Birmingham and HS2

deltic

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Following the announcement about curtailing gwml electrification delay, i believe as i have always believed hs2,will get no farther north than Birmingham. Hs3 is a gonner too i reckon. If they cant do something simple like gwml, god help them when nr London bods actually go north and see the Pennines.
New build is generally easier and cheaper than upgrading existing lines. Compare HS1 which came in broadly on time and budget and WCML upgrade, 4 years late over 250% over budget and all despite large scale descoping.

HS3 as a new line was never going to happen - it was purely a political stunt.

HS2 will roll on with its own momentum. Work for line to Crewe is well underway with Hybrid Bill next year.
 
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squizzler

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It's all a tragic mis-spending of money. I agree we need more capacity, maybe high speed too, but look at Antwerp (through lines tunnelled at low level through the existing station) and Lille and see what could have been done with HS1 at St Pancras...
and then imagine HS2 going underground through Birmingham Central Low Level - escalators to both New St and Moor St - and on at speed without reversing to connect to useful destinations around the rest of the country. No way does Brum need a fast shuttle just to London. What a waste of public transport investment... At least Leeds HS2 might not be a terminal station now.
I was speculating on another thread about an underground Hauptbahnhof type station to replace the number of existing city centre stations. On the face of it Birmingham makes this much easier than most other places because it is built on a hill rising from a plain rather than the usual fording point in a valley.

Our equivalent of Stuttgart 21 (Brum 21, anybody?) could feature a station placed equdistant from Snow Hill, Moor Street and New Street. The construction shaft can be in the green of the City cathedral! The position of the alignments and mouths of the connecting tunnels needed to integrate it into the West midlands rail network can be left as, as they say, an exercise for the reader!
 

NotATrainspott

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I was speculating on another thread about an underground Hauptbahnhof type station to replace the number of existing city centre stations. On the face of it Birmingham makes this much easier than most other places because it is built on a hill rising from a plain rather than the usual fording point in a valley.

Our equivalent of Stuttgart 21 (Brum 21, anybody?) could feature a station placed equdistant from Snow Hill, Moor Street and New Street. The construction shaft can be in the green of the City cathedral! The position of the alignments and mouths of the connecting tunnels needed to integrate it into the West midlands rail network can be left as, as they say, an exercise for the reader!
The value of such a project is reduced by the fact that it's already possible to run services through the middle of Birmingham. In Germany, trains that were to call at Stuttgart would have to make a detour and a reversal, incurring a significant time penalty. If you're planning to reduce cross-country journey times then it's a good idea to speed up sections like this before you start building dozens of kilometres of brand new high speed railway.
 

najaB

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I was speculating on another thread about an underground Hauptbahnhof type station to replace the number of existing city centre stations On the face of it Birmingham makes this much easier than most other places because it is built on a hill rising from a plain rather than the usual fording point in a valley.
One question: why?
 

glbotu

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I was speculating on another thread about an underground Hauptbahnhof type station to replace the number of existing city centre stations. On the face of it Birmingham makes this much easier than most other places because it is built on a hill rising from a plain rather than the usual fording point in a valley.

Our equivalent of Stuttgart 21 (Brum 21, anybody?) could feature a station placed equdistant from Snow Hill, Moor Street and New Street. The construction shaft can be in the green of the City cathedral! The position of the alignments and mouths of the connecting tunnels needed to integrate it into the West midlands rail network can be left as, as they say, an exercise for the reader!
The big reason for Stuttgart 21 (which is still pretty controversial in the area), is that to go from North of Stuttgart to South of Stuttgart, you approach Stuttgart from the North, go via some slow curves into the approach to the Hauptbahnhof which faces North-East, then, you go back out into a North-Easterly direction, travel East for a bit, before travelling West for some more to end up going South, all because of the alignment of the Hauptbahnhof. This results in a Manchester Piccadilly situation, with trains having to cross the throat too (although lots of flying junctions to the North mitigate this a bit).
 

Blamethrower

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The big reason for Stuttgart 21 (which is still pretty controversial in the area), is that to go from North of Stuttgart to South of Stuttgart, you approach Stuttgart from the North, go via some slow curves into the approach to the Hauptbahnhof which faces North-East, then, you go back out into a North-Easterly direction, travel East for a bit, before travelling West for some more to end up going South, all because of the alignment of the Hauptbahnhof. This results in a Manchester Piccadilly situation, with trains having to cross the throat too (although lots of flying junctions to the North mitigate this a bit).
Stuttgart 21 is just a small part of improving the trans-europe Paris - Budapest route. LGV est is another piece of the puzzle, a new high speed line to Ulm is another part.

I have a few friends from Stuttgart who cannot understand the opposition to such a multi-beneficial project. Trust me when i say that there are more objections to large projects in germany than there are here because people actually go out to cause trouble, but mostly because it's not usually raining :)

I guess the point about Birmingham is that whilst it is a through station, there are many services that start and finish there and there are only a finite amount of tracks.

Create a central through station for all services, local, intercity and high speed including trams and the potential of an underground.

Pie in the sky sure, but not entirely pointless. none of the railways in this country were ever opened to increase connectivity, hence the cluster-f*** of different lines that don't connect properly. If we continue to make more dead ends and "interchanges" that mean a 1 mile+ walk then we are not improving connectivity
 

squizzler

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The value of such a project is reduced by the fact that it's already possible to run services through the middle of Birmingham. In Germany, trains that were to call at Stuttgart would have to make a detour and a reversal, incurring a significant time penalty. If you're planning to reduce cross-country journey times then it's a good idea to speed up sections like this before you start building dozens of kilometres of brand new high speed railway.
Replacing all Birmingham Central stations might be overambitious, but why not have the dedicated High Speed station under the Centre and positioned to span the gap between both Moor Street and New Street?

With a 400m length of platform it could have two exits for interchanging passengers - one into New Street and one into Moor street - from each end of the platform.

HS2 make a lot about doing "smart" things with their ticketing. Could the booking system be clever enough to allocate passengers seats near the Moor Street or New Street end of the platform depending on which of the two their connection is intended to serve?
 

Trog

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Surely Moor Street, New Street and Curzon Street are close enough together that they could be connected with a travellator system to make one big station complex anyway.
 

squizzler

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Surely Moor Street, New Street and Curzon Street are close enough together that they could be connected with a travellator system to make one big station complex anyway.
I agree. In fact I'd go further and suggest transferring passengers could walk.

But I'd like to think we can do better, hence my support for a previous poster who suggested a buried through station in the centre instead of a terminus at the edge of centre. We now know the HS2 rolling stock order is all for legacy BR profile rather than Berne gauge. The choice (or acceptance) of a terminus was, in my opinion, driven by the vision of HS2 as a predominantly self contained railway. Whilst Birmingham still needs long platforms for the HS2 trains and thus rules out New Street, I suspect the choice of BR gauge stock might change the balance to favour a through station onto the classic network. Such an onward connection will almost certainly need new tunnels under Birmingham, so why not put the station in these tunnels?
 

The Planner

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Are you suggesting that HS2 route would have continued under Birmingham towards Crewe? Pretty sure that was looked as an option and discounted fairly early on. Sticking it at Curzon St will be seen as a driver to regenerate that side of the city.
 
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squizzler

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Are you suggesting that HS2 route would have continued under Birmingham towards Crewe? Pretty sure that was looked as an option and discounted fairly early on. Sticking it at Curzon St will be seen as a driver to regenerate that side of the city.
Nope the trunk route should stay where it is. Allowing trains to split at Birmingham HSR (wherever that is) with the classic compatible section going forward to Wolverhampton, maybe Shrewsbury some day when it gets wires, could open up more options.

The recent train tender surprised many pundits when it was confirmed they would all be classic compatible trains. I get the impression that HS2 has progressively crept from a self contained railway (where interface to the classic lines was chiefly perceived as a door by which legacy railway delays would get onto HS2 - one of the main justifications for no HS1 - HS2 connection) to a mostly self contained railway with many onward services and latterly to a route for classic compatible fleet. Maybe time to look again at whether we want buffer stops at the end of the Birmingham spur?
 
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The Planner

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No chance of anything changing at Curzon St, it would require a redsign which would cost a fortune amd add even more time into the project. Bear in mind the route is goiing over the Derby and Cross City north lines, not under. I dont understand the shock of a single fleet, operationally it makes sense and it will do in terms of cash.
 

Phil.

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Nope the trunk route should stay where it is. Allowing trains to split at Birmingham HSR (wherever that is) with the classic compatible section going forward to Wolverhampton, maybe Shrewsbury some day when it gets wires, could open up more options.

The recent train tender surprised many pundits when it was confirmed they would all be classic compatible trains. I get the impression that HS2 has progressively crept from a self contained railway (where interface to the classic lines was chiefly perceived as a door by which legacy railway delays would get onto HS2 - one of the main justifications for no HS1 - HS2 connection) to a mostly self contained railway with many onward services and latterly to a route for classic compatible fleet. Maybe time to look again at whether we want buffer stops at the end of the Birmingham spur?
Maybe it's time to ask if we can afford and justify this hugely expensive bit of railway. Maybe we could get the whole of the GWR to Swansea and Plymouth juiced. Maybe we could build a new inland railway from Exeter to Newton Abbott. Maybe we could upgrade the trans-Pennine route to something decent.
Maybe we could double track the line to Kings Lynn and the Ely North curve.

There's tons of projects that deserve spending on rather than a vanity project which will in all likelihood end at Birmingham when the cash runs out.
 

Geezertronic

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There's tons of projects that deserve spending on rather than a vanity project which will in all likelihood end at Birmingham when the cash runs out.
I hear the word "vanity" mentioned a lot with HS2. Please quantify your use of it.

It is not as if HS2 comes at the cost of other improvement projects, and also it is not as if the pot of cash will be used elsewhere should HS2 disappear and I believe that has been said a million times.

Also do you think CrossRail is a vanity project that is using money better spent elsewhere since the funding will be the same for HS2?
 

Chris125

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We now know the HS2 rolling stock order is all for legacy BR profile rather than Berne gauge.
Can you point to any evidence that all HS2 rolling stock will be classic compatible? IIRC the recent announcement only concerned the initial tranche of 60 for phase 1.

The recent train tender surprised many pundits when it was confirmed they would all be classic compatible trains.
With only London-Birmingham available for captive sets the number required really wouldn't have made any sense for the first phase, I certainly wasn't surprised.
 
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Phil.

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I hear the word "vanity" mentioned a lot with HS2. Please quantify your use of it.

It is not as if HS2 comes at the cost of other improvement projects, and also it is not as if the pot of cash will be used elsewhere should HS2 disappear and I believe that has been said a million times.

Also do you think CrossRail is a vanity project that is using money better spent elsewhere since the funding will be the same for HS2?
Vanity. Building a super-dooper bit of high speed railway for no other apparent reason than to say we can. This HS2 will, in all likelihood get no further than Birmingham. It will be late and way over the already enormous budget. Eurostar still isn't carrying the number of passengers that were projected and the passenger base is different to that originally envisaged.
Crossrail is something different altogether. It is being built for a definite need and will be enormously busy and popular.
If the money that has been made available for HS2 was made available for the remainder of the network substantial improvements could be made - as I suggested.
 

azz7008

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Maybe it's time to ask if we can afford and justify this hugely expensive bit of railway. Maybe we could get the whole of the GWR to Swansea and Plymouth juiced. Maybe we could build a new inland railway from Exeter to Newton Abbott. Maybe we could upgrade the trans-Pennine route to something decent.
Maybe we could double track the line to Kings Lynn and the Ely North curve.

There's tons of projects that deserve spending on rather than a vanity project which will in all likelihood end at Birmingham when the cash runs out.
Fairly or unfairly, the main demand for England is between Birmingham/Manchester and London and it will be this way for many years to come. HS2 makes a little more sense than electrifying the whole of the GWR upto Swansea and Plymouth.
 

dviner

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It's Birmingham, isn't it? That's why so many people have got it in for HS2 - because it goes to Birmingham!

Would there have been less complaints if it had been a high-speed, non-stop service to Edinburgh?
 

Voglitz

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Fairly or unfairly, the main demand for England is between Birmingham/Manchester and London and it will be this way for many years to come.
If there are 1700 million annual travel stages on the railway, 7 million of which are London <-> Birmingham and London <-> Manchester, the 'main demand for England' is ~0.35% of the total demand.

HS2 makes a little more sense than electrifying the whole of the GWR upto Swansea and Plymouth.
"Sense", in what sense?
 

azz7008

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If there are 1700 million annual travel stages on the railway, 7 million of which are London <-> Birmingham and London <-> Manchester, the 'main demand for England' is ~0.35% of the total demand.



"Sense", in what sense?
Ofcourse it'll only be a small proportion of overall train demand, just like London- New York is a tiny amount of passengers compared to global flight numbers.This doesn't mean that it's uninvestable though, Birmingham is a fast growing city and the current rail infrastructure doesn't meet predicted demand.
 

Geezertronic

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Vanity. Building a super-dooper bit of high speed railway for no other apparent reason than to say we can
That's your opinion (not fact) which you are more than entitled to. Doesn't make it accurate though


This HS2 will, in all likelihood get no further than Birmingham
So if that is the case (which doesn't seem likely), it will still relieve the WCML south of Rugby and allow more commuter services to run which can only be a good thing


It will be late and way over the already enormous budget
Again that's your opinion (not fact) which you are more than entitled to. Doesn't make it accurate though


If the money that has been made available for HS2 was made available for the remainder of the network substantial improvements could be made - as I suggested.
There is no big pot of money that HS2 is stealing here. Just like CrossRail, I understand that it is project/private funded so no money would be available should HS2 be cancelled. This fact is years old
 

Phil.

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That's your opinion (not fact) which you are more than entitled to. Doesn't make it accurate though




So if that is the case (which doesn't seem likely), it will still relieve the WCML south of Rugby and allow more commuter services to run which can only be a good thing




Again that's your opinion (not fact) which you are more than entitled to. Doesn't make it accurate though




There is no big pot of money that HS2 is stealing here. Just like CrossRail, I understand that it is project/private funded so no money would be available should HS2 be cancelled. This fact is years old
There's an easy way to free up capacity on the WCML. Stop running such an intensive service to Manchester and Birmingham. I've often been on trains where all the passengers could be accommodated in three coaches.

My various observations may be opinions but my opinions are based on fact.
"On time and within budget" is a remark that should be in the same area of fact as "the cheque is in the post".
GWR electrification - a shambles.
Eurostar. Still not carrying the projected numbers of passengers.
HS1 domestic. Only carries the numbers that it does because following it's introduction all of the fast Victoria/Charing Cross trains were withdrawn.
MML electrification. Abandoned.
ECML. Those pesky wires still keep on falling down.
Cross Pennines. Surely we can do better than that?
HS2 is not stealing any money, I never did imply that it was. However, if the money that has miraculously been made available was used for the present network............
If a railway is going to be built to relieve traffic south of Birmingham why not build a "conventional" low speed high speed line for 125 mph running. After all it's only about 100 miles to Birmingham from London and a new line would probably give a journey time of around 75-80 minutes. With conventional signalling it could be used by freight too.
 

quantinghome

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There's an easy way to free up capacity on the WCML. Stop running such an intensive service to Manchester and Birmingham. I've often been on trains where all the passengers could be accommodated in three coaches.

My various observations may be opinions but my opinions are based on fact.
"On time and within budget" is a remark that should be in the same area of fact as "the cheque is in the post".
GWR electrification - a shambles.
Eurostar. Still not carrying the projected numbers of passengers.
HS1 domestic. Only carries the numbers that it does because following it's introduction all of the fast Victoria/Charing Cross trains were withdrawn.
MML electrification. Abandoned.
ECML. Those pesky wires still keep on falling down.
Cross Pennines. Surely we can do better than that?
HS2 is not stealing any money, I never did imply that it was. However, if the money that has miraculously been made available was used for the present network............
If a railway is going to be built to relieve traffic south of Birmingham why not build a "conventional" low speed high speed line for 125 mph running. After all it's only about 100 miles to Birmingham from London and a new line would probably give a journey time of around 75-80 minutes. With conventional signalling it could be used by freight too.
... and the Dunning-Kruger effect strikes again!
 

NSEFAN

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There's an easy way to free up capacity on the WCML. Stop running such an intensive service to Manchester and Birmingham. I've often been on trains where all the passengers could be accommodated in three coaches.

My various observations may be opinions but my opinions are based on fact.
"On time and within budget" is a remark that should be in the same area of fact as "the cheque is in the post".
GWR electrification - a shambles.
Eurostar. Still not carrying the projected numbers of passengers.
HS1 domestic. Only carries the numbers that it does because following it's introduction all of the fast Victoria/Charing Cross trains were withdrawn.
MML electrification. Abandoned.
ECML. Those pesky wires still keep on falling down.
Cross Pennines. Surely we can do better than that?
HS2 is not stealing any money, I never did imply that it was. However, if the money that has miraculously been made available was used for the present network............
If a railway is going to be built to relieve traffic south of Birmingham why not build a "conventional" low speed high speed line for 125 mph running. After all it's only about 100 miles to Birmingham from London and a new line would probably give a journey time of around 75-80 minutes. With conventional signalling it could be used by freight too.
There's several issues here.

1) Firstly just because you've seen trains which have capacity doens't mean that the railway doesn't need more capacity. I've seen GWR HSTs from Reading - Paddington with plenty of space, but wouldn't suggest turning down the frequencies.

2) Running trains to try and line up with passenger numbers at different times of day is not straightforward, especially on intercity routes. Indeed, running the trains at times to suit the railway is what killed a lot of demand during the rationalisation years. It is beneficial to have some spare capacity if it means the service is convenient, as perceived convenience is a major factor in getting people to choose the railway over other modes of transport.

3) People talking about "on time and on budget" are more likely to be proven right with new-build infrastructure. It's much easier to get infrastructure built if you're not having to run service trains on it in the mean time. A lot of the problems faced on the GWML project have been NR fumbling around in the dark and getting things done over short possessions. Had they been able to close the whole route until the work is done we perhaps wouldn't have seen the problems that we have (not that this would be acceptable for the passengers of course!)

4) HS1 was only built relatively recently compared with other mainlines. Why are you expecting it to be at capacity now? Railways are long-term infrastructure; if HS1 was already full to bursting already then something would be wrong.

5) Not that much money would be saved by making the railway 125mph, in terms of land formation. There would still have been the lengthy consultation process had the line been able to be diverted somewhat, as nobody wants infrastructure built near them (unless it raises their house price). There is also some benefit to reducing journey times, again to attract people to use the service.

6) The whole point of the new railway is to segregate traffic, as this is how the capacity gets increased. Mixing freight on an express railway defeats the whole point of doing this. The only possible reason I can see to put freight on HS2 would be to take advantage of the high loading gauge to have some form of rolling highway, but even then you'd need high-speed freight trains to avoid capacity issues. Has anyone built 250mph freight trains?
 
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najaB

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Has anyone built 250mph freight trains?
Apparently they've had 168mph sets operating, so it shouldn't be that hard to up the speed.

It could only be parcels traffic or similar as emergency braking 1600 tonnes of anything from >200mph would require quite effective brakes!
 
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NSEFAN

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It's always "yes" from railway enthusiasts and companies who stand to make a profit from construction.
It's never a "yes" from economists.
Which economists are these? Bear in mind that the national grid would never have been built in today's short-termistic political climate, and yet it's essential for the economy to run.
 

Ironside

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According to Phil, it's all economists all the time.

Has to be the first time I've ever heard of all economists agreeing on something.
Abosolutely. One of my economics teachers at university used to say the first rule of economics is that if you ask two economists a question you will get three competing answers.
 

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