Why are people opposed to HS2? (And other HS2 discussion)

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camflyer

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A HS2 stop at Heathrow would have been nice but I can understand why in terms of cost/benefit it was dropped.

The Crossrail and the Western and Southern access schemes will all improve rail connectivity at LHR and offer a bigger benefit than HS2. Anyone on HS2 will only be a one stop connection with OOC.
 
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The Ham

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That’s if OOC has fast line platforms on the GWML, of course.
Indeed, however such an improvement would provide a better connection to HS2 from quite a large area along the eastern part of the M4 corridor, as well as along much of the M3 and A3 corridors.

Charly there needs to be a limit on what HS2 provides as part of its scope, however I do hope that this is an enhancement which is added over time to maximise the benefits of HS2 (much like a link to the SW and electrification towards Cardiff/Bristol to improve journey options from there as well).
 

Noddy

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This comes down to deciding what the objectives of HS2 are. If the intention is to provide a realistic alternative to people using domestic air travel to access the Heathrow hub then an easy connection at Heathrow should be a priority. If there is no interest in achieving that kind of modal shift then the potential for connections at OOC may well be more valuable. The problem we have is the lack of clarity on what HS2 is trying to achieve, other than building additional capacity for some undefined purpose.
There are a number of very clear and key aims of HS2 including building additional capacity between London, the Midlands, Manchester, etc, relieving pressure on the existing WCML, reducing journey times and delivering a shift to low carbon transport. It’s not just ‘building capacity for some undefined purpose’.

While routing directly via Heathrow may add passengers from here and potentially reduce some internal flying most internal flights to Heathrow are for passengers transferring and it will still be easier to do this by flying because of baggage transfers etc. A route via Heathrow would also dis-benefit everyone travelling to/from London as it will result in longer journey times. That means they are less likely to shift from flying to London City Airport (generally not used for international connections) or from their car, and encouraging that modal shift. Like everything else it’s about cost/benefit and juggling, as TheHam says, on a macro level. That’s why the aims are Macro level aims eg aim-shift people to low carbon travel, rather than aim-eliminating all internal Heathrow-Glasgow flights (for example). That aim (or objective) is too specific, and having a whole list of micro level aims like that would be impossible to achieve because as you add more they become incompatible with each other.
 
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class26

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On Radio 4`s Today programme just now (08.00) they are announcing that HS2 look`s highly likely to get the nod. The Chancellor has now got behind it apparently.
 

Meerkat

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On Radio 4`s Today programme just now (08.00) they are announcing that HS2 look`s highly likely to get the nod. The Chancellor has now got behind it apparently.
More importantly it is saying that Javid is behind it after reading the Treasury analysis.
The Treasury hate spending money, so if they think the numbers add up it’s difficult for the “it’s too expensive” people to win.
 

RLBH

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Not that it will ever happen but would be nice to have construction start at 2 ends, one from Leeds going south and one of London to Birmingham.
Ironically, it quite often happens that the government makes a project later and more expensive to save money. Thanks to the wonders of in-year capital spending budgets, it's often preferable to spend £2 billion a year for 10 years than to spend £3 billion a year for five years...
 

Roy Badami

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There are a number of very clear and key aims of HS2 including building additional capacity between London, the Midlands, Manchester, etc, relieving pressure on the existing WCML, reducing journey times and delivering a shift to low carbon transport. It’s not just ‘building capacity for some undefined purpose’.
Not just relieving pressure on the WCML. The ECML, too, as not only will it serve Leeds, but it will become the main route to Edinburgh. And it serves Sheffield, so it relieves pressure on the MML. All of which will free up capacity for local services, which will be needed to enable the modal shift from road to rail that will be needed in order to reduce our greenhouse emissions.

Yes, I watched the video that was posted here a few days back :) I was always in favour of HS2, but I didn't really realise before watching that just how important it is.
 

Robertj21a

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Not just relieving pressure on the WCML. The ECML, too, as not only will it serve Leeds, but it will become the main route to Edinburgh. And it serves Sheffield, so it relieves pressure on the MML. All of which will free up capacity for local services, which will be needed to enable the modal shift from road to rail that will be needed in order to reduce our greenhouse emissions.

Yes, I watched the video that was posted here a few days back :) I was always in favour of HS2, but I didn't really realise before watching that just how important it is.
You still think it will get to Leeds......

:E
 

Grumpy Git

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Javid has to get behind it. You don't get millions of pounds in donations to fight an election without a nice big contract at the end of it.

What a pity that there are no UK businesses capable of supplying the rolling stock anymore. I think we can blame Major for that little oversight.

God help us.
 

MarkyT

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Javid has to get behind it. You don't get millions of pounds in donations to fight an election without a nice big contract at the end of it.

What a pity that there are no UK businesses capable of supplying the rolling stock anymore. I think we can blame Major for that little oversight.

God help us.
What are 'UK companies' today in global capitalism though? Even if brass plaques are affixed to UK HQ buildings it doesn't mean the shareholders are predominantly British, or the workforce mainly based here. The best we can hope for is the order is sufficiently large that a manufacturer finds it economic to set up a new assembly plant in UK for the order or uses an established one.
 

Grumpy Git

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What are 'UK companies' today in global capitalism though? Even if brass plaques are affixed to UK HQ buildings it doesn't mean the shareholders are predominantly British, or the workforce mainly based here. The best we can hope for is the order is sufficiently large that a manufacturer finds it economic to set up a new assembly plant in UK for the order or uses an established one.
I couldn't give a chuff about the shareholders, I want the manufacturing jobs here and any profits taxed in the UK, not some other country, or god forbid a tax haven.
 

HSTEd

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Hope they just get on with it, finally. Next time, maybe we should get the Chinese to build any new lines...
Will we permit them to take the usual route in dealing with dissent?
(To dissapear the ringleaders as an example?)

And do we want huge viaducts that like to fall down?

Any future lines should simply be built in tunnels, save for the stations.
The extra engineering costs are easily offset by the more limited potential for runaway cost growth and public outcry.
 

Bald Rick

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I couldn't give a chuff about the shareholders, I want the manufacturing jobs here and any profits taxed in the UK, not some other country, or god forbid a tax haven.
Like, say, Hitachi Rail Ltd., a U.K. company, headquartered in the U.K., that makes trains in the U.K., with profits taxed in the U.K. (to the tune of £36m last year) ?
 

The Ham

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The support of the chancellor of HS2, because of the lack of a viable alternative highlights how badly those who are opposed to HS2 have done at providing a thought through option to allow HS2 to be cancelled.
 

tasky

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If OOC is considered adequate as an interchange for people to get to Heathrow for onward travel, then why wouldn't Heathrow be an adequate interchange for people to get to OOC for onward travel?
Heathrow is on a spur of Crossrail with a much less frequent service than OOC (six trains per hour compared to 12 - quite important when it's about interchange) and quite a lot further out of London (Ealing Broadway, which is closer than OOC will be, is currently 26 minutes to Heathrow on TfL Rail).

So for passengers going to destinations in London on Crossrail it's not as good an option, with journeys to Crossrail destinations potentially as much as 35-40 minutes slower. I think you might also end up overloading Heathrow's Crossrail branch with passengers who had nothing to do with the airport.

Additionally, the majority of passengers getting off at OOC as it stands won't actually be going there but to another station, so passengers getting off at Heathrow would have to change twice? I don't have hard figures but I would guess there will be more passengers going to all other stations than to Heathrow, even if it is a big attraction point.

And would OOC station even exist if the line went via Heathrow? Two interchanges might be overkill and the Overground at Old Oak Common Lane is planned to be across the road, not actually in the station.

I'm not saying don't run it via Heathrow (there are other advantages, like the possibility of AirRail integrated which we'd have to weigh up) but as an interchange it's got significant disadvantages compared to OOC I think.
 
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Grumpy Git

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Like, say, Hitachi Rail Ltd., a U.K. company, headquartered in the U.K., that makes trains in the U.K., with profits taxed in the U.K. (to the tune of £36m last year) ?
Yes, that is a good example, but with the amount of new trains ordered in recent history, there ought to be more than the odd manufacturer here.
 

Roy Badami

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The support of the chancellor of HS2, because of the lack of a viable alternative highlights how badly those who are opposed to HS2 have done at providing a thought through option to allow HS2 to be cancelled.
Perhaps. But I also think the proponents of HS2 have done a very bad job of explaining its benefits
 

TrafficEng

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The support of the chancellor of HS2, because of the lack of a viable alternative highlights how badly those who are opposed to HS2 have done at providing a thought through option to allow HS2 to be cancelled.
Not really. What it shows is what nearly everyone already knew. The point of no return with HS2 happened at least 5 years ago.

The latest review was just about backside covering so when the programme slips by a few more years and the out-turn cost reaches £200bn, the politicians will be able to say they had no choice but to proceed and that was what the experts were telling them to do.

The real learning point from this is that every big rail scheme from now on will be that bit harder to get underway - because governments will be in no doubt that whatever figure is mentioned at the start is a massive underestimate, and having aligned themselves to a scheme backing out of it later becomes impossible to do.

HS2 phase 1 will go ahead in the form it is currently planned - but not because of the absence of an alternative technical option.

It will happen because there is no political alternative. HS2's biggest fans need to reflect on that because it will have consequences for phase 2 and beyond.
 

TrafficEng

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There are a number of very clear and key aims of HS2 including building additional capacity between London, the Midlands, Manchester, etc, relieving pressure on the existing WCML, reducing journey times and delivering a shift to low carbon transport. It’s not just ‘building capacity for some undefined purpose’.
We've probably got a very different take on what 'very clear and key' means then. The points you mention are vague aspirations. What does "relieving pressure" mean? Does it mean fewer trains making life easier for the signallers and track maintenance managers, or does it mean additional trains so passengers are more likely to get a seat? If there are going to be more trains where (as a member of the public) can I see a copy of the plans for how the new services will operate?

As for shifting to low carbon transport - how is this going to be achieved? The next part of your post seems to suggest very little impact on domestic aviation, so where is the carbon reduction going to come from? More to the point, is building HS2 the best way of reducing carbon in transport, or is it just CO2-wash to convince people the scheme is a good idea?

While routing directly via Heathrow may add passengers from here and potentially reduce some internal flying most internal flights to Heathrow are for passengers transferring and it will still be easier to do this by flying because of baggage transfers etc.
Completely agree. Which is why claims HS2 will reduce domestic flying need to be taken with a big pinch of salt. The convenience factor is way up at the top of most people's list of issues when it comes to choice of travel mode. It should also be noted that if airlines continue to operate internal flights to Heathrow (and Gatwick) for people making onward connections then they are likely to continue to have seats available for passengers needing a domestic only flight - possibly quite cheap ones. How will HS2 compete against this?

A route via Heathrow would also dis-benefit everyone travelling to/from London as it will result in longer journey times. That means they are less likely to shift from flying to London City Airport (generally not used for international connections) or from their car, and encouraging that modal shift.
Not sure what you mean about London City Airport. Of the ten most popular routes in 2019 72% of passengers were on international routes, 22% on mainland UK routes (Edinburgh/Glasgow) and 6% to/from Belfast (rail not being an option here). Given London City flights typically carry a premium fare over other airports it isn't clear who might use HS2 to get to the airport from Birmingham or further north. Surely it would make more sense to take a direct flight from the nearest suitable regional airport?

Is there any evidence that HS2 will directly achieve modal shift from car to train? If so, how? What disincentives will be applied to car use to encourage people to go by train instead?

Like everything else it’s about cost/benefit and juggling, as TheHam says, on a macro level. That’s why the aims are Macro level aims eg aim-shift people to low carbon travel, rather than aim-eliminating all internal Heathrow-Glasgow flights (for example). That aim (or objective) is too specific, and having a whole list of micro level aims like that would be impossible to achieve because as you add more they become incompatible with each other.
Sure. That is what I'm saying, your final paragraph is somewhat contradicting your first one.

There are lots of macro level claims about what HS2 could achieve, but at present it is about delivering additional capacity for some undefined purpose. Until there are specific proposals - such as running new trains on WCML - the potential of HS2 is just theoretical.

Someone else might come along and decide the capacity on WCML is better used for increasing rail freight, since getting lorries of our roads is in some ways easier than getting people off them. If that happens the people living along the bypassed WCML aren't going to be so happy with the result. So what assurance can you give them that HS2 will improve their lives?

For me, 'very clear and key' means having a specific plan. Not just a list of aspirations. As the guy on the video posted the other day was saying - there is no plan.
 

Horizon22

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Didn't see this posted yet: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51319261

HS2: Government review 'advises against cancelling' project

The government's official review into HS2 "strongly advises against cancelling" the project, the BBC can reveal.

It also says only building one section of the line which will link southern and northern England "doesn't make sense".

The BBC has read the full and final version of the report, which was led by former HS2 chairman Douglas Oakervee.

The government will announce its final decision on the scheme next month.

HS2 is designed to link London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds, cutting overcrowding on the railways and helping to rebalance the UK's economy.

But the project has faced criticism from both Labour and Conservative MPs for being over budget and behind schedule.

In the summer, the government commissioned an independent review on whether it should go ahead - although opponents later warned it would be a whitewash.
 

The Ham

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Not really. What it shows is what nearly everyone already knew. The point of no return with HS2 happened at least 5 years ago.

The latest review was just about backside covering so when the programme slips by a few more years and the out-turn cost reaches £200bn, the politicians will be able to say they had no choice but to proceed and that was what the experts were telling them to do.

The real learning point from this is that every big rail scheme from now on will be that bit harder to get underway - because governments will be in no doubt that whatever figure is mentioned at the start is a massive underestimate, and having aligned themselves to a scheme backing out of it later becomes impossible to do.

HS2 phase 1 will go ahead in the form it is currently planned - but not because of the absence of an alternative technical option.

It will happen because there is no political alternative. HS2's biggest fans need to reflect on that because it will have consequences for phase 2 and beyond.
In which case what have the rail experts missed which should have been given as an alternitve scheme?

5 years ago there had been very little spend on HS2, even 3 years ago there hadn't been very much. However given how much had been said by those opposed to HS2 they have said very little about what we should do instead.

It's things like smart timetabling (but no details of what that looks like)
We need to travel less (yes we do, but we may well do that and still end up using rail more)
That broadband/working from home will do away with travel (yet the faster broadband gets and the more we work from home the more rail travel has increased)
We need to reopen closed railways (as if opening a rural branchline would help with mainline capacity, if anything it would mean that we needed HS2 all the more)
We need to invest in the existing railway network (as if we hadn't been, we've spent ~£30bn in the last decade)
We need longer trains (as if we haven't, during CP5 and CP6 there were, at the start of CP6, 5,000 new coaches from rolling stock orders, since then there's been even more ordered for delivery during CP6, including EMR and Avanti)
We should build a pair of new lines for the WCML (which is exactly what HS2 is doing, is just not having to blitz through towns and cities which are along side the WCML)
We need to reopen the GC line (for the Southern party of HS2 we effectively are, just with a better alignment, with good drainage and using Euston as Marylebone doesn't have the space for extra trains)
We need to upgrade the Chiltern Line (we do, but that's as well as not instead of HS2, so that the local train services benefit)

I'm sure that there are others, they all make good sound bites - however they ask fall short when looked at in much detail.

It comes back to the passenger rail growth, HS2 was based on doubling of passenger numbers between 2009 and 2037 (growth rate of 2.0). It why I keep highlighting this, as if the the expected growth had fallen short then we could do something smaller.

Between 2009 and 2018 (so just 9/28 years) we should have seen a growth rate of 1.25, however rail growth between London and the regions which benefit from HS2 has seen a growth rate of 1.5, with some regions like the West Midlands and the North West seeing a growth rate of 1.7.

As such the average growth rate across all the region's is 4.6% per year compared to the expected 2.5%.

Now whilst there's been some lower growth years of late the fact that we are well head of the curve means that it is likely to have little impact. Anyway those lower growth figures are included in the 4.6% figure!

It should also be noted that even if we fell to 2.5% for the next 9 years and then 0% growth for the next 9 years we'd still only be a short distance away from the growth rate of 2.0 by being at 1.86. However that would mean that having built HS2 phase 1 that it had 0 impact on passenger numbers. Which is unlikely, as any other time there's been improvements to capacity you are rail growth increase.

If that rate of growth continues we could see the passenger growth factor hit 3.5. Now obviously this would have to slow down as we run out of capacity, however it shows that actually we could need to build HS2 and do all of the alternatives and build another North South line just to keep up with rail growth.

View media item 3340
(The latest data is due out shortly, based on the by TOC data I'd expect to see yet more growth).

Whilst there are problems with the way HS2 has been run and it had done badly on explaining why it's needed, that doesn't mean that something isn't needed. Given all of the above is likely that you'd end up with something fairly similar to HS2 being proposed.

If you think about it, if you are accepting that we need more capacity by building a new pair of lines how would you go about doing so?

Let's set out some key goals, and feel free to include others:
- link between major cities, so that's likely (as a bare minimum) to include London, Birmingham, Manchester
- you'd want to see which other cities you could also link to, which could include cities such as Edinburgh, Newcastle, Liverpool, Cardiff and the like, however you're not going to be able to create a single scheme (without it having a even larger budget and looks like rebuilding the entire intercity network) which links every city with a new line
- you then look at your core cities and see what other cities you can link to, even if that's by means of services and not track
- you then look at a route, there's only so many ways to get between London, Birmingham and Manchester and it looks broadly like HS2 without going much or of your way.
- such a route should avoid impact on people, so probably best to bypass major towns, especially if you can provide extra capacity to those locations by using the released train paths and reduced long distance passenger numbers on the other remaining services
- such a route should avoid sites which are important to nature, however you're unlikely to miss all of them, even if you slowed down to 30mph
- the likes of Leeds and York are likely to need to be fairly key points to serve, given the very slow East West services you'd need to build a connection to them, however in doing so you'd need to ensure that speeds are fairly high so that it doesn't take longer than the existing services given that you'd also want to serve Birmingham
- you'd want to have some connections between all the cities served, however there's a limit on how much you can do this (again without rebuilding the entire intercity network) and so many are likely to have to continue to rely on existing services, however this is likely to result in Birmingham being at or near the centre of the network

As I've said feel free to add others (I'm sure there's plenty I've missed) but it does indicate that something similar to HS2 would likely be the result whoever you asked to look at it.
 

nidave

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We've probably got a very different take on what 'very clear and key' means then. The points you mention are vague aspirations. What does "relieving pressure" mean?
If you still don't get it, I doubt you ever will. It's quite simple but as you refuse to take the word of those who know a lot more then there isn't much more that can be said.
 

The Ham

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Completely agree. Which is why claims HS2 will reduce domestic flying need to be taken with a big pinch of salt. The convenience factor is way up at the top of most people's list of issues when it comes to choice of travel mode. It should also be noted that if airlines continue to operate internal flights to Heathrow (and Gatwick) for people making onward connections then they are likely to continue to have seats available for passengers needing a domestic only flight - possibly quite cheap ones. How will HS2 compete against this?
There's two keep points, rail has already been having an impact on the number of air passengers, with flights between Manchester and London being significantly reduced since the upgrade to the WCML.

The second point is that the cost per seat of HS2 is likely to much reduced compared to existing trains, allowing ticket prices to be lower.

As an example the TOC' costs are broadly 1/3 train leasing, 1/3 staff costs and 1/3 other costs. If we look at the number of coaches needed to run the London to Manchester trains these are a mixture of 9+11 coach trains. Even on 9+9+11 coach trains each hour (however it's likely to be a few more 11 coach trains than this allows for due to the mix of the fleet) where it takes two hours each way with a half turn around at each end (5 hour round trip time) this needs 145 coaches.

Now with HS2 you need more coaches per train to get 400m long trains. If we assume 25m coaches that's 16 coaches. With no journey time savings that would clearly mean that you'd need more coaches to run the same service. However that's not the case with HS2 is it?

London to Manchester will be reduced to 1 hour each way with a half hour turn around at each end that gives us a round trip time of 3 hours, that then requires 144 coaches.

As such you've got a much larger train with many more seats for broadly the same cost as you have currently for the existing trains.

That then means that 1/3 of the costs haven't increased even though the number of seats on a train have doubled (9 coach 390 had 469 seats and a 11 coach 390 had 589 seats, that totals 1,048 Vs the expected 1,100 on a HS2 train).

Now if we look at the staff costs then for drivers they currently take 5 hours to do the round trip, with HS2 that falls to 3 hours, that means that each driver can run more services, this then reduces your staff costs.

Likewise guards and whilst you may wish to have more catering staff due to the size of the trains these would be mostly paid for by sales. As such you're staff costs are going to be lower than they currently are. However again that would be for trains with double the capacity.
 

Noddy

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We've probably got a very different take on what 'very clear and key' means then. The points you mention are vague aspirations. What does "relieving pressure" mean? Does it mean fewer trains making life easier for the signallers and track maintenance managers, or does it mean additional trains so passengers are more likely to get a seat? If there are going to be more trains where (as a member of the public) can I see a copy of the plans for how the new services will operate?

As for shifting to low carbon transport - how is this going to be achieved? The next part of your post seems to suggest very little impact on domestic aviation, so where is the carbon reduction going to come from? More to the point, is building HS2 the best way of reducing carbon in transport, or is it just CO2-wash to convince people the scheme is a good idea?



Completely agree. Which is why claims HS2 will reduce domestic flying need to be taken with a big pinch of salt. The convenience factor is way up at the top of most people's list of issues when it comes to choice of travel mode. It should also be noted that if airlines continue to operate internal flights to Heathrow (and Gatwick) for people making onward connections then they are likely to continue to have seats available for passengers needing a domestic only flight - possibly quite cheap ones. How will HS2 compete against this?



Not sure what you mean about London City Airport. Of the ten most popular routes in 2019 72% of passengers were on international routes, 22% on mainland UK routes (Edinburgh/Glasgow) and 6% to/from Belfast (rail not being an option here). Given London City flights typically carry a premium fare over other airports it isn't clear who might use HS2 to get to the airport from Birmingham or further north. Surely it would make more sense to take a direct flight from the nearest suitable regional airport?

Is there any evidence that HS2 will directly achieve modal shift from car to train? If so, how? What disincentives will be applied to car use to encourage people to go by train instead?



Sure. That is what I'm saying, your final paragraph is somewhat contradicting your first one.

There are lots of macro level claims about what HS2 could achieve, but at present it is about delivering additional capacity for some undefined purpose. Until there are specific proposals - such as running new trains on WCML - the potential of HS2 is just theoretical.

Someone else might come along and decide the capacity on WCML is better used for increasing rail freight, since getting lorries of our roads is in some ways easier than getting people off them. If that happens the people living along the bypassed WCML aren't going to be so happy with the result. So what assurance can you give them that HS2 will improve their lives?

For me, 'very clear and key' means having a specific plan. Not just a list of aspirations. As the guy on the video posted the other day was saying - there is no plan.
Here’s how future timetables might work:
https://assets.publishing.service.g...s2-released-capacity-study-summary-report.pdf

Why does it matter that 77% of the 10 most popular routes at London City Airport are international flights? If you have stats to show that, for example 77% of people on domestic flights to that airport are transferring to international flights then please share.

But as I understand (pleased to be proved wrong with published stats) most don’t (on a macro level why would you fly from Glasgow-Amsterdam via London with the time penalty a change of flight?). Both the domestic and international passengers are using the airport to access London itself. As your stats show most domestic travellers using the airport are flying to/from Scottish Airports. It’s those passengers that on a macro level are being targeted-as Edinburgh and Glasgow journey times reduce air travel becomes less competitive as every one knows. If you start creating a longer route via Heathrow on a macro level those passengers continue to use City Airport.

How many people use Heathrow purely domestically? It’s only really these people that you would have the potential to shift from air to rail. People using Heathrow to transfer (eg Glasgow to Heathrow to Delhi) are unlikely to shift to rail on a macro level for the domestic part of their journey because of baggage transfers, ticketing etc.

Like wise there is plenty of evidence that people will shift from car to rail at a macro level due to reduced journey times. Adding a Heathrow loop dis-benefits this shift as well as the shift away from London City air travel.

On a more general point while you have a right to disagree with research here is some anyway:
http://www.greengauge21.net/wp-content/uploads/Carbon-and-HS2-GG21-flyer.pdf

and more recently

https://www.iea.org/reports/the-future-of-rail
 
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