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Topic Title: E&T magazine - Debate - HS2, the need for speed
Topic Summary: HS2, the need for speed
Created On: 17 April 2013 10:54 AM
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 27 September 2013 07:10 PM
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westonpa

Posts: 1771
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"How are the ex-Olympic Gurus and Sages going to manage on an unpopular project when they can't icrease the budget anymore and can't bring the army in to run it?"

Simple, you build what you can with the budget you have and let's say you get to 90% of the line laid. Ooops Mr Chancellor we are 15 miles short, despite all the highly paid and best people on the project. Alternatively you cut back on the spend and instead of 225mph the trains are reduced to 205mph and so on.

The point is you just build what you can and if you come up short the tax payer will have to put up the remainder of the money, for obvious reasons.

Look at one of the bigger projects where private companies/banks were required to pick up the tab, i.e., the Channel Tunnel, how's that been doing for profit? The private companies have learned their lessons on these bigger projects and will be instead looking to rake in the £££'s from the unlimited tax payer purse. Yes of course there will be parliamentary oversight, by elected MP's who suddenly become experts in this area by the fact they are elected. Note how they stopped the banks failing and the large pay off's at the BBC.

No, this project has it's benefits, but they will come at a very large cost.

Regards.
 02 October 2013 03:39 PM
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jarathoon

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Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin confirms that HS2 project is now being run by the mythological "Olympic Dream Team".

[former Locog bosses Sir David Higgins, now HS2 chairman, and infrastructure minister Lord Deighton]

"HS2: London-based critics should 'stop moaning' says minister"

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24329284

He added: "We will do everything we can to squeeze every penny of economic benefit out of the line and cut down costs."

Perhaps he would like to compare how the cost and timescales could be reduced by changing the route for example.

The propaganda message is that HS2 is a "heart bypass" for the rest of the rail network. However this particular heart by-pass will leak so much blood [to expand the metaphor], that it will drain the life out of the rest of the rail system of life and turn it anaemic.

Critics may stop 'moaning' if Patrick McLoughlin decides to start listening and responding in an intellectually considered fashion to the accusation that the government has chosen the wrong route, on the wrong timescale, and for the wrong cost.

Instead of trying to bulldoze a badly designed project through, with his new "dream team", Patrick McLoughlin should do something far more radical; he should find a way for the government to start serving the real transport interests and needs of the electorate for once, instead of trying to defend and serve the selfish needs of top level government officials who never like to admit they are on the wrong path until most of the available budget has been poured down the drain.

They don't care, it doesn't matter to them; they can build a leaky heat bypass that continually requires that the UK taxpayer be bled for more money to operate, and still get their bonuses, golden goodbyes, honours and titles.

Should we "stop moaning" and let the taxpayer bloodletting continue, to feed a badly designed and leaky heart by-pass?

No of course not. This dysfunctional government gravy train of a project will not arrive on time and to budget, unless the moaning continues.

James Arathoon


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James Arathoon
 02 October 2013 09:23 PM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: jarathoon
He added: "We will do everything we can to squeeze every penny of economic benefit out of the line and cut down costs."

Yes they did a fine job with the West Coast Main Line bid, so maybe they are drafting in Sir Richard Branson as an advisor!
Critics may stop 'moaning' if Patrick McLoughlin decides to start listening and responding in an intellectually considered fashion to the accusation that the government has chosen the wrong route, on the wrong timescale, and for the wrong cost.

But that would require an intellect.
They don't care, it doesn't matter to them; they can build a leaky heat bypass that continually requires that the UK taxpayer be bled for more money to operate, and still get their bonuses, golden goodbyes, honours and titles.

No need to care, it's your money they are spending. How many bank CEO's did you see crying after the financial crisis? Did you see Pattern crying after the BBC pay offs? No, it's not their money.
No of course not. This dysfunctional government gravy train of a project will not arrive on time and to budget, unless the moaning continues.

That's the sound of inevitibility Mr Anderson!

Regards.
 02 October 2013 11:50 PM
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jarathoon

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Originally posted by: westonpa

But that would require an intellect.



I live in hope.

Reform to the civil service must come eventually.

HS2, a railway farce

Critic: HS2 is too expensive. I believe it can be made cheaper for this reason and that reason (some of my thinking is outlined above in this forum).

21C Railway Propaganda Department: HS2 is good for Britain, it is the engine for growth.

Critic: HS2 will take too long to build. In the process of making the project cheaper I believe it can be built quicker. We can also save money on later projects, such as electrifying the Chiltern Line.

21C Railway Propaganda Department: The existing HS2 project is an essential heart bypass for Britain.

Critic: In the process of building the project quicker and for less money, I believe we can make it much better, with a more flexible set of interconnections with the existing network, for this reason and that reason (some of my thinking is outlined above in this forum).

21C Railway Propaganda Department: Don'y you know anything: Our existing railways are so Victorian! We need a railway for the Twenty First Century. We've fed up with all this moaning so we've now changed things: the existing HS2 design will now be delivered by Olympic dream team instead.

Critic: But changing who is running the project without changing the design won't help reduce costs or speed the build time. What if people can't afford to travel on HS2? Have you worked out the price of the tickets and any subsidy needed?

21C Railway Propaganda Department: Didn't you hear us, the existing HS2 design will now be delivered by Olympic dream team, what more can you ask! If people can't afford to travel by HS2, they should claim the costs back in their expenses like we do in the civil service and government.

Critic: I give up. Can I earn some money writing the Lessons Learned report...I have some good ideas for the main themes already.

21C Railway Propaganda Department: No of course not, you have to be a loyal civil service or establishment insider to write Lessons Learned reports; are you stupid or something, don't you know anything about Britain. Go away, leave us in peace to waste your money in which ever way we please, and to later cover up any evidence of incompetence in which ever way we please.

James Arathoon


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James Arathoon
 05 October 2013 03:43 PM
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westonpa

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Now come on James we employ only experts to make these decisions:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-24396224

"The MP for Chelmsford has been responsible for the controversial HS2 rail link during the past year, having previously been a health minister."

MP's have the brains to do it all!

Regards.
 05 October 2013 03:59 PM
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jarathoon

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On "the Rail Engineer" website Tim Smart, Head of Engineering and Operations, HS2 Ltd pens the "HS2 fights back" piece.

http://www.therailengineer.com...0/04/hs2-fights-back/

"The reason for building HS2 can sometimes be obscured in the fog of argument about whether people work on trains, benefit-cost ratios (BCR) and the like. Writes Tim Smart, Head of Engineering and Operations, HS2 Ltd"


No it has been obscured by politicians favouring incoherent rhetoric over grounded argument.

"There have been a number of negative comments in the media during the latter part of the summer concerning the likely outturn costs of HS2. Some from notable sources, but it is far from clear on what real basis these comments have been made."


Sources being the national audit office for example. People also believe that if you were to choose a different route along existing corridors which didn't require so much land to be bought and so many tunnels to be dug that you would save significant amounts of money and reduce the timescale for the work considerably.

" It seems to me they were made more on the narrow and short sighted view that big infrastructure projects are not successful in meeting cost targets than a proper understanding of the proposals and strategies behind HS2.They also ignore recent successful projects such as the Heathrow Terminal 5, 2012 Olympics and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link - HS1."


The case for the current HS2 route and project plan must be made and judged on its own merits, not on the merits of other infrastructure projects both here and abroad. The next few paragraphs relating to HS1 are largely irrelevant to the case for HS2.

"HS2 is currently in the final stages of preparation for the Hybrid Bill for Phase 1 (London to Birmingham). This, amongst other things, means we must have a reference design in sufficient detail to ensure we can build, operate and maintain HS2 to provide the expected benefits."


But the reference design has been made without comparison to a lower cost design that largely uses existing Chiltern Line rail corridors.
The billions of pounds extra to run the new route can then be explicitly defended as a separate cost item.

"To do this, a more significant amount of engineering has to be carried out than that directly evidenced by the spatial arrangements articulated on the drawings, plans and sections which form the key engineering documents underpinning the Hybrid Bill. This has involved designing all the key elements along the route in sufficient detail to deliver the required railway parameters and balance the engineering proposals with other important environmental factors, associated mitigation and of course cost."


Yes I believe you have largely wasted your time and tax payers money on this work. This is unfortunate but the costs are low, compared to the savings that can be made by choosing to run the line as far as is possible along the existing Chiltern line corridor.

"[HS2] is about capacity and connectivity."


Running the line as far as is possible along the existing Chiltern line corridor (some ideas for this are given in the discussion above), would increase capacity and have give much better connectivity between London and Birmingham than the existing plans. Trains running could run into Snow Hill (and up to Wolverhampton) (and some trains into New Street Station) by upgrading the existing 2 track Chiltern line running into Birmingham (on the old 4 line bed) to 4 track.

I could try to find more substantial cost savings at the London end, but the technical and political difficulties are much greater there and this would be extremely time-consuming for me without the sort of technical back up services you enjoy. Nevertheless if you want to carry on being paid for doing your job whilst encouraging volunteers to produce a much more politically acceptable cost effective engineering design for free, then please would you let me or the IET know.

James Arathoon


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James Arathoon
 05 October 2013 08:18 PM
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jarathoon

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I'll now consider the HS2 phase 2 North of Birmingham

My design for phase 1 the Line is

London Paddington [Old Oak Common?]
Stop at a new carpark station M25 Gerrards Cross?
High Wycombe
Bicester
(Bypassing to the east of Banbury]
Birmingham [Snow Hill / New Street / Moor Street]

[This would involve building a new light railway commuter line out from West Ruislip Central Underground station. This could include making a connection to the single line coming north from Maidenhead if rail planners wanted to allow travel between High Wycombe and Slough and Reading without going into through London.]

It would be good if the new line in London could connect though the Crossrail link to Stratford and then on to HS1.

At the moment the plan is to build a new line running up the east side of Birmingham to connect to Birmingham and its Airport to Manchester. Well Scrap that.

I think the new line should split as it bypasses to the east of Banbury, with a second line roughly heading up the old Grand Central line route to Rugby [and short hop to Coventry by Classic], Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham (Underground and perpendicular to existing mainline station) and then on to Sheffield.

At Sheffield the line should spit, one line going to Wakefield and Leeds and one going in a new long length tunnel under the pennines to Manchester (that can take goods traffic as well, when the weather across the pennines is bad).

A new fast line between Leeds. Manchester and Liverpool could be built completing a triangle new fast connections to link the main Northern cities. The overall line length would be roughly equivalent to the existing HS2 plans.

The connection between Manchester and Birmingham is sacrificed for a lot more connectivity elsewhere across the North.

This connects

London
Bicester
Rugby
Leicester,
Loughborough,
Nottingham,
Sheffield

With Split to either
Wakefield and Leeds or Manchester

New Optional Fast Line Connecting
Leeds
Manchester
Liverpool

This connects up far more people in a far better way for the same line length than the current HS2 plans do.

Just a thought.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 05 October 2013 10:23 PM
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jarathoon

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Going to Leicester is could be useful in the future if trains cannot be easily routed via Crossrail to Stratford and HS1 from Old Oak Common.

If the fast St Pancras line from Leicester via Bedford and Luton is upgraded and electrified, trains can run that way from Leeds Manchester and Sheffield in order to directly transfer people to HS1 that way.

The connection at Rugby would allow trains to run from Birmingham International via Coventry to London Paddington /Old Oak Common to get the Heathrow.

It also allows people from Milton Keynes to use the new line northwards to Sheffield etc.

Connections with the Oxford classic line near Banbury would allow trains to go straight down to Oxford, Swindon, Reading and Southampton, in that way bypassing London.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 05 October 2013 11:57 PM
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jarathoon

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Airport to Airport Rail Connections

Manchester and Liverpool Airports
Quicker transpennine connections Sheffield to Manchester/Liverpool and Leeds to Manchester/Liverpool would reduce travel times for people using Manchester and Liverpool Airports,

Travel times Luton Airport/East Midlands Airport and Manchester Airport could be much improved using my plans.

Trains could run from Birmingham International to Heathrow via a short stop at London Paddington/Old Oak Common

Stansted Airport to Heathrow is unaffected. The speeding up of this journey depends very much on how Crossrail is used.

The journey time by rail from St Pancras to Luton is the Same as St Pancras to Heathrow which surprises me. Luton Airport could be better connected to Birmingham International by rebuilding and widening the disused Midland branch line between Northampton and Bedford.

A new line from Bedford to Bishops Stortford via stevenage could provide a link from Birmingham International to Stansted Airport.

Or a new line from Luton Airport to Bishops Stortford / Stansted Airport via Stevenage could link up those two airports directly. If you built such a line, Luton and Stansted could be the shared hub for London with a fast connection between them, in case you needed to transfer. This distance is approx 25 miles as the crow flies, at over 80 mph it would take under 20 minutes to travel between the two.

Just a few thoughts


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James Arathoon
 06 October 2013 02:41 AM
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jarathoon

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The dream team appointment that breaks all the rules...

"Government accused of breaking strict Civil Service rules in its rushed appointment of Sir David Higgins"

"One senior rail source said that "every Civil Service rule in the book has been broken". Even Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the powerful Public Accounts Committee, who is supportive of Sir David's "fantastic" record, told The Independent on Sunday that it "would have been better to have handled the process properly" and that the appointment had been made in a "panic". "

Since Sir David Higgins doesn't formally take up the role in January 2016, I suspect he is going to have to step down and go through a formal selection process, just like the rest of us would have to.

"Sir David Normington, Commissioner for Public Appointments, agreed that HS2 could hire Sir David without a competition to "ensure a smooth and swift transition", which is allowable in exceptional circumstances."

Since Sir David Higgins appointment is neither "smooth" nor "swift" I suspect even if Sir David Normington doesn't want to object, a judge might...

There is plenty of equal opportunities and anti-discrimination law out there, to use in asking for a judicial review...

Creating a fairer and more equal society

"The Equality Act 2010 bans unfair treatment and helps achieve equal opportunities in the workplace and in wider society. The Act prohibits unfair treatment in access to employment and private and public services regardless of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation."

No one asked me or anyone else in the IET if we wanted to apply for the job...

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 06 October 2013 11:48 AM
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westonpa

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Originally posted by: jarathoon
"Government accused of breaking strict Civil Service rules in its rushed appointment of Sir David Higgins" "One senior rail source said that "every Civil Service rule in the book has been broken".

Rules and codes only apply to those lower down in the food chain.
Even Margaret Hodge, chairwoman of the powerful Public Accounts Committee, who is supportive of Sir David's "fantastic" record, told The Independent on Sunday that it "would have been better to have handled the process properly" and that the appointment had been made in a "panic". "

And so what exactly has this powerful committee achieved? Did it stop these codes and rules being broken? Have they had the decision reversed?
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/fin...erated-in-the-UK.html

"Margaret Hodge's family company pays just 0.01pc tax on £2.1bn of business generated in the UK"

That's our leader of the public accounts committee and that's what is wrong with the Parliamentry system today.

Since Sir David Higgins doesn't formally take up the role in January 2016, I suspect he is going to have to step down and go through a formal selection process, just like the rest of us would have to.

Of course.

"Sir David Normington, Commissioner for Public Appointments, agreed that HS2 could hire Sir David without a competition to "ensure a smooth and swift transition", which is allowable in exceptional circumstances."

Yes I see the same thing in some companies I have worked for, they implement codes and rules and then put in place conditions under which they can be broken. Then they wonder why these codes and rules are not followed and things go wrong.
There is plenty of equal opportunities and anti-discrimination law out there, to use in asking for a judicial review...

James, these laws only apply to those at the lower end of the food chain.
No one asked me or anyone else in the IET if we wanted to apply for the job...


That's because you are not supporting the government approach on things and actually know what you are talking about. Much better to get a 'Sir' in place and who can play the game and take his high wage no matter what and then end up in the Lords at a later date.

This is why the project will be at the top end with regards to costs or else will be cut back to meet the budget or else will not deliver what has been 'promised'.......there will be no sanction and rules and codes will be broken and semantics will be used to justify it.

Sorry James, you have presented proposals which make sense, now do please be quiet. Be careful because from what I hear GCHQ are now working with the NSA and your location has been established and the route has now been diverted so that the line runs through your garden. Choo Choo

Regards.

Edited: 06 October 2013 at 11:56 AM by westonpa
 06 October 2013 01:29 PM
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jarathoon

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Originally posted by: westonpa

Be careful because from what I hear GCHQ are now working with the NSA and your location has been established and the route has now been diverted so that the line runs through your garden.



To just go through the garden would require an East-West line. The movers and shakers don't like East-West directed lines not directly heading into London; so in this rare instance I would have them working behind the scenes and in secret to stop this.

But I think your point really was about keeping a sense of humour in what I write. I really try to keep my sense of humour going, it just sometimes disappears for awhile unexpectedly and without warning...

Regarding GCHQ and communications interception; in fact in some ways I much prefer things now to how things used to be.

When I had my mail intercepted, delayed and tampered with as a young student in the late 80's for weeks on end (which could only be for writing a article on green issues in a student newspaper) I must admit that really annoyed me, especially as government policy changed in the direction I argued for anyway!

But nowadays communications interception is so much more civilised, you're barely aware that it is happening...all the same I would love to see my MI5 file one day when I am old, God willing !

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 06 October 2013 02:06 PM
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westonpa

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The points you make are serious, as are some of mine. At the end was part humour. Let's not forget Dr David Kelly if you ever want to remember how senior politicians will push things through and how they will neither concern too much for codes, rules or morals. My point is that no matter how much you argue or how well you make your points the decision has already been made and no matter what the outcome of it finally nowt will change, because each and everyone involved gains from either success or failure.

HS2 is happening, the decision has been made and Labour have 'quietly' put enough in the press which they can refer back to 'as we were against it and it was not our fault' if they need to but which is quiet enough such they can completely forget it if the project turns out to be successful....politicians eh!

Regards.
 06 October 2013 04:41 PM
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jarathoon

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When I was a young boy I drew elaborate diagrams of model train layouts and imagined how they would work, because the amount of hand me down track and rolling stock I had available didn't meet the needs of my imagination.

The thing is we now have £50 billion set aside now to transform the railway network of Britain. You can't blame me for imagining what we could do with this money if it were spent a little differently.

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James Arathoon
 06 October 2013 08:05 PM
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jencam

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What I want to know is what will happen to HS2 if it is built but then goes bust because it is unable to sell tickets at a price that is affordable to a sufficient number of passengers in order to pay off its debts. Will the government bail it out with taxpayer's money? Will it join the ranks of Concorde and NS Savannah?
 07 October 2013 11:08 AM
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jarathoon

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I have just sent an email to the Commissioner for Public Appointments


I spoke to you this morning in relation to the recent appointment of Sir David Higgins as Chairman of HS2 Ltd (a public authority).

The independent is claiming that Sir David Higgins was appointed without a open selection process occurring, which would have allowed full open competition, allowing women and ethnic minority candidates amongst others to apply.

http://www.independent.co.uk/n...-higgins-8861306.html

"Government accused of breaking strict Civil Service rules in its rushed appointment of Sir David Higgins"

Can you please tell me if the commissioner is going to review the process that led to Sir David Higgins' appointment, in regards to whether equal opportunities legislation and civil service or public appointment rules (which ever apply in this case) have been complied with?

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/creating-a-fairer-and-more-equal-society


In the independent it quotes the Sir David Normington, the Commissioner for Public Appointments

"Sir David Normington, Commissioner for Public Appointments, agreed that HS2 could hire Sir David without a competition to "ensure a smooth and swift transition", which is allowable in exceptional circumstances."

Since the new Chairman won't be taking up his position until the New Year, the transition in terms of the Chairmanship of HS2 will in my view be neither "smooth" (i.e. without visible interruption) nor "swift" (i.e. having to take place within a such a short emergency timescale that it precludes open competition).

Sir David Higgins' appointment does not seem to be occurring in exceptional circumstances that could justify precluding women and ethnic minority candidates amongst others from applying. The construction work has not even started yet. (I say this simply because in the Independent there is only a list of men given as other possible candidates. I am just willing to consider the possibility that their are women and ethnic minority candidates who would may wish to put their name forward if given the opportunity to apply for the job.)

Can you also let me know whether or not the decision of the Commissioner for Public Appointments would be open to judicial review if an open selection process has not happened and he either decides no investigation or review is required or in reviewing the appointment he deems that "exceptional circumstances" apply in this case?

Best Regards,

James Arathoon


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James Arathoon
 07 October 2013 12:24 PM
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jarathoon

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Originally posted by: jencam

What I want to know is what will happen to HS2 if it is built but then goes bust because it is unable to sell tickets at a price that is affordable to a sufficient number of passengers in order to pay off its debts. Will the government bail it out with taxpayer's money? Will it join the ranks of Concorde and NS Savannah?


The government seems to have a policy of removing subsidy from the railways where it can.

I think the business plans of HS2 should tell us what the train fares (peak and off-peak) are likely to be on the new routes built (with and without any subsidy) given a particular budgetary plan.

If the costs end up being equivalent to each passenger taking their own taxi, then further questions need to be asked as to whether or not the investment is justified and whether or not the money could be spent better in a different way.

In January 2013 it was announced that there would be a £500 million electrification of the midland mainline between Bedford and Sheffield, with a further £458m being spent on upgrading the southern end of the line.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-20938620

This is why I think using existing rail corridors as much as possible will lead to drastic cost savings if capacity and connectivity is the main issues rather than speed.

I think there should be a strategic infrastructure plan that integrates rail, air, road and canal transport.

If Luton is going to be our next generation hub airport, then it would make sense to make a new connection between the St Pancras line and the Paddington line, so that airport trains from Luton could arrive into Paddington and head straight out to Heathrow for services that still remain there.

I think the HS2 project seems to be being worked on as if no other investment is happening or needs to happen on the existing Network. That is not a sustainable policy if maximising capacity and connectivity is the new goal rather than just speed.

James Arathoon


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James Arathoon
 08 October 2013 04:37 PM
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jarathoon

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The website for the Commissioner for Public Appointments is here

http://publicappointmentscommi...r.independent.gov.uk/

Some exerpts from David Normington's Speech at the UK launch of "Women on Boards"

"As you've heard, my title is Commissioner for Public Appointments. I sometimes think it sounds like something straight out of the 19th century. But in fact it is a role created in 1995 with the aim of shifting appointments to boards of public bodies away from a system based on personal and political patronage to a system which is fairer, more open and more transparent. In short a shift to appointments based less on who you know and more on what you can do and have done."

"This is a statutory role. I have a legal duty to promote appointments on merit on the basis of a fair and open process. I cover most appointments which are made by Government Ministers to public bodies - everything from the British Museum to the BBC, from the Arts Council to the Chief Inspector of Schools. That is just over 1,700 appointments a year at the last count."

This is the Code of Practice

Apparently it does apply to people with titles and honours, and those who went to the top public schools, just as much as it applies to the plebeians.

I am told I will be receiving a reply to my email within 3 days, which would allow time to run an open competition, with a publicly available job description, and with a interview system that fairly assesses the suitability of all candidates that apply, against a common set of pre-established selection criteria.


I will the final few paragraph's of Sir David Normington's Speech at the UK launch of Women on Boards to finish...

"There are three things [Chairs of companies, CEOs, politicians, Permanent Secretaries of Government Departments] could do immediately:

- The first is constantly to challenge role descriptions which reinforce the existing board stereotypes. Have a more open mind about the kind of experience and expertise which will transform the board. If you say you are looking for senior experience at board level in the private sector, don't be surprised if only men apply.

- Secondly, open up your recruitment processes. Be constantly aware of the danger of favouring only the people who the current Board knows - a tendency that can be prevalent even when there is public advertising or a head-hunter is used.

- Thirdly, put someone onto the selection panel who really can challenge the current chair, or the Minister or the CEO, who will very likely be a man and have very fixed views about who is suitable.

Finally, this is not an argument for putting unsuitable and inexperienced people on boards. But it is an argument for thinking completely differently about what suitability and experience might look like. And then signalling to the organisation that things need to change."


Sir David Normington we are all now waiting in anticipation for your signal.

James Arathoon

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James Arathoon
 10 October 2013 11:15 PM
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jarathoon

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Since Sir David Normington hasn't replied to my email yet, let's take the time to look again at the economics of HS2. That is take time while the elite male Civil Servants in the Cabinet Office work out how they can still appoint each other to highly paid government posts without interview and without competition from women and ethnic minorities, whilst at the same time trying somehow avoid Sir David Normington looking complete and utter hypocrite.

Back to HS2 Economics and Engineering...

The cost of HS2 Phase one and two is projected to be £42.6 billion at 2011 prices (not including the trains which have to be financed separately).

http://www.hs2.org.uk/about-hs...res/route-trains-cost

Now lets assume the government can borrow this money on a 25 year term repayment mortgage of 3%.

That's 25 years to pay off £42.6 billion with interest at 3%. That roughly comes out at £2.5 billion a year in capital and interest repayments when you run the numbers.

The Office of Rail Regulation has a pdf document on its website entitled "GB rail industry financial information 2011-12"

http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/upl...b-financials-2012.pdf

On page 33 it gives a summary of income, expenditure and government funding in 2011-2012

If you look at the total income for Network Rail from all the franchises it is £6.246 billion

£2.5 billion roughly equates to the income (including government subsidies) from the following franchises (i.e. without adding on charges to run the line and stations)

Chiltern £128 million
East Coast £318 million
West Coast £494 million
Northern £544 million
Cross Country £401 million
Greater Western £554 million

Total £2.439 billion

The total income in 2011-12 from Franchised train operator access charges from the whole rail network was £1.7 billion. £800 million less than Network Rail would need to pay the HS2 loan interest charges each year.

The total passenger income from those 6 franchises is £2.858 billion. £350 million more than the HS2 interst bill.

Therefore if we take all the passenger income from these six franchises we just about pay the loan repayments on the new line costs (i.e. without adding in the cost of the trains and the people needed to run them)

So you don't have to be a genius to realise that economics of HS2 just doesn't add up, unless that is, ticket prices are a lot lot higher than for the equivalent journeys today or unless huge government subsidies are forthcoming for HS2 and for the franchises that lose business to it.

The danger is that the economics of HS2 are so bad that the project will rip away desperately needed investment from the rest of the network.

I know engineers on the HS2 project don't like engineers like me (who have only worked for the railway industry in a research and development role) telling them they are living in cloud cookoo land.

But here is the evidence in black and white (evidence compiled by the office of the rail regulator no less); evicence which allows me to say to with absolute confidence (as an engineer) to Tim Smart, Head of Engineering and Operations at HS2, together with the rest his engineering team - force a project redesign and rethink or alternatively resign and let a team of real engineers replace you.

James Arathoon


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James Arathoon
 12 October 2013 01:32 PM
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jarathoon

Posts: 1041
Joined: 05 September 2004

The Rugby Pinch Point

At the moment 6 lines come into Rugby from the North West, (4 west cost mainline from Nuneaton and 2 from Coventry) and the west coast mainline 4 only coming out, giving a pinch point.

If I add two more from Banbury and two more heading north to Leicester (that gives 8 coming in from the north and 6 going out to the south.

If you wanted to balance things up fully you could add a new four track coming south 2 lines going towards Banbury and two towards Aylesbury.

This would allow more people to travel south from Leicester without clogging up the Midland Mainline commuter lines from Bedford to London.

So with two more tracks heading up to Leicester station, you will need the full four tracks running through Leicester (instead of 3)

This four track runs up to the Long Eaton Junction, and onwards up to Sheffield.

I've given up on the idea of taking a new line into Nottingham as this would be too expensive, so both Nottingham and Derby would be diversions off the 4 track main line running up the middle between them to Chesterfield, then Sheffield.

If there is a congestion problem between Nottingham and Leicester then the case could be perhaps made for an additional light railway link between the two cities at a later date.

Remember the Midland Mainline north of Leicester is being upgraded and electrified under a different budget.

The more I think about this, the less I think we need to spend.

James Arathoon



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James Arathoon
IET » Transport engineering » E&T magazine - Debate - HS2, the need for speed

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