HS2 and the coronavirus

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Ianno87

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In your opinion, due to potential less commuting needed on trains as more people will start to work from home, will HS2 still be necessary?
Yes. Because people no longer be so tied to the London and home counties commuter belt.

So you could work from home in (say) Wigan and then use HS2 to reach the London office once or twice per week you actually need to be there.
 

Yew

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On one side, there is the potential reduction in commuting. However on the other hand, we have less the full employment, so we're in an ideal situation to do some infrastructure investment. Couple that with the environmental arguments, and even direct links to the continent (I'd love to get on a train in Toton, and not have to leave until I'm in Lyon or Bourg-St-Maurice, as opposed to a collection of trains, planes and busses that I use every time I go skiing now)
 

Scrotnig

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In your opinion, due to potential less commuting needed on trains as more people will start to work from home, will HS2 still be necessary?
I'd like to say yes because I am, by default, in favour of any expansion of railways.

However - sad to say - it'll be years, if not decades, before there is any great demand for public transport again. That's what you get for terrifying the population into thinking merely stepping on a train will wipe out them and their entire family.

So, with great sadness - I don't think there's any point in carrying on with HS2. There will nobody using it. And the moment it eventually opens they will put black and yellow tape over three quarters of the seats and ban anyone except 'key workers' from going on it.
 

Ianno87

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So, with great sadness - I don't think there's any point in carrying on with HS2. There will nobody using it. And the moment it eventually opens they will put black and yellow tape over three quarters of the seats and ban anyone except 'key workers' from going on it.
Out on trains yesterday, and it felt close to a normal Saturday. Leisure passengers *are* returning.
 

Scrotnig

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Out on trains yesterday, and it felt close to a normal Saturday. Leisure passengers *are* returning.
I sincerely hope so. I love rail travel even though I don't get to do it as often as I'd like (and not at all at the moment). It really needs to get back to normal.
 

Ianno87

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I sincerely hope so. I love rail travel even though I don't get to do it as often as I'd like (and not at all at the moment). It really needs to get back to normal.
Once more offices start to reopen, I can see a gradual slow burn of some commuting demand coming back.
 

PTR 444

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The British tend to have a habit of making a major infrastructure project take at least a decade from being shovel ready to completion, and we know how overdue Crossrail is of course! It's likely that passenger levels will have returned to 2019 levels by the time HS2 is due for completion, so let's just get on with building it while passenger numbers are surpressed, then we can have a brand new modern railway ready for passengers to look forward once they feel comfortable to return!
 

NorthOxonian

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In your opinion, due to potential less commuting needed on trains as more people will start to work from home, will HS2 still be necessary?
I actually think the opposite. Yes, the standard five day a week commute will no longer be as common (though most probably still will - most jobs can't be done from home and even then many people who can work from home don't want to). But there will be a big rise in people commuting occasionally - one, two, or three days a week. This new breed of commuters will be willing to travel for longer than most current commuters, because they aren't doing it day in day out.

I think Birmingham Interchange might prove particularly useful - it's quite close to the nicest parts of Birmingham's commuter belt. I could easily imagine lots of affluent London commuters living in somewhere like Dorridge or Meriden, driving to Interchange, and travelling into London once or twice a week.
 

Hadders

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You build a new railway for 50 years worth of growth, not what might happen next year or the year after, so HS2 is still needed.

I think this pandemic and more working from home will increase longer distance commuting because of you only need to visit the office 2 or 3 days a week many will choose to live further away, for housing/family reasons, and tolerate a less frequent although longer commute.
 

Ianno87

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I think this pandemic and more working from home will increase longer distance commuting because of you only need to visit the office 2 or 3 days a week many will choose to live further away, for housing/family reasons, and tolerate a less frequent although longer commute.
And if you're only commuting once or twice a week, the appeal of using the commute as working time is much higher. Do a "long" day commuting on a Wednesday, and buy yourself a couple of hours' early finish on Friday afternoon.
 

philosopher

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You build a new railway for 50 years worth of growth, not what might happen next year or the year after, so HS2 is still needed.

I think this pandemic and more working from home will increase longer distance commuting because of you only need to visit the office 2 or 3 days a week many will choose to live further away, for housing/family reasons, and tolerate a less frequent although longer commute.
Related to that, we do not know what major events will occur in the next 50 years. There could be some kind of event that has the complete opposite impact to this pandemic, in that it encourages greater overall rail use.
 

Yew

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Related to that, we do not know what major events will occur in the next 50 years. There could be some kind of event that has the complete opposite impact to this pandemic, in that it encourages greater overall rail use.
Exactly, less commuting could lead to less car ownership, meaning more leisure journeys
 

trebor79

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Exactly, less commuting could lead to less car ownership, meaning more leisure journeys
Nah. People who commute by train have a car for other things. Ditto people who use a car for commuting use it for other things.
 

birchesgreen

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I think Birmingham Interchange might prove particularly useful - it's quite close to the nicest parts of Birmingham's commuter belt. I could easily imagine lots of affluent London commuters living in somewhere like Dorridge or Meriden, driving to Interchange, and travelling into London once or twice a week.
Plus an entire new town is being built next to Interchange...
 

37424

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I would have scrapped it personally, but given the amount of work already done it was a difficult decision for the government, my view is that Johnson would have scrapped if hadn't have already proceeded so far. Anyway the decision has been made and things are proceeding there probably not much point building Phase 1 without 2a as well but beyond that I would have a serious look at the rest of it, including the possible proposal of scrapping the eastern arm of 2b and joining it to NPR at Manchester.

I have always been a bit skeptical about people from East Side wanting to travel to Euston or Old Oak Common, compared with KX as depending where you want to be KX may be a better interchange point for many destinations and compared to Euston in particular.
 
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Ianno87

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Nah. People who commute by train have a car for other things. Ditto people who use a car for commuting use it for other things.
You usually justify purchase of a car (particularly a first car) on expecting to use it reasonably regularly to justify the cost, i.e daily commuting for many.

Take away that "incentive" and many people might not bother, especially with the likes of Zipcar springing up for the "weekly big shop" type use. I'd expect there will be gradual shift in the traditional mindset of the reasons for owning a car.
 

Scrotnig

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You usually justify purchase of a car (particularly a first car) on expecting to use it reasonably regularly to justify the cost, i.e daily commuting for many.

Take away that "incentive" and many people might not bother, especially with the likes of Zipcar springing up for the "weekly big shop" type use. I'd expect there will be gradual shift in the traditional mindset of the reasons for owning a car.
I have a car and no matter how much I might use public transport, I won't ever be without one. This pandemic has demonstrated exactly why. You rely on public transport, then the government tells you you can't use it.
 

Bletchleyite

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Nah. People who commute by train have a car for other things. Ditto people who use a car for commuting use it for other things.
Families may choose to drop down from 2 to 1 car. I know a couple who have done exactly that by moving nearer to a railway station. This is much, much more likely than giving it up entirely.

I have a car and no matter how much I might use public transport, I won't ever be without one. This pandemic has demonstrated exactly why. You rely on public transport, then the government tells you you can't use it.
Annoying though it is, this situation is (quite literally, if you look at the dates of the Spanish Flu) a 1 in 100 years thing. It is infinitessimally unlikely that it will happen again in the way it has in your or my lifetime.
 

Yew

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Families may choose to drop down from 2 to 1 car. I know a couple who have done exactly that by moving nearer to a railway station. This is much, much more likely than giving it up entirely.
Indeed, or moving from a big diesel motorway cruiser for commuting, to a smaller vehicle for around town driving.
 

Bletchleyite

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Indeed, or moving from a big diesel motorway cruiser for commuting, to a smaller vehicle for around town driving.
Potentially even a small electric runaround, which due to the faff of charging and limited range may well encourage rail use for long distance travel. Unless there are big improvements in battery tech, a rail journey and the hire of a small electric car at your destination may well become a common model, particularly when you think of holiday destinations like Cornwall, the Lake District etc.
 

trebor79

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Annoying though it is, this situation is (quite literally, if you look at the dates of the Spanish Flu) a 1 in 100 years thing. It is infinitessimally unlikely that it will happen again in the way it has in your or my lifetime.
Oooh, I'm not sure about that. Look at the "near misses" we've have with swine flu, avian flu, SARS, MERS and Ebola. All of them (except perhaps Ebola) had the potential to be "escape" as Covid19 has. As the human race continue to abuse the natural environment, and as long as unsanitary conditions around the provision and consumption of animals and animal products continues (and probably intensifies in the case of places like China, where "rural" practices are transposed into teeming metrolpolises), there will be the continuing risk of further pandemics. With far more people and far more abuse of the natural world than a century ago, pandemics could become a far more regular occurrence than in history.
 

Yew

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Potentially even a small electric runaround, which due to the faff of charging and limited range may well encourage rail use for long distance travel. Unless there are big improvements in battery tech, a rail journey and the hire of a small electric car at your destination may well become a common model, particularly when you think of holiday destinations like Cornwall, the Lake District etc.
*dreams of EV autorail trains crossing europe*
 

Bletchleyite

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*dreams of EV autorail trains crossing europe*
Transporting the cars is a waste of energy. Just get one at your destination. It could be as easy as checking a box "I'd like to hire an electric car for £X while I'm at my destination", uploading a copy of your driving licence when you check out and when you arrive it's sitting there waiting for you in a dedicated bay outside the station, fully charged, with access gained via a code lock. Chuck your luggage in the back and off on your holiday. When you're on your way home, park it up in the bay, plug it in and head off for your train.

That's probably a better way of doing "mobility as a service" than half-****d, never-likely-to-be-profitable dial-a-bus type services.
 

Cowley

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Oooh, I'm not sure about that. Look at the "near misses" we've have with swine flu, avian flu, SARS, MERS and Ebola. All of them (except perhaps Ebola) had the potential to be "escape" as Covid19 has. As the human race continue to abuse the natural environment, and as long as unsanitary conditions around the provision and consumption of animals and animal products continues (and probably intensifies in the case of places like China, where "rural" practices are transposed into teeming metrolpolises), there will be the continuing risk of further pandemics. With far more people and far more abuse of the natural world than a century ago, pandemics could become a far more regular occurrence than in history.
That’s my take on it too and from what I’ve read it seems to be a generally agreed theory in scientific circles.
The next one could be worse than this or it could be less severe, but there will be a next one (and more after that) as long as the human race continues to behave the way it does.
I guess one thing that would slow a new pandemic making its way around the world though would be if there’s less international travel.
If something broke out in another part of the world currently it would find it a lot harder to spread than a year ago...
 

Ianno87

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I have a car and no matter how much I might use public transport, I won't ever be without one. This pandemic has demonstrated exactly why. You rely on public transport, then the government tells you you can't use it.
But if you didn't own the car already, would your reasoning be different...? (Pandemics aside)

I would like to think that, whatever 'New Normal' consists of, another situation of advising against public transport use will be very, very exceptional.
 

Bletchleyite

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I would like to think that, whatever 'New Normal' consists of, another situation of advising against public transport use will be very, very exceptional.
Agreed. If (and it's a big if) this goes on long term (i.e. more than a year or so) public transport will look to redesign to allow for it, such as compartment stock making a comeback. But it's fairly unlikely for the situation to remain as it is for too long - either it'll evolve to become less harmful (that might already be happening judging by the caseload going up but the hospital admissions and deaths still going down) or we'll get a vaccine. So all the measures at the moment are pretty much by definition short term.
 

Hadders

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I have always been a bit skeptical about people from East Side wanting to travel to Euston or Old Oak Common, compared with KX as depending where you want to be KX may be a better interchange point for many destinations and compared to Euston in particular.
Remember it's about capacity. The ECML south of Peterborough is full so by running the fast Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh services via HS2 you enable more capacity for places like Grantham , Retford, Newark, Huntingdon etc to London.
 

37424

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Remember it's about capacity. The ECML south of Peterborough is full so by running the fast Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh services via HS2 you enable more capacity for places like Grantham , Retford, Newark, Huntingdon etc to London.
I am not disputing that but the simple fact is many on the eastern side my prefer KX with a time penalty to HS2, and if commuting reduces some capacity may be freed up, which of course is the whole proposition of the thread.
 
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Bletchleyite

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Remember it's about capacity. The ECML south of Peterborough is full so by running the fast Leeds, Newcastle and Edinburgh services via HS2 you enable more capacity for places like Grantham , Retford, Newark, Huntingdon etc to London.
It is primarily about capacity on the south WCML. One interesting question, though (while I remain in favour of it) is whether, if commuting drops substantially, a load of capacity may be freed up anyway. If a Saturday service with a few 12-car trains in the peak direction in the peak (with 8 being the default at other times) is enough for the remaining commuters, that'll free up a stack of paths. You might even get a few more if you ran Northampton fasts and Trent Valleys with 125mph stock (as you similarly may not need the messy capacity-maximising skip-stop peak pattern there presently is).
 

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