HS2, Deutsche Bahn, Birmingham Airport and Freight

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.

200 comments to “HS2, Deutsche Bahn, Birmingham Airport and Freight”
  1. I really dont think that a rail line operational in over 20 years time will help much
    I’ve taken time to speak with businesses and their organisations about HS2 and when I ask them to be specific I am amazed how vague they are about the benefits

  2. This ANTI HS2 site is amazing.
    There are people on here who genuinely believe that government money earmarked for the construction of a nonstop high speed rail link between two cities 140 miles apart could be better spent at this point in time.
    Time and trouble has been taken to try and estimate the feel of the country for such expenditure and seek to indicate their concerns by petitioning the public for their opinion. Yet the site has been high jacked by people who have the arrogance to assume that they speak for the majority.
    People like John W are trying to seek ways to bring it to the attention of the public outside the affected route and gauge public opinion over its expenditure. The truth is we have been painfully misled and it was a shock to read David Lidington’s comment. Why is he getting no support from anyone?
    When someone, out of concern starts making constructive suggestions how we might redress the problem is shouted down by pro HS2 agents who flood the site with unsubstantiated assumptions,and progress from calling us NIMBYs to describing our ideas ‘bunkum’ it is time to start monitoring the comments placed on here.

    • Where did I say I spoke for the majority ? As far as I m concerned the overwhleming vast majority of the UK doesnt give 2 hoots ( like I said earlier ). Of course you could organise a leaflet drop for all 60 million of UK residents, but I will guarentee 99.995 % of those leaflets will go straight in the bin……

  3. Gary says:
    June 11, 2011 at 9:49 am

    To be fair, the survey was carried out over 1 week in February, and 2047 actually took part…….which is the equivalent of the population of Great Missenden……hardly earth shattering stuff to be honest.

    But as I , and Peter today , have pointed out, the overwhelming majority of the great British public couldnt give two hoots about it. Government is spending just 20p per £100 of total UK plc spend on this which is peanuts in the bigger picture.

    You can take any figure and make it seem almost nothing. If the overwhelming majority of the great British public couldnt give two hoots about it then why are we asting all this time and money

    • John…..we employ MPs to make decisions in the interest of the nation on our behalf, and we do that by voting at elections.

      Over the last 20 years or so, fewer and fewer of us are actually bothering to vote at all…..because the Mega Oil Tanker that is GB plc carries on regardless. Its is no surprise that it is only a few seats that decide elections, and its also no suprise we have a hung parliament. HS2 carries cross party support, as do many other current policies.

      As far as trying to influence the public, this site wont achieve anything…..just like any other website of its ilk.

      You aint gonna change the world sitting with a keyboard in front of a screen, If you have ambitons to make a difference, then become an MP.

      • well why dont you stop posting on it then and let us get on with stopping this absurd waste of money and putting forward value for money alternatives

        • well why dont you stop posting on it then and let us get on with stopping this absurd waste of money and putting forward value for money alternatives

          Im not stopping you…….but if you think bloggin in cyberspace is going to make a difference , then I think you need to take a reality check…….

          As for value for money alternatives, no one on this site has actually done that, and from where I m sitting, simply dont have the knowledge to do so. Sorry….but its fact….

  4. Yes Martin …..if passenger numbers were in decline , then this topic would never have surfaced. But the reality is somewhat different nowadays. And a solution has been identified. Which involves building a new line with the maximum capacity possible. Which means trains every 3 minutes with no obstacles such as level crossings, public footpaths, lineside signals and slow stopping trains. Which means a line which can take advantage of the latest design of rolling stock which by design on a pound for pound basis is more efficent than anything we have today.

    We might dress this up as HS2, but to all intents and purposes , its an addition initially of 140 miles on twin rail track to the 10000 miles we already have which in the main was built in Victorian Times.

    I copy on here part of a recent letter sent by David Lidington (June 7th) in reply to questions asking about how our campaign was progressing.
    “The public consultation on HS2 is now well underway; with less than 52 days left to make your opinions known….It is also important that those with strong feelings about HS2 ask their friends and relatives nationwide to write to their local MP about the issue. As I have stated in recent public meetings, if there were a vote on HS2 in the House of Commons tomorrow, it is likely that it would receive wide support from MPs of all parties. HAVING SPOKEN TO COLLEAGUES WHOSE CONSTUENCIES DO NOT LIE ALONG THE ROUTE, THEY HAVE TOLD ME THAT THEY HAVE RECEIVED VERY LITTLE, IF ANY, CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING HS2. The best way to energise MPs is by their own constituents filling their post-bag, and so it is important that members of the public from areas across the UK write to their local MP to express their feelings about HS2.”
    That speaks volumes about the state of this so called ANTI HS2 campaign and should cause grave concern to all of us who joined to help.
    1) Where is ‘AGAHST, a federation formed of over 60 action groups based in areas from London to the Midlands, to oppose HS2?’ David Lidington has stated “HAVING SPOKENTO COLLEAGUES WHOSE CONSTUENCIES DO NOT LIE ALONG THE ROUTE, THEY HAVE TOLD ME THAT THEY HAVE RECEIVED VERY LITTLE, IF ANY, CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING HS2”.
    2) ‘The federation has acquired the services of PR experts, whose work is mainly behind the scenes’ Oh yes? According to our MP as of two days ago and again I quote “HAVING SPOKEN TO COLLEAGUES (MPs) WHO’S CONSTUENCIES DO NOT LIE ALONG THE ROUTE, THEY HAVE TOLD ME THAT THEY HAVE RECEIVED VERY LITTLE, IF ANY, CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING HS2”.
    3) ‘The impact can be seen in the national press’ what impact?
    4) ‘They also have contact with MPs and major organisations such as the Taxpayers’ Alliance, and are working on influencing opinion of those not directly affected’. Again I quote, “HAVING SPOKEN TO COLLEAGUES WHOSE CONSTUENCIES DO NOT LIE ALONG THE ROUTE, THEY HAVE TOLD ME THAT THEY HAVE RECEIVED VERY LITTLE, IF ANY, CORRESPONDENCE REGARDING HS2 so where is the evidence of this?
    At this late stage the feedback we are getting from our own MP does not engender confidence in the competence of ANTIHS2 to get our message across.
    We have to ratchet up our resistance now. Sorry to put you on the spot Penny, but it looks like we have all been grossly misled, including you. After over 3 months of campaigning, what are we going to do to rectify the situation and do it now while we still have time?

    • I have to say John that I DON’T feel “grossly misled”. I have attended meetings in village halls, organised by local StopHS2 reps and attended by local MPs, Parish Councils, County Councils and District Councils, to update local people on HS2. Including how to complete the Consultation questions, advice on writing to MPs, encouraging family and friends outwith the areas to write to their MP (mine have done so in Somerset and north of the border).

      Our MP has been extremely active and supportive with his time and his advice on how to proceed. In fact his latest advice has been to spend the remaining time encouraging completion of the Consultation document by all our contacts, and not spend time trying to convert MPs outwith the line – they have many issues of their own constituents in these difficult times to contend with. He believes that the most positive way to influence Government is through their own consultation.

      The Telegraph, the Financial Times and other national newspapers have commented at some length on the disadvantages of HS2 and obviously much has been written in the local press. TV and radio (including radio 4) have also given coverage. I have been given the opportunity to travel to seminars and conferences, protests and debates.

      There have been HS2 debates in Westminster Hall, questions in the House and a dvd sent to every MP. If they are not aware of the £billions to be spent at the expense of their own constituents services then it is most certainly not for want of information.

      Since when has this site been a subscription organisation? I read it regularly because I am deeply concerned by the prospect of HS2, and do what I can to further awareness.

      So far as I can gather it is only recently that you have started to blog here, and only last week after a great deal of capitalised comments, you announced you would no longer participate in the blogs. There is no doubt you feel as passionately as the rest of us about the folly of HS2. However you can only surmise at what a lot of work has been done since March 2010 by the protest groups and personally I think you are doing Penny and many others in the various local campaign groups a great disservice.

      • There you go John…..for once I ll agree with Lel.

        Ther is no point sat in the comfort of your own home having a pop at the leadership of stopHS2 in cyberspace, from what I can see some of these guys give up a lot of spare time out and about with tents and banners and heaven knows what else. No one has been misled about anything, HS2 have stated their plans in some detail for everyone to see, obviously not complete as yet as they are compiling data for north of Lichfield just now. I fully understand the emotional aspects of a huge piece of engineering coming your way, but the reality is that we are a powerful economic nation which has to keep re investing in our infrastructure ( be it schools , hospitals , roads or railway lines ). You may want to consider that the electricity that powers your PC spends part of its journey on high voltage lines stuck on pylons – which no doubt will be someones blight somewhere.

      • Hear!hear! Very well said,lelliO! Many of us have been labouring in the vineyard for over a year ,and don’t take kindly to all this sniping.Let John do what he claims others have failed to do.It’s bad enough having to read the rude and insulting comments from the “pro’s” on this site.

    • ..if there were a vote on HS2 in the House of Commons tomorrow, it is likely that it would receive wide support from MPs of all parties.

      Democracy eh? It is a nuisance at times isn’t it?

      • I ve been singing that tune for a good while now Rich…..

        I posted a link to my own MP the other day ( in Manchester ) , he is well aware of HS2 according to his blog, and is fully supportive of it.

        • You two. you crack me up! what a double act you both are! If the line ever gets built and you can afford the tickets, maybe you should come down here when it’s finished, we’ve got some great shops and shows that you can spend your money on. Why bother buying Local? (mind you the country will probably be bankrupt by then.)

          • Stuart ….I already do. I have family in West Ealing…..so easy by train and even easier when HS2 is built.

            • When I travel ‘up North’ I go via my car. Its so much more convenient. I can Pack the Mrs and Kids and all their stuff in the back, Diesel
              costs about 90 quid return. Up via the Brum Bypass Stop halfway, spend about 20 quid for a sandwiches. I find that traipsing into Kings cross to get a East coast line takes such a long time. I can be in Birmingham by then in the car.. (The hi speed line would only save about 2 hours.) And then there is the cost! Last time we went it was £300. And the hassle of getting a family table , The labyrinth ticket structure….
              Im sure I will be able to take my zero emissions British built car up with me by then. Powered by a large hamster wheel in France.

          • I’m still intrigued by this consultant mate of yours Stuart – the one whose insatiable demand for downloading data is such that the internet can’t cope with it and he actually has to fly to the source of the data, such as New Zealand. What does he do, and what is the nature of this data that can’t be downloaded in the same amount of time it takes to fly to New Zealand? Go on, I’m genuinely interested.

            • Data frames for feature films. These are large files that require quick interactive manipulation for calibration and management. He works for himself so any costs he incurs he has to pay out of his own pocket.
              His Broadband just dosen’t cut it for him. One big project he was involved with had large Blue Aliens…..

            • Data frames for feature films.

              Oh I see. So these data frames are so big he can’t download them over the internet during the 3 days minimum that it takes to get to New Zealand and get into the office. Thanks for clearing that up. And it goes without saying that there’s thousands of people all over the country battling with the same thorny issue of how to download data frames for feature films they’re working on, so your plea of “broadband not HS2” still applies.

            • Gary , that is what sometimes happens. Trouble is it’s not interactive it has to be re supplied with the corrections quickly.
              And there is always the issue of disc /loss security etc. FTP sites are too slow.

            • Gary , that is what sometimes happens. Trouble is it’s not interactive it has to be re supplied with the corrections quickly.

              So…he can’t supply the corrections via the internet as his connection isn’t quick enough, so he manages to travel over there and get into the office with them faster then a parcel could? And he does this for every change that has to be made? Or does he stay over there for the duration of the film being made, thus meaning he’s totally irrelevant in this debate?

            • I could do a diagram for the whole process but I don’t think it’s the remit of this site…..
              However the options are He flies to say- Nz with his laptop and customised software does the corrections there
              Using their local data , or they send him the files at home he does a skype session using files down the wire
              Applies the corrections send it they check it re do it etc. Like I said it’s just one example. Having a wonky dsl modem at home dosn’t cut it so he has to travel. He rents a house so he is stuck with what he had got.

            • So the bottom line is – is this one bloke’s circumstances a typical example of why you think spending money on fast broadband for everyone instead of HS2 is a good idea? Are there lots of people in his situation?

              (Clue: the answer=no).

            • The bottom line should we spend billions on something that will benefit a few or do we do a combination of measures to improve connectivity for everyone.(this is like trying to explain to someone who is so sold on the idea of Gas to light a house that there is something called the electric lighbulb.) The future will consist of moving large chunks of information of data more than we see know. If we don’t embrace this someone else like the south Koreans will.

            • No point in you moaning about money being spent on something other than HS2 if you’ve got no idea what good it’ll do. You want to take your crystal ball back to the shop. It’s on the blink.

        • In a strange way I sort of admire how John seems genuinely angry at the fact that MPs from all political parties are going to vote for something he doesn’t agree with, and he’s even more angry at some unpaid volunteers for not doing something about it. Must be something in the Chilterns water.

    • Hi again John,

      If you read the “breaking news” reports on the right of this page you might be heartened to read just how active local groups are.

    • I think it’s more to do with the layout. It’s getting a bit random as to what we are replying to. I’ve run out of reply buttons…

      • There’s a limit on the number of embedded comments. But you’ll have a new article to discuss tomorrow…

        • Two days ago I commentated on here that David Lidington an MP heavily involved in helping prevent the HS2 expenditure said that many of the MP colleagues he had spoken to “have told me that they have received very little, if any, correspondence regarding HS2.”
          This, after all the work the volunteers have done since March 2010
          What has the reaction been to that news? None! Save that the site has been filled up with exchanges between two evidently pro HS2 campaigners, in order to block further comment. Well done boys a truly professional job that our people could learn a lot from.
          Our Prime Minister, David Cameron, asked for 100,000 signatures. Why is it no one seems capable of collating the figures and giving me an answer as to how many you and your volunteers have got?
          And what did David Lidington really say two days ago? Over 600 MPs have received very little or no correspondence regarding HS2. i.e. Over 600 MPs don’t really know what HS2 is about?
          Now you say that your MP’s latest advice has been to spend the remaining time encouraging completion of the Consultation document by all contacts, and not spend time trying to convert their MPs – they have many issues of their own constituents to contend with in these difficult times. But can’t you see it is precisely those issues that would make it so easy to persuade MPs to help stop further expenditure on HS2. Are you saying that two local MPs are not singing from the same hymn sheet? That there is no overall controlled strategy from the organizing body of this group?
          For me the saddest part of all this , after the effort you good people have put in, there is no surprise comments on here, people like Rich and Gary just giggle and make puerile remarks filling up the site that do nothing to help the Group.
          You say I have only just started to blog here, yes, because I was interested in how the group was progressing.
          If Penny will not or cannot stop the subversive activities of the likes of Gary and Rich, then I will make them this offer, I would like to show those two that there is a real world out there, and perhaps learn what the word humanity means. I promise , on here, to visit with them and a TV news camera crew any housing estate of their choice ( there you go Gary your 5 minutes of fame ) in order that they might enquire how the house holder would wish to see £17 billion pounds spent other than on 140 miles of railway. I assume that our PR people could arrange this.
          As a follow up I will happily lead a team of volunteers to the four main line London stations at evening rush hour to hand out leaflets explaining the costings of HS2, siting examples of where the money could be better spent, and incorporating the petition that would be collected the following evening.
          In return I would ask only two things, I want decent banners to draw the attention of the commuters, (what on earth does HS2 stand for, and mean to anyone outside the corridor?) and would wish to see sight of the proposed wording of the leaflets.
          Now boys, you have achieved an objective that should get you a bonus. You have managed to fill the site up with distractions blocking further comment when we have just found out that we have been very badly let down by those supposedly controlling and guiding what the volunteers are doing. So, boys, put up or shut up If you cannot accept the reality that the majority live in a world uncosseted like you two, and let me show you, then you have no right to push your opinions on a society about which you appear to have no knowledge.

    • Rich you did ask. I just gave one example where capacity and speed would make a difference to one buisiness.
      I know that it takes a bit of imagination to envisage why this would be necessary but it seems
      That the shoe is on the other foot why this would be a good thing. Or do we just make do with what we’ve got?
      And I’m not talking about railways.-

      • Stuart – the example you gave was so far-fetched it’s barely believable, and it most certainly does not apply to 99.9% of the population. I asked what is it exactly that the vast majority of people will be able to do with super-fast broadband that they cannot do now? Explain it to me – I am listening this time, I promise.

        • You asked for an example I gave you one. I don’t care whether you think its far fetched or not. Your right. why on earth would we
          need super fast broadband its madness surely? Mind you you could troll websites a lot quicker.

          • Oh I see, I’m a troll. I asked you a perfectly reasonable question about an alternative to HS2 solution you put forward – you haven’t got one, because you have no idea what you’re talking about, and that makes me a troll.

            • Did I ever say that it was an alternative? Scroll to the top of the page and read the banner. I’ll give you a clue. Its in big read
              letters. That is the name of the website. And I don’t know what Im talking about regarding what exactly?

            • Rich, I think there has been a little misunderstanding here. The mistake is the word “troll” which was used in error. “Trawl” is the appropriate word for searching through the internet, an easy mistake to make. There was no intention to insult you. Mistake and misread. Simples!

            • Interesting you should point that out Lel……I ve just received an E mail from a journalist on the Ealing Gazette. There was a link from this site to a HS2 article which contained a major error…..they were quoting the cost of the line from Birmingham to London as £33 biilion.

              They have told me it has now been rectified, though of course it would have been read by now by thousands or Ealing residents

            • Did I ever say that it was an alternative?

              Yes Stuart you did:

              stuartf says:
              June 9, 2011 at 10:07 am…

              I know John. Just imagine how much we could spend instead on super fast broadband for the whole country to compete in an international marketplace.

              And I don’t know what Im talking about regarding what exactly?

              I’ll repeat the question again – what is it exactly that the vast majority of people (not globe-trotting film makers) will be able to do with faster broadband that they cannot do now, and why will it cut the demand for rail travel? What is this data that everyone will be shunting around that means HS2 isn’t needed?


      Well @John Williams, far be it from me to acquaint you with the obvious but it could be that the reason why MPs whose constituencies do not lie along the route have received very little, if any correspondance regarding HS2 is simply because the only people who are protesting about HS2 are those who reside in close proximity to the proposed route?

      The rest of us, ie. about 99.9% of the population are either;
      • Not bothered, because the events concerned are far off in the relatively distant future
      • Vaguely in favour because they can perceive the value of investing in transport infrastructure and rail (in general) always gets the thumbs up from the public
      • Genuinely supportive of HS2 because they understand the huge potential added value it will bring to the British economy, particularly when it comes to redressing the gross and increasing disparities between a relatively affluent London/SE England and its impoverished peripheral counterparts across the rest of the UK

      Sorry to be break this bad news to you but just maybe you might begin to see how isolated the anti-HS2 campaign is?

      • You could well be right Peter, Let’s try and find out the feel of the country shall we?
        Why not ask your Mum and Dad as a start? Then join Rich, Gary myself and a TV News camera crew and hand out a few leaflets along the following lines
        A £17,000,000,000 XMAS GIFT
        At this time of austerity and Government and Council cutbacks, in December the Government is to make available over £17 billion pounds for us to spend.
        We have a choice how to spend some or all of it, Indicate yours:-
        ….. National Health Service
        ….. Care of the elderly
        ….. Education
        ….. Social Services
        ….. Armed Forces
        ….. Police
        ….. Housing
        ….. Better road conditions and more efficient transport infrastructure
        ….. spend All £17billion on a new 140 mile rail link between Birmingham and London

        • @John Williams: “At this time of austerity and Government and Council cutbacks, in December the Government is to make available over £17 billion pounds for us to spend”

          But that’s just it @John Williams

          The £17billion isn’t being spent NOW as in during this “time of austerity” as you put it.

          In fact if you’re looking for massive infrastructure projects to cancel right NOW you could try CrossRail or ThamesLink, you know, those projects currently swallowing up £2billion per annum that could be spent on
          ….. National Health Service
          ….. Care of the elderly
          ….. Education
          ….. Social Services
          ….. Armed Forces
          ….. Police
          ….. Housing
          ….. Better road conditions and more efficient transport infrastructure

          It’s your choice – just don’t shout too loudly about down in London – the residents might get a bit upset?

          Your argument might just hold water if there was some truth in it – however as it’s utter bunkem perhaps we should discuss matters with more substance. In short, when you’ve got a better argument, be sure to come back and post it on the site.

          Meantime, back in reality – I still think spending £2billion per annum (you know the same amount the government is spending right NOW during “this time of austerity”) on a step change improvement in rail infrastructure to increase connectivity between peripheral UK Regions and the rest of Europe, is a very sound investment (but then I reside in said peripheral UK Regions, so maybe I’m biased?)

          • You’re forgetting the £750 million being spent this parliament and that by then the debt will be well over a trillion pounds.

            • @John “You’re forgetting the £750 million being spent this parliament and that by then the debt will be well over a trillion pounds.”

              So @John (different John?) that would be £150million per annum out of an annual transport budget somewhere in the region of £30billion+ (or less than 0.5%)

              Not quite the headline grabber that trying to mislead the public into thinking all £17billion (of course why not just go the whole hog and pretend it’s the £32billion for the whole scheme, or maybe you could just inflate the figure to anything you like – after all reality/facts and the anti-HS campaign don’t seem to cross paths too often?) is being spent right NOW is, is it?

        • Oh, by the way, my Mum also thinks the principle of HS2 is a good idea (but she also lives up here in the wild North so she must be biased as well), even though she’s very unlikely to benefit from its construction (being 85 right now) Sorry, can’t ask my Dad as he’s no longer with us

            • @John

              Perhaps rugged might be a more appropriate descriptive term

              Those who reside in the peripheral UK, Regions – approx populations as follows:
              North West England 6.73million
              North East England 2.52million
              Yorks-Humber 4.96million
              East Midlands 4.17million
              West Midlands 5.27 million
              South West England 4.93million
              Wales 3.00million
              Northern Ireland 1.78million
              Scotland 5.17million

              or approx 63% of the current UK population, outside the more affluent, London, East of England & SE.England corner of the country, consider ourselves persistently marginalised – the old joke about civilisation stopping at Watford Gap doesn’t go down too well up here in NW.England

              It’s true that the South East corner of the UK generates the majority of its wealth, ever since Mrs.T destroyed the manufacturing heart of Britain, but they sure as hell get their fare share of finite resources. When it comes to High Speed Rail the contrast is stark indeed.

              Fancy a trip to Paris, just because it’s Saturday (to quote a Eurostar adline) – no problem if you live in London – just hop on a tube to St. Pancras and away you go. Now just where did the £6.3 billion come from to make HS1 and St. Pancras a reality – let me think – it came from the general taxpayer, as in all UK taxpayers, me included.

              HS2 is simply a bit of prid pro quo, an evening out of the allocation of finite public resources!

        • John ….what do you think of the fact that our Government is now contributing £6.4 billion per year to the EU? This actually equates to the amount that the European parliament spends on administration alone.

          Until a couple of years ago, we were contributing around £4.1 billion per year…….its interesting to note that the difference between the 2 figures also equates to the yearly spend on HS2 for the next 17 years.

        • @John Williams: “Let’s try and find out the feel of the country shall we?”

          Speaking of the feel of the country (with regard to HS2 presumably) – don’t bother because those kind folk at the DfT have already done it for us. You can find the results here:

          Makes for interesting reading – sadly for those viscerally opposed to HS2, the news is not good – it would seem that generally speaking the country (as a whole) is overwhelmingly supportive of the project, though understandably they’re concerned about the cost

          • On page 15 of that , when asked ” where did you hear about the proposed High Speed Rail Scheme, just 4% replied ” internet ”

            If there ever was a fact to underline that this site as a ” deliverer of the message ” is a waste of time, then surely that is it !!!!!

          • depends what they were told as—–.’Most respondents felt they knew relatively little about the Scheme: one in ten (11%) said they knew a fair amount or a great deal about it, whereas four in ten (42%) said they knew a little or not very much at all. The remainder (47%) knew nothing about the Scheme’.

            • errrr………………..@John

              Hence my original point that a large percentage of the public are;
              “• Not bothered, because the events concerned are far off in the relatively distant future”

          • But you’ve also missed the bit where it said that 44% were in the undecided or neutral category. That can be hardly be interpreted as “the country (as a whole) is overwhelmingly supportive of the project,”, especially as the report says that only 12% were stronggly in favour.

            And interesting for a report that says it is a survey of “all adults”, buried in the detail is the statement “It should be noted that none of the respondents in the survey lived in post codes due to be directly affected by the line as currently proposed.”

            (And you missed the link on the website where Hammond went to Birmingham again last week to beg businesses there yet again to support for Hs2…)

            • You can spin it any way you like @Joanne

              Fact is, the broad conclusion is that majority consensus across the UK population as a whole, is fully behind the idea of HS2.

              Yes, of course the relatively fine detail of the project is still up for grabs in the public mindset but those in the anti-HS2 brigade really should desist from claims that the “country is with them” on this matter, because quite clearly, they aren’t!!!

            • Better check your maths, Peter. The survey says 47% of the people surveyed backed high speed rail – not necessarily HS2, the rest were against it or undecided. That’s less then half the people in the survey, and doesn’t make a majority, and doesn’t make a consensus.

            • @Joanne

              Well I suppose the 9% of people who are either strongly against (4%) or against (5%) makes up a majority?

              If anyone needs to check their maths @Joanne, maybe it’s you!

              With 47% of those sampled in the definite YES camp, 9% in the definite NO camp, 22% ambivalent and the remaining 22% undecideds or don’t knows, I think I’m on fairly safe ground in claiming a consensus in favour.

              But don’t believe me, go and ask an expert in statistical analysis?

            • To be fair, the survey was carried out over 1 week in February, and 2047 actually took part…….which is the equivalent of the population of Great Missenden……hardly earth shattering stuff to be honest.

              But as I , and Peter today , have pointed out, the overwhelming majority of the great British public couldnt give two hoots about it. Government is spending just 20p per £100 of total UK plc spend on this which is peanuts in the bigger picture.

            • @Gary: “2047 actually took part”

              In sampling terms, this is actually quite a big survey. Most samples are based on approx populations of 1000.

              10000 is considered huge, allowing drill down into sub-groups within the entire sample population but 2047 is still quite big and significant in terms of statistical validity,ie. the conclusions you can draw from it

            • I know the answer—lets have a national consultation with lots of roadshows and brochures and interactive maps and sound booths and hs2/dft staff

            • Peter, you can claim a consensus all you like, but at least you have stopped claiming that the country is “overwhelmingly supportive” of HS2 now you’ve looked at what the survey said, rather then just glancing at the headlines.

  6. Franchises lengths are not relevant. You need to ask the question ‘ How long does the asset last?’ if you know how long the asset lasts, then you know how long you will get a return on investment.

    And in the case of our existing Victorian Heritage railway that is currently operated, the clue is in my description 🙂

  7. On Nov. 29th you said “The online Stop HS2 petition reached 20,000 signatures at the weekend. We are over a fifth of the way to getting 100,000 signatures – and that’s important because in February, David Cameron said any petition with over 100,000 signatures will be debated in Parliament”.
    I have noticed that whatever aspect or topic brought up on here to further and develop ideas to prevent the HS2 expenditure, is diverted and sidetracked into squabbles on specifics. One should not need reminding that this is supposed to be a “STOP HS2”, not a discussion group of a dozen or so people, most of them vociferously pro HS2 and who spend so much time on here that it might well make one think they are employed to divert our attention away from the issues we are attempting to address.
    With so few commentators imputing onto the site some vetting of much of the vindictive that bears little or no relevance to our objectives should be considered. It is, after all, an ANTI HS2 group
    At this point in time there are clearly much greater priorities and demands on our resources than updating a single transport link 140 miles long. We should be discussing how best to bring pressure to bear on all the MPs, and how to inform the general public of this wasteful need of public money when across the board the government is imposing financial restrictions on everything else that affects our daily lives.
    I have suggested teams hitting the main line stations at peak hour, have investigated the cost of leaflet targeting by the Post Office (approx £40 a thousand) if selected properly, and I am sure that there are many more ideas to be considered but first lets concentrate on the 100,000 petition. How many do we have now and what is the best way of encouraging more to sign?

    • John…..as I keep saying, this site doesnt make a scrap of difference to a decision that is going to be made by a vote of MPs, who we voted in ourselves to do a job that the vast majority of us is simply not interested in.

      stopHS2 have already achieved the best they are going to do, by landing a 13 page document in front of the Transport Select Commitee, but by all means go and knock on the door of every single one of the 20 million households in the UK and spread the word. I ll guarentee you will be disappointed with the reaction you get.

      • Oh I wish,
        Gary I will happily pay you to see you go knocking on doors informing Joe public that at this moment in time you intend to spend £17 billion on 140 miles of new railway, rather than better equip their local hospital for their sick relatives, better care of their elderly relatives, better local education for their children, better roads to drive upon, more efficient local train service, better protection when they walk the streets at night, to name but the first concerns that comes to mind. Unfortunately Gary I don’t think any of us can guarantee that there will be a place even inside the hospital corridor to which you will hope to be taken for attention if you do, and as much as you deserve to be treated like the fool you portray, unlike you some of us still know what our priorities are, so please don’t do it, reality sometimes has an ugly face. Oh, by the way, you haven’t forgotten you were asked to explain your leader, Prof. Begg’s comment, that HS1 was a successful investment will you?

          • Thought I answered that? The concession to operate servcies has been sold for a 30 year period by London and Continental Rail who wholly own HS1. LCR is wholly owned by the government – LCR have other interests as well.

            The freehold to HS1 remains…in other words no one can shut down the line and build on it. Capex cost are paid for by a charge called Investment Recovery Charge, which is part of the track access contract. In effect the price paid is revenue up front at a discount, good deal for the pension fund as it will be relying on increased traffic on the route which is looking very likely to make a decent profit. Network Rail remain as asset guardians.

    • Totally agree

      We should have a closed forum where only anti HS2 points are raised/discussed as we only have a very short time to stop this.
      One of the frustrations is that there is nobody to talk to so everything has to be done online so lets concentrate on the key issues.

      • For clarity it is John Williams I agree with–Penny please would you acknowledge that you have seen our comments—thanks a lot

        • Hi John and John Williams. Yes I’ve seen your comments and forwarded them to some people. If anyone wants to set up such a discussion group which is moderated like that, I think it would be a great idea.

          • I cannot believe that after all the comments that have been made about democracy on this site and about having a consultation you are seriously planning to have a stop hs2 love in where you can all agree with each other about how terrible hs2 is. i thought you all wanted a serious debate, what is the point in just agreeing with people who alrady share your viewpoint ?

  8. Rich , it’s not me the one who is loosing the rag methinks…
    Gary says that whatever is said on the internet is irrelevant to the
    Descision so whats wrong with a bit of speculation regarding future technology?

    Do I think that Hs 2 will sort out the North south devide? No.
    Is spending 33 billion worth it when it benefits so few? No.
    Is it a green solution. No.
    Do I think we should build 2 new aircraft carriers that won’t carry any aircraft? No.
    Do I think windfarms will fill the energy gap? No.
    Its just my opinion as much as it is yours or anyone else’s. Like I’ve said before
    We don’t live in China.
    It’s just my opinion as much as it is yours or

    • Totally agree Stuart
      Pro HS2 people seem to have no concept of value for money or of how to gain competetive advantage in a very complex world

      • …..I know John. Just imagine how much we could spend instead on super fast broadband for the whole country
        to compete in an international marketplace.

        • Most large businesses have the fastest net access available right now, and the vast majority of homes have fast enough access to work from home, but rail passenger numbers are still going up. How will faster internet access than we already have help us to compete in an international marketplace any more so than we can do now?

          • I can only speak for myself by giving an example. We employ a consultant who is a world wide specialist in his field.
            He lives in Brum. When we have him down for the day he brings the files he has worked on on his laptop/hard drive.
            He spends his own money coming down via the Chiltern line and organizing his own overnight stay. It would be much easier to do the same task with those files remotely from home if he had a decent bandwidth/internet connection. He also has to travel abroad , this involves America, New Zealand etc. Again the same work could be done at home but because of the limitations of his connection it’s not possible. Hi speed rail is just not on his radar for his buisiness.

            • What happened to 72% of passengers being west-end shoppers, for which broadband would make no difference? Assuming that’s incorrect – where I live, there’s no cable, so I have to rely on a shonky ADSL connection. Works perfectly well for video conferencing, downloading gigabytes of files etc. I’m not sure that everyone is in the same situation as one bloke you know who needs to download/upload so much stuff that his connection can’t cope, so I doubt that everyone gettting broadband access is going to open up a world of opportunities to such an extent as to render HS2 redundant. And his company can’t stump up for a private connection to his house as opposed to paying for him to fly around the world? Seriously? I’m having a hard time buying that one. Flights and hotels must cost a fortune – he could put in a private connection for far less.

              Simply upping connection speeds is not going to allow businesses to do things they can’t technically do now.

            • Well to quote your own spiel its about capacity and speed. And surely those west end shoppers would be
              better spent in Birmingham, Manchester leeds etc.

          • Interestingly the arguments for HS2 regarding Capacity, Load, projected use can equally be used for upgrading our internet connections. Our present infrastructure is analogous to a small gauge railway in a mine pulled by donkeys.

      • No concept of value for money …….hmmm thats an interesting accusation to hurl at pro HS2 campaigners. Of course this project would never have got off the ground if it had failed the goverments cost to benefit ratio test. Whether those figures are ultimately right would only be proven by the test of time, but the hard facts right now indicate they are more likely to be correct than wrong. I also keep seeing this broadband argument , but of course broadband and net connection has been around for a good few years now, and yet our desire to travel by train palne and automobile shows no sign of abating. In fact , to put John straight as he seems not to realise on what competitive advantage is, Nissan announced the other day that they were investing in the Sunderland plant to produce the latest model of Qashkai, and only this morning, BMW announced a 500 million investment to boost production of its Mini and Rolls-Royce models and of BMW engines in the UK. These companies could pick anywhere in the world to produce what they do….yet they choose here because at the end of the day it gives them a competitive advantage.

        • And where are the cost/benefit analyses for the other options

          I dont need a lecture from you as I spent many years working in major corporations in highly competitive markets and the basic rule is that you always lead and never follow

          • Who is lecturing who here ? I m simply pointing out whats freely available on the BBC news website? Of course its all very well leading and being successful, until somebody copies that……

            Dont get so upset John, its cyperspace , and whatever you and I post on here will not make a scrap of difference to the fact that a new rail line is going to be built North to South.

            • I’m not upset Gary just frustrated by the lack of competence and vision of our so called leaders.
              If they were in a private business they would be long gone and dont say you can always vote them out because the next lot will be just as bad.

            • IS going to be built Gary? As you have already agreed with me few weeks ago, there should be a public inquiry. Why doesn’t the government want one – bacause they know that the busines case, the environmental case etc, etc just won’t stack up to cross examination. So what do they do – they argue that HS2 is a project not a plan or programme under EU directives which they believe means no public inquiry needed. Result – dictatorship to stifle all opposition. Well we’ll see about that…….

            • I m certain it will Simon….and I would advocate a full public inquiry like you said. But even it that happened, I suspect it would just prove the case for it to be honest…

        • Gary you are an IT man. Surely you can see the advantage of Gigabyte connections? Some people in remote areas are still using dial up modems. And that is great news about the motor sector in the North. Who make…Cars!

          • To be honest Stuart…..I m just waiting for the backlash against all this personal technology, you might wanna read the link below from the BBC. It appears that Big Brother is defo watching……and the idea that living somewhere like the Chilterns ( rail or no rail ) with no personal technology whatsoever is going to seem a lot more appealing to a lot of people before too long


          Fact:GARY, Your Leader Prof Begg said “ Look at the success of investment in HS1. Original projections predicted that HS1 would unlock £500m of investment, but an independent report issued in 2009 put the value of HS1 at almost £20bn – forty times the original estimate”
          You will be aware it was actually sold off for billions less than it cost.to build..
          Your thesis and diatribe for today? explain please

          • The government announced on 5 November 2010 that a concession to operate the line for 30 years had been sold for £2.1 billion to a consortium of Canadian investors.[14] Under the concession, HS1 Ltd has the rights to sell access to track and to the four international stations (St Pancras, Stratford, Ebbsfleet and Ashford) on a commercial basis, under the scrutiny of the Office of Rail Regulation. At the end of 30 years, ownership of the assets will revert to government.[4

            • I have a question, which may or may not be be totally irrelevant. The concession (or franchise, as I heard it described by a DfT employee) to operate HS1 is for 30 years. How long do normal UK rail franchises last?

            • Please answer the question Gary,
              . How does that explain your leader Prof. Begg’s comment that HS1 was a successful investment when it was sold or lessed off for a fraction of its costs.Wouldn’t you at least recognise that that was an illjudged misleading statement that could well have swayed some opinions?

            • @Rose Full list of UK rail franchises and their lengths here


              But really franchises lengths in terms of this bit of debate are not relevant. You need to ask the question ‘ How long does the asset last?’ if you know how long the asset lasts, then you know how long you will get a return on investment.

              And in the case of our existing Victorian Heritage railway that is currently operated, the clue is in my description

              (now I have posted it in the right place!!)

            • HS2 Ltd said life of rolling stock is about 30 years. If HS2 goes ahead when it comes to buying stock they expect 2/3 world’s HSR stock will be produced in China. Just as well if it’s leased we would have barely recouped the money (with interest) for the first lot by the time it needs replacing.

        • Gary , just got back from a day trip to Belfast. Door to door 2.5 hours each way , great experience , time for breakfast at Birmingham and a pint at George Best airport .

          I had a great book to read which just about lasted the combined flight times of 1 hr 50 mins . Funniest thing I’ve read in ages , at least since I last read it about 4 weeks ago. It’s called ” Economic Case for HS2 : The Y Network and London — West Midlands ( February 2011 ) .

          All your talk about Benefit Cost Ratio got me thinking. What on earth is “agglomeration” , it’s a round number of £ 3.000 bn so it must be very special ?

          Page 54 tells me that the BCR goes up with every year that the project is deferred . I’ve never seen one of those before .

          Also never seen a sensitivity analysis before that doesn’t change an assumption ( maximum demand ) just when you get there .

          Also could you tell me where the capital cost for rolling stock is on Table 10 on P43 . I’m sure it’s just the airpressure on my sinuses , there is no way that would have been left out , but I am curious where it is buried . I’m sure you can help me because I know you know everything . But just in case you don’t please feel free to check with the guys in the office tomorrow.

            • Sorry , just assumed you had some useful contacts . If you are all alone and just (highly) driven by your own personal motivations please accept my sincere apologies for any scurrilous slur that you might be involved in any shape or form , directly or indirectly , with anyone who stands to benefit from HS2 .

              But since you do ( at the very least ) know most things can you put me straight on my queries anyway ?

            • Im a part time student Martin……

              Capital cost of rolling stock……dont know!! Unless the plan is to do what everyone else does and lease the trains from a ROSCO such as Angel trains who supply the pendolinos to West Coast. ??

              Whats a sensitivity analysis in plain English?

            • Has anyone noticed that the one article that Penny has posted which appears to actually support HS2 ( ie this one ) has got the most responses??

            • OK Gary I will assume you either don’t know or that you agree that the BCR is a load of cock but don’t care anyway .

            • Martin….let me put you straight……neither me or YOU are going to know if the BCR is right or not. No doubt there are a whole load of analysts, economists and advisors who have thrown their 2 penneth in and come up with some mind boggling numbers the likes of which the average Joe simply cant relate to. But what I cant argue against ( and neither can you guys ) is the fact that there is a capacity issue creeping up which will not accomadate the rate of growth ( which is highly desirable for a good number of reasons ).

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