Transport secretary Grant Shapps to come clean on soaring costs of HS2

Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by Jorge Da Silva, 1 Sep 2019.

  1. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    What is your source for the ECML being down? According to the data from ORR the annual growth (from the quarterly data) shows that LNER has been growing year on year since 2011/12 (18% up over that timeframe), which equates to an average of 2.4% growth per year.

    Indeed there's only so many people who wish to travel between London and Birmingham, which is why HS2's model assumed 1% growth per year. However the problem with this sort of thought is that rail is still a fairly small percentage of those making that journey.

    It also ignores the fact that population growth is continuing, which would likely result in a greater increase in rail use than would otherwise be the case. As road growth is likely to be limited by capacity and so rail could be more attractive than would otherwise be the case.

    Likewise it ignores that people are becoming more conscious of the environment and so people are now likely to look to rail for some travel, especially if it means that they can avoid having to own a second car.

    Combined there's still growth happening and still scope for future growth.

    My post shows that if HS2 opened today that it would have 72% of the loadings which the 390's saw in 2009. That's hardly a White Elephant.
     
  2. Ianno87

    Ianno87 Established Member

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    And looking back to HS1, look at the places that benefitted from expresses being taken off the classic Kent lines. For example the popularity today of the 4tph stopping service between Bromley South and Victoria via Beckenham Junction. Was only 2tph pre HS1.
     
  3. moggie

    moggie Member

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    I'm guessing you don't get out much as you only have to see the development explosion in Birmingham City Centre reacting to the catalyst of the HS2 promise. It's not hot air, it's real and happening. Ditto Manchester. Ditto Leeds. Whether the current UK schism has an affect who know but HS2 is planned to address the forecast economic growth where there's clear evidence it will be needed.
    But that's not even the whole story is it? Look at the amount of new housing development in the north of London Home Counties? EWR is predicated on that development happening and I assume you've no objection to that project? HS2 as all who understand the project, releases vital existing line capacity to allow more local services (and railfreight!) to serve the same future increase in demand which will be placed on WC/EC/Midland Main Lines by the various housing developments in the region. HS2 may well be an expensive solution to serve that demand but a solution it nevertheless it is, in the absence of no other coherent plans. Do nothing maybe the cheap option short term, it will cost us all longer term. Doing something else instead of HS2 will not only take even longer being as it hasn't yet been decided let alone planned and in the absence of an effective alternative project no one can say a broad equivalent addressing all identified needs would cost less.
     
  4. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    I wonder why "growth" is always seen as a positive. We have a finite planet; continuing growth is not only not inevitable, it's physically impossible. It's essentially a collective choice of society at what level we stop "growing", and we have to make different choices from the currently dominant ones. There's nothing wrong with calming down and slowing down a bit, and going back to a time when our species wasn't living beyond our (planet's) means.
     
  5. al78

    al78 Established Member

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    It is the core of the neo-liberal capitalism model. and protecting this at any cost is the key.
     
  6. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    Because, generally, growth leads to higher living standards? Do you seriously think all the growth that has happened over - say - the last 100 years, is a bad thing? Would you like it if we had the same standards of living, same health, etc. as people had in the 1920's, or even the 1800's? (At a rough guess, I'd say you'd need to go back to about 1800 to hit a time when we weren't living beyond our planet's means).

    Of course you're right that there is a finite planet, and that's why we need to make sure that growth is done in an environmentally sustainable way - ideally we need to get to a point where all energy is derived from renewable sources, and almost all rubbish can be recycled or composted. We've made lots of progress towards that over the last 50 years, and I don't see any reason why we won't keep making progress - provided, of course that Governments around the World prioritise environmental protection. I totally agree with you that we need to reach a point where we are not 'living beyond our (planet's) means' - but the best way to achieve that is surely to forward with the appropriate technology, not to go backwards. As one example, if we can reach a point where all our electricity is generated from renewable sources, then HS2 will have precisely zero direct effect on CO2 emissions (and possibly an indirect positive effect if it removes fossil-fuel-powered cars from the roads). Under that situation, would you really object to it?
     
  7. AndrewE

    AndrewE Established Member

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    [Economic] growth, i.e. a bigger GDP isn't the only metric available, and in fact is a perverse measure, as things like all the costs arising from deaths and injuries in car crashes put it up!
    There has been more discussion this year about alternative measures that would reflect increasing living standards (or a more secure future/sustainable world) without the slavish devotion to increasing GDP.
     
  8. sprunt

    sprunt Member

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    PJWR?

    Normally, I'd agree but *looks at cable car from nowhere to nowhere and stupid New Bus For London*
     
  9. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    I didn't imply - at least I didn't intend to - that all growth that has happened is a bad thing. And anyway, growth and technological developments aren't identical. Society can move on and develop in various ways without consuming natural resources at an ever faster rate. (It depends on the technology, and it depends on the effect of technological changes on population levels.)

    I haven't said in any detail what my view of HS2 is - I was making a general point about how to judge things. Growth doesn't always equate with better living standards (not even if you only count standards in material terms). A higher GDP is often claimed as inevitably a good thing which we should aim for, but if population expands in parallel, then the per-person figure hasn't gone up; and if we live in a more crowded island/country/planet with less space for other (not-directly-material and not-directly-countable) things, then the same economic figures per head could mean a diminution of living standards. (And of course measures like GDP are anyway silly, in the sense that pursuing them means - eg - that a disaster which has a large economic cost to clear up is a good thing because it increases GDP.)

    It's possible to envisage changes which are not growth at all, but which are a re-ordering of priorities and re-ordering of the use of resources, in the process increasing "living standards" for most people. In transport terms, for instance, ensuring that every conurbation had cheap and efficient public transport - road and rail in whatever appropriate combination - whilst getting rid of all private cars, might provide far more improved mobility for far more people (hence more equitably) than one major project like HS2. And incidentally, it's not just energy use while running it that needs to be looked at in projects like HS2, but the "embedded energy" of its construction - and also the one-time use of scarce physical resources.

    If it is the case that we've already reached a point where we're living beyond the planet's means - as many think - then further growth can't be the answer; rather, we have to restructure (more fairly) our current levels of consumption (of all sorts).
     
  10. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    Much as I'm no fan of Boris Johnson in general, there was one over-riding feature of his new bus which was massively positive. When many central London routes were running with open back platforms, it saved me up to 30% of my journey time on some trips. And people who didn't "hop on and off" (though many Londoners - who'd been used to that before - did so) also had faster journeys since buses got through their journey more quickly because of lower dwell times at stops. The person-hours saved by passengers more than made up for the time of one person as a "conductor" who was required* to oversee the open platform. [*Though goodness knows why - we all managed with open platforms when conductors were all over the bus collecting fares in the old days...] If bus passengers were seen as important enough for their time to be valued (like train passengers when speeding up rail journeys), there would be a clear cost-benefit to keeping the back platforms open.
     
  11. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    Indeed - that too!
     
  12. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    I'm not saying you're the only one to think like this (far from it!), but... why?

    IF you're building a high speed railway, you're going to be building something pretty heavyweight - it's not just a case of slewing some tracks down into an old Victorian embankment - it'll be just as environmentally disruptive wherever you do it - whether that's a fifty metre corridor through greenfield, brownfield or a bit of railway that was closed down fifty years ago.

    If some daft old Victorian entrepreneur had a company called the Euston - Curzon Street & Toton then many enthusiasts would be queuing up to back HS2 :lol:

    Agreed - Skype is sixteen years old - how have railway passenger numbers been in that time?

    (oddly, videoconferencing facilities never stop people from suggesting improved trains from Leeds to Manchester, or other improvements between cities (just like nobody dismisses transpennine improvements on the grounds of "why do people want to get to Leeds ten minutes earlier")

    ...and yet, despite the frequency increases and extensions, people are complaining about new trains not being long enough etc etc

    If passenger numbers have peaked nationally then presumably we should start reducing frequencies on some lines?

    Again, this approach of "we should stop growth" never gets raised whenever people suggest other railway improvements... it's almost like "HS2 growth" is seen as bad but "growth on routes first built in the nineteenth century" is wonderful/ desirable/ essential...
     
  13. 6Gman

    6Gman Established Member

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    I think the days of unattended rear platforms realistically ended when people died.

    Such as the lady pulled off a rear platform by a bag-snatcher.
     
  14. The Ham

    The Ham Established Member

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    It should be noted that there's different types of growth.

    Economic growth, which is what was being discussed above.

    Rail growth, which is what I keep talking about, which can be positive even when economic growth is negative.

    Generally a lot of economic growth is down to population growth and an increase in women working, rather then being stay at home. If for no other reason than they are then paint others to do things that they would otherwise traditionally do (childcare, cleaning, etc.) as between the couple they don't have the capability to do whilst having full time jobs.
     
  15. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    If so, I'll settle for staffed rear platforms ... just as long as we can jump on and off (at our own risk) and make bus journeys much quicker, and more flexible and convenient.
     
  16. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    I wasn't referring to growth exclusively in the context of HS2.
     
  17. LNW-GW Joint

    LNW-GW Joint Veteran Member

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    Another twist in the HS2 saga is that Grant Shapps has ordered a pause in the clearance of ancient woodland for the HS2 route, until final decisions are made after the Okervee Review reports.
    HS2 has a very poor relationship with the Woodland Trust (and the Greens generally), and this marks another victory, albeit maybe temporary, for the "Stop HS2" brigade.
    https://www.gov.uk/government/news/...nt-woodland-clearances-during-oakervee-review
     
    Last edited: 17 Sep 2019 at 08:41
  18. class26

    class26 Member

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    This is nonsense. Ancient woodlands are nothing like as useful in carbon capture than newly planted trees. it is a scientific fact that trees absorb most of the carbon they will absorb in the first 30 or so years of life so planting younger trees along the route of HS2 will do far more good but why let facts get in the way of a good protest ?
     
  19. Rhydgaled

    Rhydgaled Established Member

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    It's not just about absorbing carbon though, established woodlands are probably more important for bio-diversity. I am starting to wonder however whether the 'ancient woodland' designation is actually important and whether a case-by-case evalutation of any and every woodland impacted by an infrustructure project would be more appropriate. Some woodlands which are not categorised as 'ancient' may well be more valuable than some that are, but I'm no expert on these matters.
     
  20. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    I don't think "ancient woodland" means old trees! It's more to do with being an area of trees which originally developed naturally and has historic and biodiversity value. Precisely because of the nature of it, it will have trees of varying ages...
     
  21. class26

    class26 Member

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    That was really my point
     
  22. PR1Berske

    PR1Berske Established Member

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    It's sensible for a government to re-evaluate whether it's "good optics" for a £bn railway with few intermediate stations to be seen smashing through England's green and pleasant land.
     
  23. Geezertronic

    Geezertronic Established Member

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    As emotive as ever, and missing the point as always...
     
  24. Meerkat

    Meerkat Member

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    It’s certainly not good optics to keep smashing down ancient woodland for possibly no reason!
    Very sensible to pause for the reviews
     
  25. tbtc

    tbtc Veteran Member

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    Hundreds of posts later and there's still nothing to change my assertion that the people complaining about HS2 would have been fine with all of the costs/ disruption/ bulldozers/ economic growth/ jobs (etc) as long as it was all built following some long abandoned Victorian alignment - I'm sure those teeth wouldn't have been gnashed so loudly and the toys would have remained in the pram if only we were able to build it on the route of the GCR (because rebuilding old railways is fine but building brand new ones is horrible/ ugly and devastates trees).

    ...but how come the same stuff (about how we shouldn't be focussing on GDP and there are other unquantifiable things that are much more important things, y'know...) is never raised when other people are suggesting other rail projects?

    It's like economic regeneration is wonderful when it comes to the railway rescuing some dilapidated post-industrial town by re-opening some Victorian railway but economic regeneration is ugly when it comes to building a line on a new alignment...

    Agreed

    Put that better than I could have

    Smashing down those trees... whereas presumably all of the flora taken out by other railway projects in the UK was removed by hand with organic crimpers... the emotive language on this thread really is something special.
     
  26. AlbertBeale

    AlbertBeale Member

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    Re:
    "...but how come the same stuff (about how we shouldn't be focussing on GDP and there are other unquantifiable things that are much more important things, y'know...) is never raised when other people are suggesting other rail projects?"

    It's news to me that HST uniquely gets these comments - that's simply not true. It gets them more than many other infrastructure projects because it's so much larger than most other ones. I and others make much the same case about other schemes of comparable size and destructiveness. You don't see such discussion on this website for the rather obvious reason that this site relates to railways, and the HS2 plan is the one rail-related scheme of this size.

    I suspect you might have noticed the controversy surrounding, eg, the third runway at Heathrow?

    By the way, do you really think that things which aren't easily quantifiable are ipso facto less important?
     
  27. DynamicSpirit

    DynamicSpirit Established Member

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    I'm very strongly pro-HS2, and would be appalled if HS2 does get scrapped. But this does seem a sensible move - especially with the opt-out about cost-escalations. If there is any possibility at all of HS2 not going ahead, I would imagine one of the last things you want is to destroy pieces of ancient Woodland, which I'm guessing (though I'm not an expert) would be impossible to like-for-like replace - for what would turn out to be no good reason.
     
  28. DarloRich

    DarloRich Veteran Member

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    agreed - that and eco greeny claptrap.
     
  29. PeterC

    PeterC Established Member

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    I know of areas that have been felled in the 19th century and allowed to regrow that are classified as "ancient".
     
  30. Mogster

    Mogster Member

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    I thought the “ancient woodland” tag was usually applied to trees that existed since before 1600.

    It’s around that time that we started to run out of trees and began planting artificial forestry.
     

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