Benefits of High Speed Rail project exaggerated, secret report reveals

A Southern Train is scheduled to run between Bletchley and Bedford at 18:31 every weekday evening. The next train between the two is not until 20:00(ish).

There's a WMR Brum to London service scheduled to land at Bletchley at 18:27, usually on the other side of the same platform, always carrying a substantial number of folk headed for Bedford.

I've seen Bedford passengers running the few metres from the slightly delayed WMR service towards the open doors of the 18:31, only to find the conductor (who could see the same thing because he was stood on the platform with only his arm inside his rearmost car) slamming the doors in their faces and hightailing it on the dot.

That kind of Jobsworth attitude speaks of a disinterested workforce, which in turn is the product of poor leadership IMHO, and as someone put it on another thread recently - the fish rots from the head.
Considering that no services are to be held up for any other and that there are no connecting services anymore, it's not surprising.

Every delay to a service, causes a "Please Explain" form to be filled out and that is for every single minute incurred. If the Driver has already got the road and doesn't accept it, then this has a knock on effect to all other services that are routed through that station/using the same pathway. How many times have you been on a train that has been held outside the station for a length of time?...There are many reasons and the new Siemens stock makes the problems even worse.
 
Closing the doors and achieving interlock, takes a minimum of two minutes and that amount of dwell time is not taken into account in the workings. As this is all computer and sensor led, there is nothing that the guard or driver can do about it.
 
You misunderstand me. There is no viable business case for HS2. Less still as capital costs increase further. Less still again if the project is scaled down to London-Birmingham only (as is likely if the project is not abandoned in its entirety).

That the savings made by the cancellation of the HS2 project are not guaranteed for reallocation to other rail improvement projects is not a justification for continuing with HS2. It is still not a viable business case.
There rarely is a viable business case for quantum jumps in capability. The risk element is too great and the rewards are too far down the track to be relevant.

Brunel didn’t have a viable business case for the GWR. How would the UK look today of the great pioneers of railways had only built projects with near-term profit margins?

IMHO the UK can do both. It can improve short haul services and it can build a game changer.
 
In our own exciting HSR news back home...

California will not complete $77 billion high-speed rail project - governor | Reuters

Though, I personally recon, it will happen eventually in the end, in gradual phases over the years. Still there will be a lot of viaducts standing empty across the state for a bit.
You know what niggles me about large infrastructure projects? It's the almost 100% chance of budget overrun/underestimation by eye-watering amounts.

HS2 is a good example, every report has it going up and up. I don't know what it is currently because I haven't read the news about it for three days . . .

The obvious elephant in the room is how it's costed and how the winning bidders add more and more costs knowing full well that it'll be paid. I'm not sure if it's the companies pulling a blinder on every project or the original budget is always artificially low by the relevant Governmental department to sell the concept.

Either way it's a perpetually ongoing ridiculous state of affairs
 
Closing the doors and achieving interlock, takes a minimum of two minutes and that amount of dwell time is not taken into account in the workings. As this is all computer and sensor led, there is nothing that the guard or driver can do about it.
Well, every day a skuleday and all that, but I'm surprised: I'm pretty sure WMR scheduling shows a 2 minute interval between arrive and depart at all stops save those where the service is split/recoupled at beginning/end of the daily rush hours, and I'm tempted to put a stopwatch on the door closing process on my way home tonight.

If the schedules don't reflect the actual operating times of the equipment in use - particularly given the precision you can get using sensors - well, that way madness lies.
 
That's true: but I've yet to see anything remotely persuasive that says shuttling folks faster between the big smoke and the sticks is likely to represent such a quantum jump.
HS2 isn’t just about shuttling people between the big smoke and the sticks.

HS2 is about shuttling people between big smoke to big smoke. Ideally big smoke in one country to big smoke to another country. (I’ll give you a clue, find out what HS1 is.)

The added benefit of HS2 is it relieves pressure on the big smoke to the sticks as a portion of the bigger intercity trains aren’t using local lines that are based on Victorian infrastructure that only factored in trains of a certain height or length.
 
Well, every day a skuleday and all that, but I'm surprised: I'm pretty sure WMR scheduling shows a 2 minute interval between arrive and depart at all stops save those where the service is split/recoupled at beginning/end of the daily rush hours, and I'm tempted to put a stopwatch on the door closing process on my way home tonight.

If the schedules don't reflect the actual operating times of the equipment in use - particularly given the precision you can get using sensors - well, that way madness lies.
That would be the standard time from doors being released (Button lights up and door activated to passenger use) and to closing, gaining interlock and taking traction. With the additional 2 minutes, that would be a 4 minute dwell time at best and if it's a stopper, then all those 2 minutes make for a big delay at final stop.
 
Brunel didn’t have a viable business case for the GWR. How would the UK look today of the great pioneers of railways had only built projects with near-term profit margins?
That's exactly what they did, because they had to persuade financing shareholders that there would be a profit.

Everyone mentions Brunel whilst forgetting the many great Victorian business failures (of which I K Brunel's Thames Tunnel could be counted as one).

The difference is that during the Victorian era the proper rules of capitalism applied. A venture would be incepted and private subscription was sought in order to finance it. On the occasions that the projected costs fell short of what was actually required, the company could go back to the shareholders and ask for more. The shareholders would either support this or not. If the venture succeeded, the public would benefit from the service and the subscribers would benefit financially from the returns. If it failed, the private subscribers lost their shirts and the operating company might go bust.

In today's model, the taxpayer (without their agreement) finances the initiative, either directly through borrowing, or through a PFI, or a combination of both. If there is a shortfall, a further call(s) is made upon the public purse, which will always be met. Knowing this to be the case, contractors can be as inefficient, wasteful and profligate as they wish.

In the case of HS2, completion of the project will be of limited benefit to the public (many of whom will be unable to use it). If it it cannot meet its own operating costs (which is probable as few railways do) it will look to the public purse for further and continuing operating subsidies.

Once it has gone past a certain threshold, the project will not be allowed to fail. That is not the sort of capitalism that either Brunel would recognise.
 
The obvious elephant in the room is how it's costed and how the winning bidders add more and more costs knowing full well that it'll be paid. I'm not sure if it's the companies pulling a blinder on every project or the original budget is always artificially low by the relevant Governmental department to sell the concept.
I recon it's probably a bit of both. Investments in infrastructure is not sexy, even when needed and hard to sell to general populace, When you throw billions of dollars of budget for a project which will also involve uprooting some people from their homes, it's not an easy sell.

But at the same time you know progress has to be made, and certain projects (like HSR) will need to be implemented to stay current and help the economy and people in the long run. So there is, I recon, a certain quid pro quo going on between the companies and the govt's. And the U.S. has been desperate for HSR for so long in certain corridors - like the LA to San Fran CA route. The traffic is horrendous and airports now take too much time, in the long run, if you price it right it will pay off.

Sometimes, for infrastructure projects, costs shouldn't only be absolute factor.

Don't get me wrong, I hate paying more than necessary and I hate someone saying it will cost only X and then later finding out it will cost Y, more than double but for certain projects sometimes you have to kind of live with it. That said, costing can be much improved, in projects like HS2. What the hell were they thinking?
 
That's exactly what they did, because they had to persuade financing shareholders that there would be a profit.

Everyone mentions Brunel whilst forgetting the many great Victorian business failures (of which I K Brunel's Thames Tunnel could be counted as one).

The difference is that during the Victorian era the proper rules of capitalism applied. A venture would be incepted and private subscription was sought in order to finance it. On the occasions that the projected costs fell short of what was actually required, the company could go back to the shareholders and ask for more. The shareholders would either support this or not. If the venture succeeded, the public would benefit from the service and the subscribers would benefit financially from the returns. If it failed, the private subscribers lost their shirts and the operating company might go bust.

In today's model, the taxpayer (without their agreement) finances the initiative, either directly through borrowing, or through a PFI, or a combination of both. If there is a shortfall, a further call(s) is made upon the public purse, which will always be met. Knowing this to be the case, contractors can be as inefficient, wasteful and profligate as they wish.

In the case of HS2, completion of the project will be of limited benefit to the public (many of whom will be unable to use it). If it it cannot meet its own operating costs (which is probable as few railways do) it will look to the public purse for further and continuing operating subsidies.

Once it has gone past a certain threshold, the project will not be allowed to fail. That is not the sort of capitalism that either Brunel would recognise.
Equally, there was plenty of Victorian infrastructure that was built with public money. And there were commercial relationships between state and industry that we would now recognise as some form of public, private partnership.

Much of London’s Victorian infrastructure was built using taxes raised nationally on coal and wine. The Metropolitan Board of Works was somewhere between what would now be called a QUANGO and a GovCo.

Many Victorian transport improvements required taxation and levies and most involved the vexation of property rights. It’s nothing new.
 
Equally, there was plenty of Victorian infrastructure that was built with public money. And there were commercial relationships between state and industry that we would now recognise as some form of public, private partnership.

Much of London’s Victorian infrastructure was built using taxes raised nationally on coal and wine. The Metropolitan Board of Works was somewhere between what would now be called a QUANGO and a GovCo.

Many Victorian transport improvements required taxation and levies and most involved the vexation of property rights. It’s nothing new.
I think we'll stick to the subject of railways as that is what we are talking about. Victorian and Edwardian railway building was an entirely private, speculative concern predicated, initially, on the carriage of goods. Governmental input was limited to the granting of parliamentary powers to enable works to proceed and inspectorate oversight to ensure that various approved standards were complied with.

Many of the private investors were landowners who stood to gain financially from routes being built across their land, particularly those whose land held valuable mineral and mining rights and industrialists, who would benefit from the speedy transportation of coal, slate, minerals and finished products. These were the same people who had financed the canal building boom of a previous generation.

Parliamentary powers were granted, in many cases, without sufficient consideration being given to the merit of individual schemes. As a result, there was something of a 'goldrush' with much route duplication and many ill-fated ventures resulting.

After a short period of governmental control during WW1, the Railways Act of 1921 was passed to enable the existing dozens of competitively unsustainable and operationally uncoordinated private railway companies to be grouped into four more manageable large companies.

Tax funding and state subsidy of the railway network only took place after nationalisation in 1948 when the railways became the responsibility of government.

The most recent situation is that train operators are predominantly private franchisees, but the infrastructure is owned and managed by Network Rail.
 
I think we'll stick to the subject of railways as that is what we are talking about. Victorian and Edwardian railway building was an entirely private, speculative concern predicated, initially, on the carriage of goods. Governmental input was limited to the granting of parliamentary powers to enable works to proceed and inspectorate oversight to ensure that various approved standards were complied with.

Many of the private investors were landowners who stood to gain financially from routes being built across their land, particularly those whose land held valuable mineral and mining rights and industrialists, who would benefit from the speedy transportation of coal, slate, minerals and finished products. These were the same people who had financed the canal building boom of a previous generation.

Parliamentary powers were granted, in many cases, without sufficient consideration being given to the merit of individual schemes. As a result, there was something of a 'goldrush' with much route duplication and many ill-fated ventures resulting.

After a short period of governmental control during WW1, the Railways Act of 1921 was passed to enable the existing dozens of competitively unsustainable and operationally uncoordinated private railway companies to be grouped into four more manageable large companies.

Tax funding and state subsidy of the railway network only took place after nationalisation in 1948 when the railways became the responsibility of government.

The most recent situation is that train operators are predominantly private franchisees, but the infrastructure is owned and managed by Network Rail.
That is it in a nutshell and why there are railway stations in the middle of nowhere, that have no logic (as is seen in the 21st Century) behind them being there.

That everyone seems to be forgetting, is that there is no money in passenger services; freight is another matter. On top of this, most old routes that were axed, would be virtually impossible to re-open due to the land being built on etc.
 
Closing the doors and achieving interlock, takes a minimum of two minutes and that amount of dwell time is not taken into account in the workings. As this is all computer and sensor led, there is nothing that the guard or driver can do about it.
Just passed through Wolverton and MK Central. From stop moving to start moving again - 60 seconds at both.
 
Closing the doors and achieving interlock, takes a minimum of two minutes and that amount of dwell time is not taken into account in the workings. As this is all computer and sensor led, there is nothing that the guard or driver can do about it.
You need some more guards on the trains.
 

seaweed

LE
Book Reviewer
RIP
I think HS2 should continue in order to realise the far-out benefits - better linkage with Europe, reduction in external and internal flights and internal road use, etc. Many of course will never use it but it will take pressure off what they do use. The analysis needs a hundred year horizon.

As to this four-minute stuff, the fewer the stations the less this matters. You can't have a High Speed link that potters from stop to stop like the Titfield Thunderbolt.
 

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