McLoughlin ignores WCML warnings about HS2 and forgets to mention planned £7.7bn service cuts.

After the recent disaster with the West Coast Mainline Franchise, Transport Secretary Patrick McLouglin said today (Monday) he will be ‘cracking on’ with HS2, despite the plans relying on many of the same flawed figures and methodologies. In a speech at Conservative Party Conference which was almost identical to the rhetoric heard from Philip Hammond two years ago, he spoke of ‘freeing up capacity’, without mentioning that this was code for £7.7bn worth of cuts to the existing network which will see fewer London-bound trains at 13 stations and slower services at 16 stations.

The speech covered mitigation and compensation, issues which have been spoken about for over two years with little action taking place. Other familiar topics, such as wishing to emulate the Victorians, not being able not to afford to do it but potentially spending more money on links to Scotland, and freeing up capacity on existing lines were mentioned.

What has only recently become apparent due to Freedom of Information requests is the scale of the service cuts ‘freeing up capacity’ will entail. Whilst the £7.7bn value of the cuts was available in the London West Midlands Appraisal Sheets which were released in the August update to the business case, only following the release of the “Demand and Appraisal Report, HS2 London – West Midlands.”, has it been revealed which existing stations will have fewer trains or longer journey times to London by train on existing routes.

Coventry, Birmingham International, Birmingham New Street, Warrington, Stoke on Trent, Wilmslow, Stockport, Leicester, East Midlands Parkway, Nottingham, Chesterfield, Sheffield and Wakefield will all lose London services, with Sandwell and Dudley, Wolverhampton, Wigan, Preston, Lancaster, Carlisle, Stockport, Chesterfield, Doncaster, Wakefield, Berwick on Tweed, Derby, Sheffield, Coventry, Birmingham International and Birmingham New Street getting longer journey times to London.

Tables detailing the service cuts are below.

Joe Rukin campaign coordinator for Stop HS2 said;

“Today at Tory Conference was ‘Groundhog Day’, Patrick McLoughlin came up with nothing but rhetoric and we have heard all these tired arguments before. Especially after the figures and methodologies from the Department for Transport were trashed last week, I can’t believe they are still talking about the Victorians without realising almost all the Victorian railway builders went bust. They still haven’t realised that we do not live in the Victorian age and there are more important infrastructure investments we need for our modern age if we are going to compete. McLoughlin has completely swept what happened last week under the carpet and whilst suggesting the project will cost more than £33bn with them looking at links to Scotland, he is saying we cannot afford not to do it, what planet are these people on and when are they going to start realising they will be found out in December when we go to court?”

“Like McLoughlin did today, proponents of HS2 have long said that HS2 will free up capacity. We have always know that this is code for ‘losing the train services you already have’, and it is only now, not through the DfT and HS2 Ltd operating in an open and transparent manner, but by squeezing the information out of them through freedom of information request, that we can see the scale of the cuts people will face. The Government are saying HS2 is for all of the country, but are being completely devious in not mentioning where the accompanying cuts needed to help pay for HS2 will fall. I am sure there are plenty of Mr McLoughlins own constituents who will not be happy with potential cuts in services to Derby and Chesterfield.”

Penny Gaines, chair of Stop HS2 said;

“Today, Patrick McLoughlin announced his intention to rush ahead with the massively expensive HS2 proposal, a project that will cost over £33 billion. But it is less than a week since Patrick McLoughlin was making late night phone calls to the bosses of First Group and Virgin, to say that his department had got the sums wrong on rail projections for the West Coast Main Line franchsie.  Those mistakes in the Department for Transport are costing the taxpayer well over £40 million.  HS2 will be many times more expensive, with a price tag of £33billion and yet it appears McLoughlin wants to race ahead without even having a chance to thoroughly check whether this project uses similar assumptions.  We’ve seen that HS1 – a project that was under development when McLoughlin was a junior minister in the DfT – got the sums wrong on passenger forecasts, but that doesn’t seem to matter to a minister who is intent on dashing ahead with the HS2 vanity project.

“In his desire to copy the Victorians of nearly two centuries ago, McLoughlin seems to have ignored the fact that we now live in a completely different world to them.  If people today want to spend less time in travel, they use digital technologies and avoid the need for travel at all.  Like the last two Secretaries of State for Transport, McLoughlin seems unaware that videoconferencing can reduce travel times to nothing, not just Scotland but from anywhere in the world.  Investing in broadband infrastructure is the real 21st solution.”

Independent Chiltern Councillor Seb Berry said;

“For the third time in nine months a Conservative Secretary of State has promised a proper compensation package. But ministerial waffle is not the same thing as action to end the blight which is wrecking so many communities. Many loyal Tory voters will today again be wondering why they are being treated with such contempt by a Conservative-led Government.”

Bernie Douglas, of Voxopp (Villages in Oxfordshire Opposing HS2) said;

“We were told two years ago by Philip Hammond that there would a compensation for people impacted. We’ve been waiting for 2 years and they can’t sort out a sensible scheme.  It’s smacks of incompetence on their part and disdain for the people affected, bordering on contempt.  They keep on saying they want to get it right, how many years do they need?”

Service Cuts to the Midland Mainline following HS2

Service Cuts to the Midland Mainline following HS2

Service Cuts to the West Coast Mainline following HS2

Service Cuts to the West Coast Mainline following HS2

Service Cuts to the East Coast Mainline following HS2

Service Cuts to the East Coast Mainline following HS2

 

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45 comments on “McLoughlin ignores WCML warnings about HS2 and forgets to mention planned £7.7bn service cuts.
  1. Pingback: STOP HS2 | ‘Cracking on’ with HS2

  2. Gloria i agree completely with your posting on the 17th ,I have thought that way from the start as have the majority of those against HS2.
    It is good to see it in print to try to get it through to all those blinkered people who seem to think it will all be miraculously wonderfull if that supposedly cure for all transport problems HS2 is built.

  3. peter delow you wrote

    “So a network that is being touted as a solution to capacity problems will have no capacity for expansion and will be over capacity on one key section”

    sncf has stated that they should have had four tracks from paris to lyon from day one and suggested that hs2 should in fact be four tracks but i cant see this going down too well ! if you are against hs2 saying that it in fact isnt big enough seems to be a strange argument ! this is one of the inconsistencies of hs2 critics as some say the trainms wiil be empty but others say that there will be so many passengers that euston and the tube will be completely overloaded ! the reality is likely between these extremes.

    and of course the trains that run via hs2 RELEASE those paths on the west coast main line hence the increased capacity.

    • No I’m sorry “vtiman”, but I can’t let you get away with that. You made a claim that services on HS2 would be more frequent than the existing ones out of London, and I have shown that your claim was unfounded. So instead of accepting that in good spirit, you have now made a new claim that is equally false. HS2 will not “replace” any services on the WCML. If you take the example of London-Birmingham, all current services stop at one station, at least, that is not served by HS2. So the only way to release train paths on WCML is to reduce services at stations not served by HS2. That, I believe, is what the blog that you are commenting against is all about, or did you not bother to read it?
      As for your fears that I am undermining my opposition to HS2 by claiming that the two-track Y route will be train path congested, I don’t restrict my analysis of HS2 to issues that are “convenient” to my anti HS2 stance – what I try to do is get to the truth. Can you claim the same about your pro stance?

      • adding up to 18 trains an hour via hs2 obviously increases the total railway capacity along its route and adjacent existing routes..18 hs2 paths plus the 17 wcml paths you mentioned equals double the number of paths and more then double the passenger capacity due to the large hs2 trains. plus the mostly now 11 car pendolinos, the proposed baby six car pendolinos, the new desiros and the additional london midland services already operating.

        Remember we are talking about future capacity also. capacity is also really seats per hour so when those direct passengers from say london to birmingham use hs2 that will allow more space for passengers on the wcml. and it will allow more stations to have a better service than now as some services can have additional stops. i dont know how many passengers use the intermediate wcml stations but i bet it is less then those travelling to bradford leeds manchester birmingham sheffield/ rotherham (served by the proposed meadowhall)and stations north and west off the hs2 route such as liverpool and newcastle. trains to these destinations will ultimately use hs2 for all or most of their journey which will free capacity for more passengers on the wcml and ecml up to these northern cities and onweards to edinburgh and glasgow.

        the only city in the top ten in the uk that wont get any trains over hs2 is bristol and this is being upgraded and electrified so so much for hs2 “starving investment!”

        and again gloria is saying that hs2 will never carry as many passengers as claimed yet you are saying that stage one of hs2 will be essentially full from day one – so which is it guys ? hs2 wont carry enough passengers – bad or hs2 carrying too many passengers – bad ?? you need some consistency really.

        there is is also this quaint and somewhat unrealistic idea that travel should be considered a luxury ! you will never sell this idea to the public especially those that travel. why should it be a luxury and who are you to decide what other people should do. you talk about democracy and the government not listening but all you want to do is make travel decisions for other people. 55000 replied mostly against hs2 in the consultation but there are over 55 million people in the country. 55000 deciding for 55 million doesnt sound democratic to me. all three parties support hs2 (although admittedly maybe note the same route but whatever route picked will be opposed to those such as stop hs2 it just moves the protest elsewhere.) The major northern cities and trade unions also support hs2.. the mayor of londons main objection is that there will be too many passengers for the underground to cope with so he isnt against hs2 really at all he is just after more and more for london, so give london crossrail 2 3 4 5 and 6 and he will be happy ! (sarcasm !!)

        and you dont exactly get thousands of demonstrators at your demos. not like todays anti cuts demo in london. as an aside, if every decision had to have a referendum, for example, governance would become impossible.

        i am more concerned about the cuts being implemented now rather then worrying about future spending on national transport infrastructure that the country needs and that will reduce the need for car and short haul air travel causing less pollution and creating construction and operating jobs as well as improving connectivity and aiding ecomnomic growth.. as i keep saying deny hs2 and we all get more roads and runways. the only way travel will decrease in the long term is if there is another worldwide depression.

        i really get that you are againshs2 and your reasons why. if i were faced with being disrupted and uprooted i wouldnt be happy either to put it mildly. but many reasons given against hs2 are somewhat spurious like “lets make everyone stay at home and not travel” the economy depends on tourism remember. and businesses may relocate to more enlightened countries if their business is stifled.our countryside is precious and is beautiful but hs2 is much narrower then a runway or motorway and will be concealed in tunnel or cutting through most of the chilterns. remember people need to get to the lake district or the peak district or indeed chilterns so they can see it too. unless you are keeping it for yourselves that is.

        • I notice “vtiman” that you are still insisting on making the ridiculous claim that things will be better on the WCML after HS2 becomes operational. This time your reasoning is that “some services can have additional stops”. Adding more stops for WCML users will increase the travel time – which is why HS2 has so few stations – so how can a slower, less frequent service be better?
          The passenger numbers information that you say you are not aware of can be found, for the WCML anyway, in Network Rail’s West Coast Main Line Route Utilisation Strategy (July 2011), which may be downloaded from http://www.networkrailmediacentre.co.uk/imagelibrary/downloadMedia.ashx?MediaDetailsID=4675. Tables 3.9 and 3.10 on page 47 give passenger flows to/from London Euston. It may surprise you to know that the busiest station on WCML on this basis is Milton Keynes, not of course served by HS2. The three locations in these tables that will get HS2 stations (not co-sited of course) account for only about one-third of the total number of WCML passengers. This is the problem with HS2 as a WCML “solution”; it only offers increased capacity for a part of the WCML.
          The recent WCML franchise battle revealed that the all-day load factor for WCML is, after the upgrade to 11-car Pendolinos, down to 35%; First Group compared this with 50% on its Trans Pennine Express franchise. In the light of this, the franchise bid process was all about trying to get more people to use WCML to maximise the revenue stream.
          Luckily for the bidders the franchise was set to expire in 2026. It seems that the business case for the long-distance WCML franchise will fall to pieces when HS2 becomes operational, since the Government prediction (in the original command paper Cm 7827) is that daily long-distance journeys on WCML will fall from 45,000 in 2009 to 20,000 in 2033. It is almost certain that a heavy subsidy will be required to maintain WCML services for this small passenger base.

        • What services will be taken off the wcml to create this supposed capacity need because the DfT won’t tell me?

        • Even the maximum 18 HS2 trains into London every hour wouldn’t double the number of “pathways” into London for WCML users.

          Let’s leave aside the point that Coventry ( just outside the top 10 cities in the UK, but inside the top 10 in England ) and Wolverhampton, amongst others, would end up with a worse service into London. Let’s ignore the fact that WCML users could use the constantly improving Chiltern service.

          But you forgot that quite a few of those 18 trains would have come from Yorkshire and probably the East Midlands.

          All to be funelled down from Birmingham “Interchange” through one currently unspoilt part of rural England .

  4. gloria i was being somewhat sarcastic i9 admit but what you posted in reply to me is very revealing. firstly why do you accept that there is congestion locally but deny that it is an ever growing problem on the west coast line.

    secondly the whole thrust of stophs2s arguments are that hs2 will be a white elephant because there wont be enoiugh passengers. but now like boris you are admitting that hs2 will be carrying many passengers enough to worsen local congestion ! this is not logical you cant be simultaneously claiming that hs2 wont carry enough passengers then state that all the hs2 passegers will cause congestion.

    if we need to build more local infrasrtucture that is needed and will be used then there isnt much of an argument against it. we need hs2 but we need more trams, trolley buses and hybrid buses locally and more cycle lanes etc. it isnt either one or the other we need the nationwide intercity system and the local systems to feed it.

    • So you think we should continue to encourage more people to travel and suffer the consequences of congestion, increasing and expanding over the whole country?

      I don’t. I believe travel needs to be carefully considered – as a luxury. That we should be looking to reduce our casual reliance on fossil fuels, because supplies are dwindling, and it is everyone’s responsibility to reduce carbon emissions. Wherever people go, each end of HS2, there will be expanding congestion and carbon footprints.
      We need to work on ways to keep more local in our work and leisure activities.

      My concerns are not contradictory they are either/or scenarios.

      It is my firm belief that HS2 won’t carry the vast numbers of people it is being designed to carry. It is an unnecessary luxury that will be impractical and unprofitable. If Holland can’t make HSR work, I don’t believe the UK will be able to either. Look at the past history of the efficiency and affordability of our rail services.

      But I could be wrong. Thousands of people every day may find the high fares of HS2 affordable; people may be happy that it is their best travel option for where they want to go, when they want to go there. They may consider the trains safe on their tracks from signal failure or the high speed effects of Raleigh Waves; they may also find the straight tracks with its overhanging electrics and vast viaducts a beautiful addition to our green and pleasant land.

      But if it attracts thousands of additional rail-users to places each end of the route, who are miraculously expected to contribute great things to our economy, then the increase in local traffic will cause even worse transport capacity problems. What then – build another transport link to where?

      Even though people will find it hard to accept, there has to come a time when the limit of transport expansion is reached.

      • sorry to post again but i had to reply to your post about holland or the netherlands to give it its proper name in english anyway ! (holland is actually a region of north east netherlands roughly) the line is known as hsl zuid

        the high speed thalys trains are running between amsterdam/rotterdam brussels and paris. the problems with the line were mainly due to the requirement to install the latest ertms system. sncf who own the tgv sets did not release these for retrofitting for some time. this meant that although the line was built and open trains could not obviously run until the signalling was working. there have also been huge delays readying the domestic services as the trains are not even available now !

        the delay doesnt have much to do with its high speed nature. once the bugs are ironed oiut and all trains are running we can then say if it is successful or not but in all likelyhood will be. at some point through trains from london will use hsl zuid

        • Amsterdam is in North Holland and Rotterdam is in South Holland – and it appears that the line is losing huge amounts of money due to lack of patronage; in a region where people are very accustomed to railways, trams and bicyles.

  5. If the WCML will be full in 10 years then we might need to do a bit better than build HS2 which probably wouldn’t be operational for at least 14 years ( even if McLoughlin would like it built in 5 ! ). So you might end up with bottlneck upgrades and longer trains yet. Although thanks to the cock up on the WCML franchise there is probably 3 to 4 years of inertia on that now.

    Birmingham and Leeds certainly have lower property costs but London based companies could also save costs by closing that second office and serving peripheral markets from their HOs by using the fast train. Who knows ? Also companies moving to Leeds are as likely to have come from Hull as Harrow. At the very least the whole North-South bit is a bit difficult to predict even if a few localities might be winners.

    • The franchise fiasco will have very little influence on the number of passengers patronising the WCML – it will be old hat in just a few months – people are not really that interested in who operates the trains, what people want (on average) is a reliable, efficient service at a reasonable price – that’s just plain common sense.

      You’ll also be surprised to learn that I think the term “full up” in respect of the WCML is somewhat abused – yes, I agree that the line is very well used and ridership is increasing relentlessly year on year but of course there is still capacity in the line, at certain off peak times. The problem is that you can’t coerce people to travel when it doesn’t suit them, no matter what pricing model you use!

      The WCML is the busiest mixed rail artery in Western Europe, bar none – it is trying to be all things to all users and the line, in its present form, simply can no longer cope in the longer term as patronage increases. There are strategies in place to relieve particular pinch points and these are factored into longer term planning – for example longer Pendolino train sets are coming on stream and some work is scheduled to increase potential traffic flow through certain junctions – I think it’s called grade separation – and of course, signalling improvements.

      So the idea that nothing is being done to improve the WCML is just nonsense but it’s also equally flawed to suggest that upgrading the WCML will provide a long term fix. Only a new line built to European interoperabiity standards to facilitate European guage rolling stock will do that so it makes sense if you are going to follow that strategy to make the new infrastructure a high speed line because the cost differentials are relatively small compared with the extra benefits high speed confers.

      In a nutshell, that’s the rationale behind HS2 strategy – I realise it doesn’t compute in the anti-HS2 mindset and doubtless the naysayers will contradict all the points I’ve listed here (assuming this comment appears of course).

  6. Re John Webber. Actually I would say that anyone who supports HS2 is a fool or has vested interests! Also how can McLoughlin say he wants to press on with HS2 when he has only been in his job for 5 minutes and there is no way he can be up to speed (sorry!) with all facts, statistics etc and make an informed decision, or does that not matter these days.

    • Very well said, Steve.

      How wonderful it must be to live in a land of absolute black and white certainty without a shade of grey or compromise to raise a doubt!

      Congratulations. The steadfast and resolute shall indeed inherit the Earth- with or without tunnels running beneath the ground on which they stand!
      “Those not for us are against,” in the words- more or less- of that wise man ,George W.

      * * * Do you include everyone responding to the on line article in today’s ‘Independent’,by the way? They seem to include a number actually in favour!

      The spirit of non conformity runs deep in all areas of life in this country and we embrace a wide range of opinions; we may even respect the convictions of those with whom we disagree.

      Just look back at the posted comments on this site.Many would wish the scheme away- some would like to move it elsewhere, others would wish to slow it or bury it, a few see it as inevitable and seek to reduce its damage …

      In the meantime, you wear a white hat. Keep it clean.

      • How would a compromise work? Build half a railway? Personally I would like upgrades to the existing network. Not to be offered the chance to get from london slightly quicker to lose that entire time saving because there is no connectivity to the proposed station in the middle of nowhere. I have to catch an onward train and lose the entire time saving which is the basis of the “economic benefits” that are so overblown its unreal. Bottom line is this is desperation and clueless.

        • where are these “in the middle of nowhere” stations ? euston, birmingham city centre, birmingham airport, manchester city centre, manchester airport, old oak common leeds city centre ? or meadowhall which is between rotherham and sheffield, which will be linked to supertram and the existing rotherhamsheffield line and adjacent to the M1. it is ridiculous to suggest that these are in the middle of nowhere. and of course the trough trains that will run from day one will serve existing stations such as newcastle or preston.

    • Not very surprising. Dave wouldn’t have given him the job. He’s just doing as he’s been told… good career move! Albeit he may not have been a totally efficient Whip he does know how the system works.

      More surprising was his u turn at looking into WCML issue. He had said all was hunky-dory. Would have loved to have seen Dave’s face when he heard how much it was going to cost to rectify/clarify the decision. Unfortunately once again we are the only ones paying for it all.

      Sadly for our future HMG has not learnt a thing. It doesn’t matter how much spin is put on figures whether it is HS1, WCML or HS2 the methodology is seriously flawed. When are PPE courses going to teach honesty, common sense and openness, and spin is a bed fellow to lies.

  7. ‘Cracking on’ with HS2

    Cancel this scheme,
    Release us from your dream,
    Awaken, clear your mind,
    Correct what’s been designed,
    Know the follies, they’re resounding,
    Infrastructure needs good grounding ,
    Not whimsical calculation,
    Gifting little to our nation.

    Only debt, beyond all owing,
    Never paying off – just growing,

    Why can’t you understand
    Inherent cares about our land?
    This train is never needed,
    Heed the critics, who have pleaded,

    Have a long and just reflection,
    See the problems and take heed,
    2 morrow a new direction is more likely to succeed.

  8. Your comments above give the impression of the last throw of the dice or like throwing the dummy out of the pram. All three parties have given full support for the building of hs2 on the proposed route, is it now time to sit down with HS2 ltd and not be so abrasive and confrontational.

    • Thats why we have judicial review morris. Nobody without an interest and with a clue supports this.

      • Oh really, “nameless”, not another sweeping generalisation, please!

        Can you really and truthfully believe that anyone who thinks that HS2 might have some merit must therefore be a fool or have some hidden vested interest?

        It is like those who say- over and over again- that “there is no point whatsoever” in the HS concept.
        There is point, but the question is whether the benefits of bypassing congestion and creating `an alternative to yet more road building, is worth the environmental and financial cost.

        Unlike you, I am quite happy to write over my name and state that I live in Brackley, close to the projected route.

        Actually, my preference would have been for the reinstatement for more of the GC route, with a more modest speed than that planned for HS2, possibly connecting with the West Coast near Rugby and allowing some intermediate stops…perhaps developing the suggestion promoted some 20 years ago by Central Railways.

        That scheme was stillborn -and now we have HS2. Have we scored an own goal by not backing a more modest scheme? Perhaps it serves us right.

        • Having sat through 2 hours of debate where every single expert and academic was totally dismissed by a biased panel and further having read some of the bogus figures in reports, I actually do believe that this is a fundamentally flawed process yes. Bias and fallacy are in full swing and poor decisions are the result. Enjoy.

      • Did you see the independant today and all the comments, about 80% are pro Hs2,do all these have a interest

        • Morris the results of brainwashing and conditioning are not to cited as proof. People will believe nonsense if its presented correctly. Please see the expert opinion submitted to the biased committee – those guys fall into the category of informed unbiased opinion. This survey does not.

          • Now you comment is taking the Mickey for the most daft I have seen on the site, you are say that ever one of the comment for the pro (about 90%) in the independent dated Wednesday 10 October are “those guys fall into the category of informed unbiased opinion” if you use your own logic that must be 99.9999% of the comments here.

            Now for a real comment regard this document, if you read this document it stated this is an outline for Possible services changes (read 2.4) additionally the route form Birmingham north has not yet be agreed with possible station at stoke, ect s again this document in real terms is useless.

            Now I bet the comment will not be allowed!!!!!!

            • As amusing as ever morris. I can only think your comment got on here because Penny couldn’t understand what you were talking about.

              Do you really believe 90 % of the country are in favour of HS2 ? All of the polls from earlier in the year showed it to be within spitting distance of 50 / 50 and most of those in favour didn’t know how much the scheme cost.

            • Insulting again MartinH but I bet you have not been reading the comments which is your normal way to commenting, yes 90% of the comments are in favor. I bet the polls you are taking where carried out on the proposed route.

              lets see if I can get two comment in a row, I bet not

            • MartinH – just checked the poll on Professional Engineering result so far 56% yes and 44% no – so more in favor
              - Now are you saying these are false – and the only link is on the stophs2 facebook page

            • Fascinating, Morris, because when I checked the profeng website this morning, it was about 88% who were unhappy with the HS2 plans (on Friday it was 90%). The poll is no longer on their front page, but is instead asking about skydiving.

            • Morris , thanks for brightening up my average day. I thought you were saying there had been a poll conducted by the Independent that had come back with 80 % , sorry 90 % in favour of HS2. Even if you asked the most loaded question to a population as big as 20 outside Manchester Piccadilly station you would probably struggle to get that. I knew you couldn’t possibly be right, partly because it flies in the face of all the evidence hereto but also because if it had been true the pro HS2 mob would be shouting it from the rooftops. But you had me for a moment, you seemed so confident, so assured.

              So I thought I’d check the Independent of the 10 October. Guess what , NO POLL just a few comments at the end of the article from a handful of people who are happy ( for a variety of reasons ) that McLoughlin has reaffirmed the government’s commitment to the scheme. No doubt a variety of newspaper blogs have all sorts of comments from all sorts of people.

              If it had been anybody else than you I would have accused them of deliberately misleading people about this. However if you completely failed to understand the concept of the time value of money then I suspect you also don’t know the difference between a properly constructed public opinion poll and a newspaper blog.

              Do you really believe 90 % or 80 % or anything like that of the people in this country would think spending nearly £ 40 billion on HS2 and defiling the countryside in the process a good idea ? In your dreams.

              By the way this is NOT me being insulting.

            • Penny if is very interesting when I checked the poll last night at about 8pm it was still at 56% yes and 44% no but this morning it was now 88 – no and 12 yes, I must state that I do not understand how the poll can change in a very short time unless you must have rallied support last night as the only link was on your own facebook page,

              MartinH you have surprised me in two different ways which must be a first for you. First you have checked the fact now that is very surprising but again you have tried to be funny. The independent is a news page which I think is a bit out of your league to read and does not come in a cartoon format and you should stick to the beano. What I stated was the comments about 230 ( now that a few) about 99.9999% where in favor please read them and don’t just try to insult me.

              Second, the only dream you are having is that hs2 will now be built, how is 22m wide section of track defiling the countryside? Will I be allowed to answer and will you post this

            • If the numbers were identical when you looked at two different times, it suggests that maybe you were looking at a cached version of the page but your computer got a new version this morning.

            • As a good reader of the Independent , Morris you will no doubt have seen the article by a guy called Josh Barrie in the October 16th edition of that very newspaper. It was scathing about HS2 .

              We can debate the so called merits of HS2 , we can debate how likely it is to be built but you have clearly implied that a significant majority of the public approves of the scheme. You are completely wrong.

              Considerably more than 300 people voted on what they thought about Mr Barrie’s article and 82 % “strongly agreed” with him ie they thought HS2 was a waste of money. If anyone hasn’t seen the article it is well worth a read.

    • When you say ‘full support’ I think you’ll find that is among the hierarchy. There is rather more doubt among the massed ranks, and especially within the Conservative Party.

      • One hour phone in this morning on 5 live from Sheffield on the north south divide and not one mention of need for high speed train

        • Almost true John. There was no mention from the public. I doubt if most people even in Yorkshire really believe that it would make much difference to the North – South divide , even if there are those who think it is worth taking a gamble with taxpayers’ money on the off chance that it will ( in 20 years time ).

          There was however at the start of the programme an MP from ( I think ) Leeds who argued that prosperity is linked to being within a one hour train ride from London. Well there are plenty of deprived areas within an hour’s train journey of London and even HS2 would still leave the journey from the centre of Leeds to the centre of London at well over the magic 60 minutes. But leaving those points aside I think his argument was that people would be able to commute daily from Leeds to London.

          The fact is that for most potential West Yorkshire commuters the journey from home to office would still be at least 2 hours each way meaning this would be available for only the most hardy types. Not to mention the most highly paid given that the season ticket cost would be simply mind blowing. Furthermore it is a considerable leap to say that having some extra commuters would necessarily boost the West Yorkshire economy. There is at least as strong an argument that it could work the other way.

          • It is not just the time it takes, but how the journey proceeds physically from home to the office. The high-speed bit in the middle may be fine – if a bit expensive to do daily. The journey each end of the high-speed link need to be thought about when considering this form of commute. These connections can be exhausting both metally and physically, as unreliable timetables and congestion on local transport take there toll.

            • i didnt think there was any transport congestion according to stophs2. that would imply growing numbers of passengers hence the need for new infrastructure such as hs2 ! at the moment you can also argue that a journey on the west coast line is quick yet it can take a while to get from where you are to the station.

              someone travelling from london to birmingham will still need to get to each station with hs2 but of course that is the case at the moment. except the main part of the journey will be 36 minutes quicker. and since hs2 will have re intensive service then at the moment you wont have to wait as long for a train. so in fact for manyaround london the savings could be an hour. in my case i would arrive at euston currently from kings cross just in time to miss the next virgin north western service. i would save 20 minutes at least with a more frequent service that the huge extras capacity of hs2 will bring.

            • I did state “congestion on local transport”.

              Do you believe that the roads and railways around Birmingham and London (and cities on the Y-route) will not be congested with the extra people that HS2 is planned to deposit on them? That the upgrading and closure of local networks (paid for on additional budgets) will disperse these extra hundreds of people efficiently to all the placees they want to go into the surrounding city areas and beyond?

          • The west coast line will be full in ten years this has to be dealt with. airlines are also predicting passenger growth hence the discussion about new airports and or runways. these predictions cant all be wrong ! so even if you are sceptical about the effect hs2 will have on the north south divide or the economic benefits of the time savings there will still be a transport ie capacity need for hs2.

            i am not sure there would be a lot of leeds london commuters but you never know. peterborough amongst other places has many commuters to london yet the journey is nearly as long as that to leeds would be with hs2.
            also businesses traditionally locate to areas with better infrastructure. with lower rents and property prices in birrmingham leeds etc companies will be able to locate there yet serve their london and south east client base.
            after all with hs2 the currently empty land around curzon street once developed will be a quicker journey from heathrow then would be the east end of london and docklands. heathrow needs to be connected to hs2 so that internal flights even interlining can be replaced by hs2.

            • I’m not sure why you think that “the huge extra capacity [that] HS2 will bring” will allow a “more frequent service” to be supported “vtiman” (your comment 16 October). Sure there will be plenty of seats (too many I would say), but HS2 will be train path limited. Take a look at Figure 7 in Appendix 1 to the January 2012 document “Economic Case for HS2: Updated appraisal of transport user benefits and wider economic benefits”. This shows the following trains paths per hour for the day one service on the Y network:
              London-Liverpool (2 paths), London-Edinburgh/Glasgow (2 paths), London-Manchester (3 paths), Heathrow-Manchester (1 path), London-Leeds (3 paths), London-Newcastle (2 paths), Heathrow-Leeds (1 path), Birmingham-Manchester (2 paths), Birmingham-Glasgow (1 path), Birmingham-Leeds (2 paths), Birmingham-Newcastle (1 path).
              I haven’t checked all of the timetables, but this seems fairly similar to the service levels out of London today (this is certainly the case for London-Birmingham). Remember also that the capacity of the line is stated by HS2 Ltd to be 18 trains per hour. Count these up and you will find 17 paths on the main Phase 1 section and 20 on the section immediately north of the West Midlands delta.
              So a network that is being touted as a solution to capacity problems will have no capacity for expansion and will be over capacity on one key section.

            • vtiman says:
              October 14, 2012 at 8:05 pm

              ‘The west coast line will be full in ten years this has to be dealt with.’

              Where is the evidence for this please?

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