you suggest
For you I wouldn't doubt, but there's a lot of others who may feel different. Pace but arguing from 1 data point is not rigorous. I've heard of people spending £5,000 a year for their work commute (that may be reporting bias but it's another data point).
If you can't make a case then it's time to start up the PR bullshit, which uses nice words and breathless aspirations. It tends to sound like this: "Yet the story doesn’t seem to be getting through. As engineers, it is not just our duty to create new infrastructure, it is also our duty to communicate its purpose. Helping the British public to get behind High Speed 2 must be a priority for our industry if we are to truly make this megaproject a success"
Let's go through that:
"Yet the story doesn’t seem to be getting through"
"it is not just our duty to create new infrastructure, it is also our duty to communicate its purpose"
It's purpose is clear. It's a railway. So something else is going wrong with your story that you don't want to talk about.
The last sentence is content free. It says zilch.
As a taxpayer, I would much rather the work was contracted out to the Japanese that built the Shinkansen services. But for some strange reason that seems politically unpopular.
Like with Hinckley and various other grand projects I'd rather we taught ourselves how to do it. Only HS2a has passed into law, b&c, HS3 and Crossrail2 are still to come.
The cost of the train can be amazing. I'd like to know what train users will say if offered the choice between 'decent seats' and a decent price.
High costs on the WCML for flexible peak fares are becase
1) The costs subsidise rail elsewhere, like regional networks in the North and Welsh Valleys
2) The price encourages people to take less busier trains
(2) falls down a bit with the hard cutoff, because there's no "shoulder peak" at Euston, meaning that 1840 is empty but the 1900 is really full, but the principle remains.
Bank holidays are always very busy, you'd think that if prices were really so high people wouldn't travel. The extra 10,000 seats an hour that HS2 provides will certainly help though.
An relative bargain compared to London-Leeds costing £113.50
No break of journey on the outbound but allowed on return.
2. The Caledonian Express also has high ticket prices, yet the service is completely shambolic.
Yes. This is also why the Tube and the NYC metro have such big problems compared to more recently built systems.
A piece of route might have been designed in the 1800s, possibly to a speed limit of 20 or 30mph, then been rationalised and 'upgraded' over the years to a higher speed, but that section of track will still carry limitations that are implied by the way it was initially designed to be, signalling may be too close together, or too far apart, junctions that are rarely used but remain for whatever reason add complexity and potential failure sites, tracks.
There are of course some physical aspects of physically old track - shorter (~100m) sections of rail joined together have a higher risk of failure than the newer techniques of long (0.5km to 1km or more) single track pieces welded together, old wooden sleepers allow track movement that can result in delays and maintenance issues, whereas relative-new concrete sleepers, and really-new split-concrete sleepers are more reliable and permit faster and more reliable train operation.
Tearing routes apart and redesigning the sections from scratch is difficult politically, so the UK's railway network tends to suffer from the fact that 99% of it was designed and built before 1880.
The other dirty not-quite-secret about HS2 is that it's not mainly about high speed. The WCML is full to bursting in some sections, and putting freight, long distance passenger, and stopping trains on the same tracks reduces capacity further. So it's mostly about building a new line. And once you're doing that, it makes sense to make it high speed and passenger only.
What effect a detour via Birmingham on HS2 has on times to/from Scotland is another question!
"Let's go to Birmingham".
Potentially far cheaper to build and maintain, modern, environmentally better and quicker amongst a host of other benefits and would help make Britain a global leader in transportation.
The Danny in the Valley podcast episode with Dirk Ahlborn was eye opening on the potential benefits and briefly mentions HS2 and Crossrail along with the current SF to LA High Speed rail project.
Smartrail and PRT are designed as a point to point separated-grade network carrying on av. 1 person or a pallette of goods. With a hanging rail you don't need heavy batteries, parking for the vehicles, you can run a pod straight into the factory to pickup goods, and large/rich places can pay to have track straight to their door.
You can prefab the rail and as land usage is just poles in the ground it can be rolled out over fields etc quickly. Track is one-way to eliminate junctions. Pods are on-demand ie. No waiting.
Accessibility improves, you can use the top of the rail to generate (solar) power, run highspeed internet cables in the rail to improve comms across a country, and save on distribution center logistics as you're going point to point.
The last mile may possibly be an issue, but forklift drones and bicycles can take most of the load I feel.
Drivers for this are that it would go fast (200mph+ as light pods so little wear), can go overnight (sleeper pods), you could buy track to your door, personal transport (like a cinema room if you want). The main real issue with cars is that there's a large lobby behind what is a legacy transport solution...
By way of example, UltraPRT has been running flawlessly at Heathrow airport for 10 years, was built on time, on budget, and performs exactly as predicted/modelled.
For more info checkout http://faculty.washington.edu/jbs/itrans/ in particular Swedetrack (https://web.archive.org/web/20060202013014/http://www.swedet...)