What did Justine see on her HS1 trip?

Yesterday Justine Greening went on a trip to Kent to HS1: according to Civic Voice, it was to see what could be learned for HS2.

Stop HS2 founder, Penny Gaines, and other members of Stop HS2 have previously been on trips to HS1.

Motorway next to HS1

HS1 was designed to run along existing motorways

We don’t know exactly what Justine Greening saw or where she went in Kent, but these are some of the possibilities:

The news showed Greening on a train, possibly travelling to Ebbsfleet station in Kent (that’s where both the tours we went on started).

That’s the first difference of course: HS1 has several intermediate stations. The first phase of HS2 is significantly longer than HS1 but has no stations between London and Birmingham.

She may have seen the empty car parks around Ebbsfleet station: HS1 passenger numbers are a third of the original forecast, and only two thirds of the revised Department for Transport prediction from before HS1 was built.

Our trips were by coach, so that we could stop and look at the areas affected by HS1. Unlike HS2, HS1 was in tunnels or next to railways or trunk road, including the M20 and the M26 and other dual carriageways for 85% of its length. For much of its route, HS2 crosses open countryside, with no busy roads near it.

Empty car park at Ebbsfleet 30th July 2011

Ebbsfleet station car park, July 2011: HS1 has a third of the original predicted passenger numbers

However, unlike Justine Greening, the people who went on these trips know what the areas that were going to be affected by HS2 are like at the moment and could compare the areas affected by HS1. But Justine Greening has refused to visit many of the areas which will be afflicted by HS2. She’s not gone to see the more rural parts of Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, South Northamptonshire or Warwickshire, even though she wants to wreck the tranquillity of these areas. She’s been to the cities which will get stations, but not the villages and towns that will just the blight.

Now she’s seen what a high speed rail line is like we challange Justine to go to the places which are affected by HS2 and to compare the areas as they are now to what they will be like if HS2 is built. We challenge her to face the people who have tried to explain their reasons to her of why they think HS2 is a bad project for the nation to HS2 and we challenge her to listen to the people who oppose HS2.

Justine worries about the noise for her constituents from Heathrow, but we want her to listen to the peace and tranquillity of the countryside which will be wrecked by HS2, with more trains and faster trains than use the HS1 line in Kent.

See the reports of our earlier trips

18 comments to “What did Justine see on her HS1 trip?”
  1. maybe she saw some of the £20 billion in benefits that the local economy is expected to has benefit from. or saw some of the nearly 17 million passengers who use hs1. maybe she saw some javelin trains taking olympic spectators and remebered that hs1 was an integral part of the olympics and east london regeneration.

    maybe she noticed that the animals at the lineside (where the greenery comes right up to the fence) dont run away. or that you cant hear the trains over the road noise and that the trains even at high speed emit far less emissions then cars or planes. or maybe she was reading that first group claim that west coast passenger numbers will increase 10.4% against virgins claim of 8.5%. so both somewhat higher then the 5.8% growth which was the basis of the need for hs2 figures which stophs2 disputed. are you now prepared to admit you were wrong ?

    • Nick

      May I remind you what the PAC said—-

      ‘Over-optimistic estimates of passenger numbers on HS1 Channel Tunnel link saddles taxpayer with £4.8bn of debt
      ‘Unrealistic estimates’ for London to Folkestone HS1 link must not be repeated when business case is made for proposed London to Birmingham HS2 high-speed line, report by MPs says
      Taxpayer support for 68-mile HS1 over period to 2070 is likely to be £10.2bn
      International passenger numbers on HS1 only a third of 1995 original forecast and two-thirds of level Department for Transport forecast in 1998′

      For Hs2 modal shift will be insignificant and we are not proposing motorways but focussed investment in our current rail network

    • Well Nick, this is all “jolly good fun” but the claims and the reality are often very far apart;
      “£20billion in benefits” have they been achieved? If so where is the evidence?

      Passenger numbers between 2007 and 2011 for HS1 were, on average, two thirds of the level forecast when the Department for Transport (DfT) guaranteed the project debt in 1998 to enable the line to be built, the NAO said.
      The Olympics and Paralympics will shortly be history and so those passengers will not be amongst the figures.

      ” You cannot hear the trains over the road noise” – but you will along the proposed route for HS2 because it does not run in a transport corridor similar to the one in which HS1 was placed.

      Returning to the claims and actual achievements scenario….claimed passenger number growth of 10.4% and 8.5% seem to be a little in excess of the “less than 1% growth actually achieved in the last 12 months” as mentioned on Tuesday’s Today programme during the interview with Justine Greening

      One of us is certainly wrong.

      • claims and realities being far apart seems to be a good description of stophs2. i did not say nor did the report i quoted say that there had already been £20 billion of external benefits. these are the expected benefits. and the select committee said hs1 might cost 10 billion not that it would definitely.

        I live near the east coast line where the line is in a cutting and i barely hear the trains at all when i am out walking i hear the motorway noise more even though it is further away. hs1 domestic services only started running in 2009 and already have carried 8 million passengers a year. dft first and virgin all expect passenger numbers to increase on west coast between 5.8 and 10.4 % every year. hs1 will soon have access to more destinations qithin europe and freight has started running.

        the best way to increase hs1 usage would be by connecting it to the rest of the country via hs2.

        • I’m getting a bit fed up by the enormous misrepresentations put forward by the vested interests supporting HS2 ( remember the 1 million jobs claim?! ). Time and again you have claimed this £ 20 bn. It’s nonsense but I’m going to give you a chance.

          Lets have a reference for the £ 20 bn. It isn’t £ 20 bn in the Buchanan / Voltarra report so you must have some other source. Let me have that and I will then explain to you ( in simple words ) why it is a misrepresentation.

        • “maybe she saw some of the £20 billion in benefits that the local economy is expected to has benefit from.”

          Actually now I have read what you said again, I am not sure what it is that you were trying to say as it does not make sense.

          However, let us take a look at the last line of your reply.
          “the best way to increase hs1 usage would be by connecting it to the rest of the country via hs2.”

          Correct me if I am wrong but HS1 is connected to the rest of the country just not via HS2.

          The passenger loading figures used to convince the government of the day that it was viable to build HS1 could not and did not make reference to HS2 and were clearly incorrect given the actual loadings.
          Building HS2 may improve HS1 loadings but similar, if not identical, methodologies have been employed to forecast HS2 loadings and develop part of the business case. So I am concerned that based upon making inaccurate forecasts with HS1 the same will be repeated with HS2 and the cost to the taxpayer will be even greater. If you take your answer further, I suppose that if HS2 shows similar loadings to HS1 then we build HS3 and so on.
          By the way this concern is quite apart from any environmental damage that the construction and operation of the proposed HS2 route may cause.

          As for First and Virgin’s estimated growth figures, they are only estimates and the reality is that for the last 12 months the actual growth was less than 1%, a point with which Justine Greening did not argue as I mentioned. It is likely that the longer the current economic climate continues the reality will be the lower loading figures rather than the high end ones.

          Does the ECML run trains at HS2 speeds through the cuttings near where you live?
          You may be able to hear the motorway traffic more than the trains but the proposed phase 1 route of HS2 in the area where I live does not run anywhere near motorways and therefore HS2 would constitute the introduction of a fresh source of noise pollution in a rural area, in particular the sections where it will run on viaducts and not cuttings.

          Do not get me wrong, I would love to see HS2 bring all the oft quoted benefits and put Great Britain on a solid economic cornerstone for the road to prosperity. However, I have seen or heard nothing that convinces me that this is nothing more than another government vanity project that will not deliver and end up costing the taxpayer very dearly as well as the countryside through which it is proposed to run.

  2. You must have missed this:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/aug/28/transport-secretary-keeps-calm-in-kent?CMP=twt_gu

    To answer your “challenge” to Justine, here’s the pertinent part from that link:

    “And in between, the indefatigable transport secretary cracked on with another controversial proposition, touring the Kent countryside with railway, transport and rural campaigners – as well as the Guardian – to show how locals have learned to love high-speed rail. In picturesque Hollingbourne, Greening’s bright yellow minibus arrived in a scene of otherwise pastoral bliss. A man from high-speed one announced that the bus was on top of a rebuilt tunnel where trains pass below at 240km.
    “There,” said Greening contentedly, “Oak trees, a horse.”
    Even parish councillors, for whom the memory of planning battles and tumbling house prices still induces wide-eyed apoplexy, when collaring Greening over scotch eggs in a pub admitted that the noise was fine now. “

    • Thanks for that Rich, in particular the pertinent part…..because we now have the solution don’t we?

      Put the whole thing underground!
      (Yes, yes we all know about the additional costs of putting it underground but as it is already very expensive and is liable to become more expensive as time goes by, does it really matter as it is “vital” to the future of Britain’s economy?)

      • Sadly Ian, that’s not possible according to the Stop HS2 agenda, which states:

        a) we can’t afford it, even without extra tunneling costs.
        b) they don’t want it built *anywhere*.

        Nice try.

        • Of course it is possible Rich, it is just that the government and associated teams are not listening to STOPHS2 or anyone else for that matter.

          I also thought that there was an air of sarcasm in the tone of the article maybe you missed that?

          • Reply makes no sense Ian. Stop HS2 are saying it can’t be done because there’s “no money to pay for it”, and you are saying it is possible if they listen to Stop HS2.

            There’s no sarcasm in that article at all. Just reporting the facts, which are that HS2 is pretty unobtrusive and has bought big benefits.

            • Makes perfect sense if you do nit filter it the way you did.
              I will try again for your benefit….the government are not listening to anyone….includes their own departments that have doubts etc..

              As for “Just reporting the facts, which are that HS2 is pretty unobtrusive and has bought big benefits.” I could be wrong but I am not sure that HS2 has been built yet so hardly a fact?

    • Irrelevant comparison–trains at 240 kph and largely alongside motorways/railways.
      She must visit communities on the proposed HS2 route

      • i agree. she should also listen to the sound that 225 mph trains make when they are in a tunnel or a cutting since it is now likely that most of the route through west london and the chilterns will be so constructed. if we dont build hs2 we will get more motorways and runways instead please dont forget that.

        • I think that you need to be careful about this word “cutting” Nick. It appears to me that the Transport Secretary regards a cutting as any section of line where the “cut and fill” shown on the HS2 Ltd maps is negative. In my view a cutting will only make a significant contribution to noise mitigation if it is deeper than the height of the pantograph. Also visual screening will only be complete if the catenary wires and supports are below ground.

          If something along these lines was used to define the sections of the track that are in cutting, then I would venture that the percentage in cutting would come down significantly.

          By the way, a lot of the route is not in West London or the Chilterns either.

          • * I shall take all this concern over the threatened sound and visual intrusion predicted for HS2 when I read that the M1. A41 M40 and A43 are to be totally screened, sound proofed and covered over so as not to offend the ears and eyes of the neighbours!

            As for the overhead electric wires over the tracks, while certain locations, the Lune gorge in Cumbria for example, looked more ‘natural’ before electrification, yet this change has been for the better (and the intrusion into the landscape but a fraction of that caused when the M6 was built along the hillside above).

            Is the centre of Milton Keynes blighted by the overhead wires (much of it in cutting) of the WCML, or does Northampton Hanslope, Tring, Linslade or Leighton Buzzard lament the lost (and dirty) days of diesel -or steam…?

            With the planned reopening of the East- West line -electrified- between Oxford and Bedford and the extension of passenger services north of Aylesbury to connect with it towards MK, perhaps we shall one day see the Chiltern route through Wendover and the Missenden valley wired up and upgraded to something worthy of its former self as it was-part of a major trunk route!

            You can anticipate the howls of anguish.

            • In the touchy-feely human rights based modern world, care and attention to noise reduction is often very high on people’a agenda.
              Even Phillip Hammond stated that the design for HS2 was to put it into a transport corridor. Well the A413 for example does not match any of the roads that you have mentioned so running HS2 beside it to “hide the noise” just is not the same as the placement of the HS1 line in a proper transport corridor for example (Apparently the animals love it!).

              The WCML runs along the A5, another major trunk road, at Milton Keynes. So you see John, with careful planning HS2, if it was not so very expensive, could be placed in a similar transport corridor rather than spreading the noise further afield. Presumably as the decades pass and HS3, 4 and 5 and the like are proposed they too will be placed in open countryside rather than existing transport corridors?

              As for the “howls of anguish” remark, I would have thought that as the Chiltern line is an extant line, then there would be less of an argument if it were upgraded and linked in to other destinations. That is because it will be available to people in the area to use, whereas HS2 will not be, so it is a different argument but then you knew that really didn’t you?

              I take it from your other poetic but totally ridiculous comment that you would love to see “Albion” loaded up with fast trains all over the countryside? Is there something wroing with wishing to retain some of what makes our country so appealing to tourists?

    • Justine Greening may be “indefatigable”, but she is up against formidable and seemingly implacable opposition and, however illustrious her career so far, she will require indomitable spirit and determination if she is to be victorious.
      Venerable campaigners challenge that leviathon, HS2, a colossus to be struck down, a white elephant as they see it .Pioneer warrior in the campaign. and leader of the 51M Group, Martin Tett seeks judicial review as a means to capsize the government’s stratagy; an audacious and courageous move which threatens to eclipse any past electoral triumph so any political glory may be sunk in an ocean of vengeance in the shires, a powerful and magnificent outcome for those who have battled so long considering their position to be that of a bulwark defending their beloved Albion.
      So, will it be a majestic and glorious success in sinking a major policy of a government which now finds itself with an albertross around its neck .
      Will Justine soar like an eagle to new heights? or seek the shelter out of public view, an ark of refuge?

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