Since yesterday’s article, Stop Hs2 has been sent the following information. The opinions and conclusions expressed are the author’s own:
- The 30 year concession to operate HS1 was purchased last year by a consortium of Ontario Teachers Pension Fund (through their subsidiary Teachers Infrastructure Group), and Borealis Infrastructure.
- Teachers Infrastructure Group also owns 48% of Birmingham International Airport.
- Birmingham International Airport, in January 2010, conducted a survey and found that Londoners are happy to travel to Birmingham to fly from there. The airport’s CEO, Paul Kehoe said “The HS2 high speed rail route would extend Birmingham’s catchment area further into London and the South East, and even Kent would be less than an hour away. Future plans will create further connectivity. Regional airports have the potential to relieve overcrowding in the South East. For many in London and the South East, it will be quicker to travel to Birmingham airport than to Heathrow, Gatwick or Stansted. ” See link http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2010/01/birmingham-airport-over-heathrow-3rd-runway.aspx
- Birmingham airport is partway through a huge expansion program. See link http://www.birminghamairport.co.uk/meta/news/2011/05/one-terminal-opening.aspx.
- In January this year Theresa Villiers suggested regional airports are the solution to the overcrowding of UK’s aviation infrastructure, rather than a new hub in the South East. – see “Regional airports have the potential to relieve overcrowding in the South East.”
- The co-owner of HS1, Borealis Infrastructure, is part of OMERS – Ontario Municipal Employers Retirement Systems. Borealis Infrastructure also owns a stake in Associated British Ports (ABP) along with Goldmann Sachs and others. Apart from Ports, ABP also owns the Hams Hall Rail Terminal, North East of Birmingham.
- Hams Hall terminal is used by DB Schenker amongst others for freight via the channel tunnel to European destinations http://www.logisticsmanager.com/Articles/13995/DB+Schenker+extends+rail+links+to+Italy.html DB Schenker is the freight transport subsidiary of Deutsche Bahn. It bought EWS a few years ago and now carries the most rail freight in the UK.
- DB Schenker announced on their website that they look forward to future links between HS2 and HS1, as “a route for continental sized freight trains” – http://www.rail.dbschenker.co.uk/cmsnews/news_article.asp?guid=%7BC9A48660-CB51-492E-8337-26D5EE7C082B%7D
- According to the HS2Ltd business case, although not currently planned to operate freight, HS2 will nevertheless be built to the structure gauge for international freight. Note on that website that Schenker will introduce services between Birmingham and Glasgow.
- Apart from DB Schenker being a rail freight operator they also operate their own buses, lorries (with tie up with Eddie Stobart), their own ships and an air freight company.
- Eurotunnel owns rail freight company GB freight and French Veolia Traction. Veolia traction operates multi modal trains between Daventry rail freight terminal and Novarra, Italy.
My conclusion is that HS2 is less about lack of capacity on the WCML or increased business travel, but more about 1) increased passenger travel between Birmingham airport and other regional centres, as it expands, possibly as an alternative international hub to Heathrow with government giving these regional airports tax breaks; and 2) international freight movements, possibly on HS2 itself.
Not forgetting of course that Deutsche Bahn will soon be running passenger high speed train services in competition with Eurostar through the channel tunnel to London, with Siemens trains of course!
What wouldn’t Deutsche Bahn do to get involved with HS2?
The opinions and conclusions expressed are the author’s own.