Merry Christmas Trainspotters

This was published last year on HS2 Buzz: if you do build a train, we’d love to see pictures on Twitter or Facebook #stophs2 .

prototype1.5-300x213As it is the season of goodwill to all men and women (though I bet there aren’t many women trainspotters) and seeing that the HS2 project has been getting a bit of a caning recently, I would like to take the opportunity to give a Christmas gift to the small number of ‘die hard’ HS2 enthusiasts, scattered thinly about the country.

While most of us would be delighted to see the back of this badly thought out, poorly managed, mega-wonga consuming, half-baked, project, it is clear that there are a small number of people, that will be terribly upset when it finally dies.

South Heath Against HS2 would like to proffer an olive branch, in the same spirit of camaraderie that saw German and British soldiers playing football in No Man’s Land in 1914, by giving a gift of an HS2 for you to keep and treasure.

I know that it will be a disappointment not to actually sit on a bridge with your sarnies and flask, ready to write down “saw HS2 today” in your book, but I hope it will go some way towards lessening the pain.

You can download all of the ‘cut out and build’ sections of the “North South Train” (formerly HS2) using the links below:

Cutout train - Politicians armoured carriage

The Politicians armoured carriage

Cutout train southbound carriage

The Southbound Carriage

Cutout train - northbound carriage

The Northbound Carriage

Cutout train - Scottish carriage

The Scottish carriage

Cutout train - The Chinese Carriage

The Chinese Carriage

Cutout train - engine

HS2 – The Saviour of the North

These build into an exiting model train to keep you very busy, right through Christmas, cutting out all the little wheels and suchlike.

Before you ask, “yes I did build one”, I had to… otherwise I wouldn’t know if it would construct properly. Just in case someone actually did want to make their own HS2.

With name changes (HS2 to North South Train) and then the addition of Dave’s Chinese mates there were prototypes, the one I built was number 1.5.

Feel for me… I will never have these hours in my life again and it is all due to HS2!

Incidentally there is still a, yet to be created, “carriage 5″ (Chinese is actually carriage 6) should anyone out there want to customise it. You can download a template here.

Joking aside, may I wish everyone who has followed my scribblings, on Buzz, Facebook and Twitter, whether friend or foe of HS2, a very Merry Christmas!

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19 comments on “Merry Christmas Trainspotters
  1. Is it not significant that a number of those Members of Parliament identified represent constituencies through which the line is planned to run, or are close to the route?
    Why, when so many of them have spoken and campaigned against the line, do they now seem to think that to vote against is not worthwhile?

    We have to remember that M.P.s represent both their area and their party…and above all they are not there merely as delegates to lobby on any one single issue.

    With several of these Members having stated their intention to leave the Commons and not contest the next election, it cannot be claimed that they are fearful of falling foul of the Whips by not supporting the policies of the party leaderships.

    Could it be that Members have come to recognise the inevitability of the onward progress of the scheme?

    And if that is the case, then perhaps they believe their efforts ,time and the public finances would be better spent on trying to improve the plans and to safeguard, protect and where necessary compensate those affected.

    If the campaign turns on its allies,then it will only further alienate potential supporters and stoke up fear and anxiety among the vulnerable living along the route.

  2. The idea of HS2 is right but then the goodly people of Londonland (includes Home Countries) are of the NIMBY persuasion and will talk about it for the next twenty years before a centimetre of track is laid!! England is being left behind in the progress of High speed Rail as the only and correct alternative to fast,efficient and economic rail travel for business and leisure activities throughout the world.

    Even the gas gussling car obsessed Americans now see the benefits of this mode of transport and are investing heavily in the re-birth of their rail network.
    So trainspotters, update your manuals and notebooks HS something or other is coming soon to a route near you!! Oops, sorry england, but everywhere else!!

    • Norman, the idea of HS2 is OK but it’s in the wrong country! HS trains are suited to a large land mass e.g. Europe & USA. It seems that, like Cameron, HS2’s proponents think we ought to have ultra high-speed trains just for the sake of it, it has to make sense, around 60% of the population say it doesn’t and they don’t want it.
      We already have HS trains in this country, HS2 remains a folly of immense proportions.

      • Norman, the idea of HS2 is OK but it’s in the wrong country! HS trains are suited to a large land mass e.g. Europe & USA

        Last time I looked in an atlas the British Isles formed part of Europe?

        Under construction right now is the LGV SEA; approx 302 km of new dedicated High Speed track between Tours and Bordeaux, extending the current High Speed line from its Paris origin. The approx total distance from Paris to Bordeaux is 565 km.

        The distance between Leeds and London is approx 315 km – the total distance from London to Edinburgh is approx 650 km – now @John, what were you saying about High Speed Train services being suited to a large land mass?

        • Exactly. HS2 is a good idea on principal, but I don’t like the way it is being carried out. It has worked in European countries across similar distances that we have in the UK. The main problem I think comes from the large population density of the UK, meaning more people will be affected, and the large aversion towards a project as big as this. HSR done well has been a massive boon for countries who have implemented it successfully (e.g. Japan), so we have to follow the way they have done it. Saying there is no business case or environmental case is total rubbish, and if that were the case it would be a first in the history of HSR. The one that has some element of truth is the “no money to pay for it”, which is why it must be done cheaper and quicker.

          • The one that has some element of truth is the “no money to pay for it”, which is why it must be done cheaper and quicker.

            When it comes to High Speed Rail construction this is an almost uniquely British conundrum @ Roshan.

            Here’s why;
            • The UK’s rain network has a historical legacy of constrained gauge. If you’ve ever travelled on a TGV, ICE or AVE train on the continental mainland, you might have noticed distinctly more room – Second Class seats appear to have the same room as First Class in the UK – that’s down to UIC GC gauge as standard on the continent. New HS lines (anywhere in Europe) are constructed to UIC GC gauge to offer interoperability – which in short means train sets can operate seamlessly across borders within Europe. Europe includes the UK of course – a fact sadly lost on some readers here? On the continent this UIC GC gauge means a new HS line can finish short of the city centre and seamlessly integrate back into the existing network for the last few km. Not so in the UK where new lines must be constructed all the way to the rail terminus – those last few km of track are hellish expensive because as you point out, Britain’s cities are densely populated – the answer of course deep bore tunnelling – when you depart from St. Pancras you travel less than a km before diving under the city into deep bore tunnel, which costs approx six times more per km than a surface borne pathway. That factor alone has probably added £10bn extra to the forecast costs of HS2 (phases I & II)
            • The activities of groups such as STOPHS2, HS2AA etc. who understand the cost implications set out above and see it as a potential trojan horse tactic to torpedo the entire project – the rationale is simple, drive costs up to a certain tipping point and political support will evaporate. This was the overall tactic behind the campaign to extend the original tunnel out of Old Oak Common past Ruislip and now we see it again with localised campaigns to extend it still further – how often have you seen a comment along the lines of “put the entire thing in a tunnel” or words to that effect – made in the full knowledge that this would render the entire project unfeasible – so job done, problem solved – at least until the project is resurrected somewhere else (because the basic long term capacity problem will never go away) but nowhere near them!

            • Of course another reason to “put the entire thing in a tunnel” is to preserve as much of our dwindling countryside as is possible…but that does not fit with your view does it Peter?

            • Hi peter

              Happy new year….

              Just thought I’d comment on one aspect of your interesting post.

              When HS2 Ltd announced their decision to tunnel all the way past Ruislip from Old Oak Common, they stated that their decision was partly motivated by a net cost saving.

              The sheer density of development along the original surface route was calculated to involve so much demolition and disruption with road closures on busy commuter routes, the attendant cost of which by way of mitigation, congestion and compensation was deemed to have been prohibitive.

              This is in agreement with your point about densely populated areas around city termini. But of course London is not only densely populated, it also has sprawling suburbs. Under those circumstances, deep bore tunnels can be cheaper on balance.

              No agenda just pragmatism.

          • I agree Roshan there are problems with the current plans. Apart from the vast cost I would cite a failure to follow existing transport routes, not enough stations, a failure to link in with either of London Heathrow or Luton airports, and ( may I be forgiven for saying it ) no HS1 / HS2 link.

            However I disagree with you on a couple of other points. It’s not rubbish to say there is no environmental or business case.

            On the environmental point it is worth bearing in mind that the Green Party oppose HS2 precisely because it will not lead to significant modal shift. Phillip Hammond ( remember him ) once said that HS2 was broadly carbon neutral.

            There have been several attempts to produce an economic case but none that make any sense or stand up to any sort of scrutiny. If you have one I would like to see it please.

            Any economic argument will surely be weakened further if oil prices remain below $ 50 a barrel. Maybe that will prove to be temporary but there are two arguments to suggest that could go on for some considerable time. Firstly the world is lurching slowly towards another recession ( check out the latest German data ) and secondly the Saudis will not allow OPEC to lose market share to undercutting shale fuel.

        • What’s with the British “Isles” ? You’d have a few problems getting a directly train from Belfast or Dublin to Brussels or Dusseldorf.

          You may have forgotten there is no plan for a link between HS1 and HS2. Maybe it will come one day, maybe not, but for sure HS2 Ltd and the government put much less importance on linking in with the European rail network.

          The reason for that is quite simple. If for now we accept that 4 hours is the cut off point below which trains really win the unfortunate facts are :

          1. Most major train journeys within the UK take considerably less than 4 hours ( Glasgow / Edinburgh to London are the exceptions at 4.5 ) ,and

          2. Journeys from most of Britain to most of continental Europe would still take well over 4 hours even if there was ever an HS1 / HS2 link.

          Britain is on the periphery of Europe in a political sense but it is also on the periphery of Europe geographically.

          As for journeys within Britain please see my other post. Journeys between our major cities are already quicker than comparable journeys in our main European competitors.

        • Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit….
          I presume you have a terrible train service from London to Manchester, or maybe you think that technology won’t change business travel habits, I suggest you listen in to the Committee meetings at the House of Lords. On balance, rather like Cameron maybe you’re saying you just want to have a 225 mph train just for the hell of it…. we do already have HS trains in UK…. Demonstrate any good reason why we need more HS trains, you have failed so far.

          • John- Can you please quote “chapter and verse” and state exactly WHEN Mr. Cameron made this remark…”just for the hell of it” – or did you “just” make it up?

            • Cameron is on film, on a train, saying we have to have HS trains otherwise we would be falling behind Europe, this was shown on a Panorama-type programme a few months ago.
              He didn’t expand on why, just that we had to have them. If he was a Chairman of a plc, he would be laughed out of court….We’re not laughing, appalled at the waste of taxpayers’ money, and the increasing public debt.

          • @John
            Sorry that you find exposure to basic facts so tedious

            Please quit with the tenuous nonsense about definitions of what is / isn’t classed as High Speed Rail – they are irrelevant (and you know it)

            What is relevant is a long-term transport strategy to bring the UK rail network into the 21st century, transforming their status and appeal and providing the backbone for services capable of accommodating relentless increases in demand and a credible long term alternative to intra-European short-haul air travel

            • Last time I looked the railways here are operating in the 21st century….. the only bit of common sense you HAVE said is that we do need a long-term transport strategy, not an idea dreamed up by politicians with no public mandate. You have yet to comment on the existing train service from Manchester, is it that bad to justify north of £50bn.? Around 60% of the population don’t agree with you. What were you saying about nonsense?

          • @John
            Sorry if you find exposure to basic HS2 factoids so tedious

            Please ignore the tenuous nonsense about definitions of what is / isn’t classed as High Speed Rail – they are relevant (and they know it)

            What is of course much more relevant is a long-term transport strategy to bring the UK rail network into the 21st century, transforming its status and appeal and providing the backbone for services capable of accommodating relentless (sic) increases in demand and a credible long term alternative to intra-European short-haul air travel.

            Be sure the tunnel cannot take a relentless increase in demand for rail travel (to Italy, Spain, Germany etc etc) – it has a line each way designed mainly for a drive on car/truck ferry service to France – are they going to stop that?
            The HS2-HS1 link would not surmount this basic bottleneck – so build another tunnel?
            One day, I’ll get the hang of this copy and paste lark!

      • John’s point is completely valid.

        The main point about High Speed trains generally is surely to reduce journey times eg saving 3 hours off the previous journey time of 6 hours from Madrid to Barcelona. In the process shifting a large amount of traffic from air to rail.

        Cutting the London – Birmingham journey by 30 mins or the London – Manchester journey by something approaching 60 mins is nothing like as game changing. HS2 will do little to get people off the road and almost nothing to get people out of planes.

        It is only common sense that you can achieve more time savings in a larger land mass. If you take England, Wales and the bottom bit of Scotland ( the bit where anyone lives ) our land mass is :

        45 % of Germany’s area
        32 % of Spain’s area
        30 % of France’s area

        Furthermore in Britain a high proportion of the population lives in the relatively small “industrial corridor” roughly between Manchester and London.

        But the proof of the pudding is in the journey times :

        Even with TGV, Paris to Lyon is 1 hour 53 m — a longer
        journey than London to Birmingham by some margin and not that much quicker than London to Leeds or London to Manchester.

        The Paris to Marseille journey takes longer than London to Newcastle.

  3. Some of the MPs who did not oppose the Bill were the following. Will they be replaced in May 2015. Is this your communities voting choice:

    Nigel Adams (Selby & Ainsty)
    David Amess (Southend West)
    Tony Baldry (Banbury)
    Henry Bellingham (Norfolk North West)
    Richard Benyon (Newbury)
    Peter Bottomley (Worthing West)
    Fiona Bruce (Congleton)
    David Cameron (Witney)
    James Clappison (Hertsmere)
    Geoffrey Clifton-Brown (The Cotswolds)
    David Davis (Haltemprice & Howden)
    Caroline Dinenage (Gosport)
    Nadine Dorries (Bedfordshire Mid)
    Richard Drax (Dorset South)
    James Duddridge (Rochford & Southend East)
    Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley)
    Mark Garnier (Wyre Forest)
    Richard Graham (Gloucester)
    Chris Grayling (Epsom & Ewell)
    Dominic Grieve (beaconsfield)
    Chris Heaton-Harris (Daventry)
    Adam Holloway (Gravesham)
    Nick Hurd (Ruislip, Northwood & Pinner)
    Stewart Jackson (Peterborough)
    Bernard Jenkin (Harwich & Essex North)
    Jo Johnson (Orpington)
    Andrea Leadsom (Northamptonshire South)

    Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater & Somerset West)
    David Lidington (Aylesbury)
    Jonathan Lord (Woking)
    Anne McIntosh (Thirsk & Malton)
    Stephen McPartland (Stevenage)
    Anne Main (St Albans)
    Anne-Marie Morris (Newton Abbot)
    Sheryll Murray (Cornwall South East)
    Jesse Norman (Hereford & Herefordshire South)
    Stephen O’Brien (Eddisbury)
    Mark Pritchard (The Wrekin)
    Simon Reevell (Dewsbury)
    David Ruffley (Bury St Edmunds)
    Mark Simmonds (Boston & Skegness)
    Sir John Stanley (Tonbridge & Malling)
    Andrew Stephenson (Pendle)
    Gary Streeter (Devon South West)
    Robert Syms (Poole)
    Jeremy Wright (Kenilworth & Southam)

    Jim Cunningham (Coventry South)
    Frank Dobson (Holborn and St Pancras)
    Jim Dowd (Lewisham West and Penge)
    Natascha Engel (North East Derbyshire)
    Frank Field (Birkenhead)
    Kate Hoey (Vauxhall)
    Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North)
    John McDonnell (Hayes and Harlington)
    Madeleine Moon (Bridgend)
    Geoffrey Robinson (Coventry North West)
    Virendra Sharma (Ealing, Southall)
    Barry Sheerman (Huddersfield)
    Dennis Skinner (Bolsover)
    Joan Walley (Stoke-on-Trent North)
    Gordon Birtwistle (Burnley)
    Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland)
    Nicholas Clegg (Sheffield, Hallam)
    Tim Farron (Westmorland and Lonsdale)
    Andrew George (St Ives)
    Stephen Gilbert (St Austell and Newquay)
    Nick Harvey (North Devon)
    David Heath (Somerton and Frome)
    John Leech (Manchester, Withington)
    Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West)
    Bob Russell (Colchester)
    Adrian Sanders (Torbay)
    Jo Swinson (East Dunbartonshire)
    Mike Thornton (Eastleigh)
    John Thurso (Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross)
    David Ward (Bradford East)
    Roger Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire

  4. The Blight of Blighty.

    The Pinstripe Generals emerge from their Westminster bunker-their decision made. The time has come to set forth on their self righteous track:
    A Great War upon time and space declared to heel the “Divided Nation” and bring glory- no matter the cost.
    Hooray Henrys and Hi –bred Williams go hand in hand- rejoicing into the fray.
    Uncivil Engineers smile.

    Behind Whitehall lines plans are laid, tracks are drawn, positions bolstered.
    Whips are cracked, Companies formed and an army of Civil Servants assembled.
    Barbed Liars spin their webs outward from entrenched positions, and a choking, creeping rhetorical fog sent drifting across the land.

    The first Salvo lands:
    Payloads of realisation dawn,and the shrapnel of misery hits Home:
    We are Cannon fodder for the lines.
    Beauty, Heritage or Morality shall not to be spared,
    The motherland raped.

    No man’s land is safe in the face of this assault:
    Communities Shell Shocked, landscapes laid waste, lives destroyed, Billions lost.
    The itinerant troops with heavy machines relentlessly advance- pushing convoys of disruption, destruction, and despair to the front.
    Exceptional hardships are long to be endured-
    The ultimate price that must be paid for a greedy, impatient and misled few.

    This England –a land fit for compulsory purchase?
    I conscientiously object to this.

    Your Country needs you-
    To stop this madness.
    Stop HS2.

    Lest you forget.

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