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Over-egging the Pudding

This is taken from Over-egging the pudding by Peter Delow from his blog HS2 and the Environment.

In this blog I will continue my dissection of Justine Greening’s statement on HS2 to the House of Commons on Tuesday 10th January 2012. I intend to look further at the second sentence of the quote that I previously examined in my blog Economical with the truth? (posted 28 Jan 2012). This sentence is:

“In truth, they could add only limited further capacity; they could not offer the step change in performance that passengers wish and need to see.”

So what is this “step change” that we can look forward to if HS2 becomes a reality?

Well HS2 will certainly offer a step change in capacity. In my blog Too much of a good thing?, which was posted on the Stop HS2 website on 27 October 2011 (here) I calculated that the number of seats available on HS2 trains between London and Birmingham and in the reverse direction would be nearly 27 million a year when it opens in 2026 (or whenever).

This looks an awful lot when compared with current passenger demand. In the survey year 2009/10 the number of passengers using either Birmingham New Street or Birmingham International for journeys to or from London Euston was around 3.1 million. So the operator of HS2 will need to persuade all of these passengers to transfer to its trains and then find another ten million souls willing to use it in order to get HS2 even half full.

Not a very feasible proposition is it? It looks like HS2 trains will be HS1 déjà vu with substantially empty carriages with the odd passengers dotted about.

Now Birmingham Airport may be able to help, if it can secure the role of an extra London airport that it appears to be seeking – sorry did somebody at the back mention Boris Island? However for Birmingham Airport’s master plan to really have legs it is surely essential for Heathrow also to be connected to HS2, to allow rapid inter-airport transfers, and the Heathrow high speed spur does not appear to be high on the priority list at present. Even if some passengers can be persuaded to use Birmingham rather than Heathrow for long-haul flights, will this really significantly contribute to the extra ten million passengers that HS2 will be looking for?

The other “step change” that the Transport Secretary may have been referring to…. For the rest of this post, please check Peter’s blog, at HS2 and the Environment.

(Ed. :- See the latest Birmingham Post articles about Birmingham airport – Transport secretary pledges to ‘remove barriers’ to Birmingham Airport expansion – and Boris Island – Fears for Birmingham Airport plans after Osborne hints at Boris Island backing

PS: The Hansard transcript of the announcement and subsequent questions by MPs may be found here.

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4 comments to “Over-egging the Pudding”
  1. Or under egging the pudding?:

    “Meanwhile, new official figures analysed by The Sunday Telegraph show that two million homes are expected to be built by 2020 to meet demand fuelled by a massive population rise.
    Most of the growth is predicted to take place outside major cities and will see England’s population rise by 4.4 million — the equivalent of more than half the population of London.”

    • There is much debate on the various blogs about the source of the population rise which we don’t need to go into here.

      However there are many brown field sites available and also homes unoccupied. If new cities are going to be built the last place you should put them is into small spaces between existing cities. Plugging 100,000 homes into the gap between Coventry and Birmingham , and concreting over the Forest of Arden in the process , would effectively create a 40 mile sprawl from Walsgrave to Wolverhampton and would be a massive act of vandalism.

  2. Despite all the effort and time expended on trying to get hs2 stopped the govt is determined to go ahead and spend borrowed money on a white elephant despite collapsing business and environmental cases
    Now is the time for MP’s along the route to band together and threaten to resign the whip and if that doesn’t achieve a result they should resign en masse

    If they don’t we should step up pressure on them in any legal way possible

    • It would be nice to think that the “government” elected (sort of) by the people would actually listen to people’s concerns whether they be “”NIMBYs” or not.
      However the current encumbents seem to be hell bent on carrying out a tick box exercise (what is the point of a “consultation” if you then choose to ignore that the greater majority were concerned and not in favour?) so that should anyone ask they can say that they carried out all the legal requirements.
      I have yet to figure out why they are so determined to push this scheme through with such fervour as none of the suggested “reasons” or “cases” seem to hang around long enough before there is another one presented as an afterthought. However given that I shall never understand this ill-conceived and poorly thought out project to chuck a shed load of money down the drain, let me just say that whilst John has a good idea on the face of it, it will not ever happen because none of them will have the backbone to stand up and be counted as being against this farce.
      The reason? Well I believe that Cherryl Gillan said that she would resign if…..and yet when push came to shove she did not as it is “better to argue the case from within the government than from outside”. So I think that most if not all of the MPs having constituencies along the route are unlikely to want to lose access to the gravy train by resigning the whip. Talk about vested interest!
      One last concern….if some of the woolly minded and vague answers being given to contributors to this site by HS2 Ltd are an indication of how well thought out and how well it is going to be constructed……..hmmmm!

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