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Fake promises of new services – in 2033

Just recently, Network Rail has tried drumming up support for HS2 by describing all sorts of new services they say will be possible if HS2 goes ahead.

Some local papers have been quite enthusistic about the “new” services they expect to get from HS2, but if you look a bit more closely, you see that they are nothing to do with HS2.

Take for example, the report in Southampton based Southern Daily Echo.

Among the new services that will become possible are:

• Southampton to Manchester – via Winchester, Reading, Oxford, Milton Keynes and Stoke.

In reality, there is already an hourly service from Southampton to Manchester, with some trains starting at Bournemouth, and including stops at Winchester, Reading, Oxford, and Stoke, as well as Banbury, Leamington Spa and Coventry. (Business travellors can even get a train from Southampton in time for a 10am meeting in Manchester.)

The only ‘new’ stop is Milton Keynes, but this does not need HS2 to be built. Direct Southampton to Milton Keynes services would be able to happen with the completion of the East-West link from Oxford to Milton Keynes. HS2 Ltd rejected a station at Milton Keynes.

• Southampton to the north-east – extra stops at Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby or Leicester, on a new “electric spine” that is already proposed.

The electric spine, from Southampton to the Northeast was announced last year, on the Stop HS2 Day of Action. This is not dependent on HS2, and although the planned East West line is likely to be part of the electric spine, HS2 Ltd is designing HS2 without the possibility of an interchange station on the East West line.

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10 comments to “Fake promises of new services – in 2033”
  1. Debt debt the way people are lining up for extra money from the hs2 project ,Its going to cost closer to 100billion than 50 billion How can we afford this railway .Just to save the rich a few mins time all the up evil for people the countryside being torn up wildlife distoryed how can the PM carry on with this waist of public money surely its now time to call it. A day

  2. The Southampton to Reading route for passengers and freight is not efficient. New planning for upgrading the route alignments and layout is required the route is too slow. Network Rail is not being realistic in its presentation of what HS2 does from the current network. Network Rail lacks the capabilities which could improve the UKs rail network. It needs recasting to obtain the skills the Railtrack and ORR eras have left lean.

  3. Funny that the DfT and other pro-HS2 lobbies didn’t mention these so-called ‘great benefits’ in the first place. Seems they keep fabricating ever new fables to justify its existence, whenever the last one is shown to be just a work of fiction.

    • I’m sorry @Geoff but I have to reject your assertion

      These “benefits” have been referred to repeatedly – do you recall phrase along the lines of “HS2 frees up capacity on the existing classic network” – I’ve certainly used words to that effect over the last two years minimum – this is the precisely the type of wider, indirect benefit meant by such wording.

      It’s not possible to be absolutely precise about future benefits because guess what; they’re in the future!

      Those in favour of HS2 are damned it they do and damned if they don’t – make claims about future benefits and you are accused of fabricating nonsense, don’t make any claims and the naysayers claim there are relatively small benefits for the outlay – can’t win either way!

      • @Peter. With your enthusiasm for HS2, I expect you will always reject my thoughts on the matter. My comment wasn’t so much an assertion as an observation.

        And you’re right – it isn’t possible to be absolutely precise about future benefits. So why is the DfT so confident that HS2 will create 100,000 new jobs, amongst a plethora of other throwaway predictions?

        Such as (from the HS2 website):

        HS2 will generate £48.2 billion in user benefits to businesses when the entire network is completed, as well as £15.4 billion in wider economic benefits;

        High Speed One is expected to result in regeneration at Ebbsfleet, Stratford and Kings Cross worth £10 billion, plus wider economic benefits of £3.8 billion

        The Government is committed to managing the cost of HS2 and to securing the maximum value for money. The latest available estimates suggest that HS2 will return around £2 worth of benefit for every £1 invested.


        • More evidence of HS2 Ltd giving incorrect information …

          On the website they say “HS2 will generate £48.2 billion in user benefits to businesses when the entire network is completed,”

          If you check the details though the £48.2 billion is the Net Transport Benefits. It is only £34.3 billion in business user benefits. (There are £16.7 billion of “Other” user benefits – mainly Leisure trips. And we mustn’t forget the £3.8 billion loss of tax revenue. [Yes, £3.8 billion LOSS])

          Now some people might think I am being picky but given that HS2 Ltd cannot accurately present their own headline data, then I think we are all justified in being sceptical .

          • Check if this is against advertising standards (misrepresentation) and report them esp if has been distributed printed elsewhere.’archivalHS2 is a ltd company and bound by certain ad and PR laws.
            Sadly the lawns jobs campaign was ‘archival’ when I reported it.(Biz4HS2 ran the campaign through Lord Bethells Westbourne Media.

            I do think we need to be vigilant about the spin and ads that are being used in the promulagation of this scheme.
            The govts recent immigration vans have run into criticism. The same quality of thought/PR goes into much HS2 propaganda.

          • Check if this is against advertising standards (misrepresentation) and report them esp if has been distributed printed elsewhere.’archivalHS2 is a ltd company and bound by certain ad and PR laws.

            I do think we need to be vigilant about the spin and ads that are being used in the promulagation of this scheme.
            The govts recent immigration vans have run into criticism. The same quality of thought/PR goes into much HS2 propaganda.

  4. This is blatant spin to try and build yet another business case on false foundations and all the time thousands of people’s lives are blighted
    How on earth do they know what demand will be in 20 years time and you only have to look at some of the comments in the paper articles to see how these travel opportunities are viewed locally

    • “How on earth do they know what demand will be in 20 years time…” How very true, John, at least in detail.

      However, if at least some of the long distance services could be separated from other stopping services- not to mention freight- or, if you prefer, local and commuter trains could be extricated from a route dominated by ‘pendolinos’ and Cross Country trains with few stops and which occupy track paths but cannot serve the smaller communities through which they pass- this is what will be needed. HS2 is presented as a solution.

      Traffic patterns change with time. Just a few years ago ‘Merry go round’ coal trains travelled daily from the East Midlands through Banbury and Oxford to Didcot- but then there was but one Inter City train an hour -and no other trains -between Leamington and Banbury.
      Now Didcot ‘A’ power station has shut .The coal trains no longer run- but Chiltern and Cross Country each run two services each hour over this stretch and the container traffic to and from Southampton grows , especially since the recent route improvement to accommodate larger ‘boxes’.

      Much of this traffic feeds into the West Coast network via the link through Kenilworth -still mostly single track- to the pinch point of Coventry station.( Sorry, the Kenilworth ‘Greenway’ cut off is no longer available!!!)

      The promise of double tracking and a reinstated Kenilworth station is welcome and long overdue,but must surely produce more traffic, which must then find paths on the two track route towards Birmingham and the West Midlands with no where to overtake except at Birmingham International.

      It is hardly surprising that the Cross Country trains are frequently delayed- and even the Virgin fast trains are delayed because of the congested sections of the WCML with its mix of fast and stopping trains.

      London Gateway, the new container port, another new terminal at Grain and increased traffic from Felixtowe are welcome- fewer long haul container trucks on the road- but are going to increase the demand for track paths…in fact the freight operaters would like exclusive use of the ‘slow’ tracks on four track sections of the West Coast!

      As regards to Milton Keynes and the reasons for and against a stop, were HS2 to have been routed that way, the thinking must have been similar to that of B.R. Western when the HS 125 trains were introduced in the 1970s.
      Reading was the first stop out of Paddington, but the new trains were intended for long distance services to Bristol, Wales and the West, which were revived in the face of competion from the M.4- the ‘Nosecone effect’ and the new fast trains were rightly popular. But there were fears that Thames Valley commuters into London would swamp the accommodation and shorter journeys between London and Reading were banned, initially, so as to prevent this. Later on, with more 125 trains coming into service on the route, this ban was relaxed.

      Intermediate stops on HS2 would be difficult to accommodate with the intensive service- a train every 4 minutes – which is the design capacity.

      But, can we seriously expect such an intensive service, at least initially?

      Do we, or the engineers who designed it, really anticipate that many passengers; 500 plus is the capacity of each unit, 1000plus for a peak time service using two units combined (as is common on HS/TGV lines in mainland Europe)?

      * (OF course, if the demand proved to be anything like this, once the line was complete, then it would have justified itself)

      In Germany, Frankfurt- Cologne HS line, a comperable distance with the Birmingham- London HS2 phase one,has other similarities.

      There are airport stations near both ends of the HS route ,while two ‘classic’ routes-one on each side of the Rhine, have long linked the two cities,carrying inter city , local passenger and freight trains..

      However, on the HS line there are also three other intermediate stops, at which just a few of the HS trains call.(The service on the HS line is less intense than that planned for HS2)

      Stations mean extra tracks for several miles.Station loops to allow non stop trains to pass.More expense.

      A station stop consumes two or three non stop paths.

      But- a station means some potential “GAIN” for all the pain. Access- as to a new Motorway.

      A station means not ‘blight’ -but enhanced property values for those within reach.

      * A few weeks before the ‘STOP’ convention in Stafford, Radio 4’s Any Questions visited that area.

      There had been a number of comments strongly against HS2, the details of which had recently been published. Nobody was in favour of the scheme.

      Then the chairman asked the audience, “What if a station were to be built in the area , how would you feel about it then?
      Two thirds of them raised their hands in support.

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