This article is by Madeleine Wahlberg. In a recent announcement Cameron said The rest of the world is getting on board the high-speed rail revolution and it is right that we should too. Hansard 6 Mar 2013: Column 958 What he doesn t seem to have noticed is that actually much of Europe has slammed on the brakes of HSR.
You can search on the STOP HS2 site for the many blogs that have tracked the details of this withdrawal from HSR. Here is an update on two recent interesting political developments in Europe that are relevant to learning lessons from Europe. Firstly, the Italian elections resulted in No TAV supporters being elected into the Parliament and the Senate; and Mario Monti, who was the front man for the lobbyists in favour of the controversial Turin Lyon line, has been deposed.
No TAV are the Italian group who have been opposing the Turin Lyon HSR proposal for over 22 years. This election was a clear rejection of Monti (who had never been elected) and we should remember that HS2 was first promoted within the Labour Government by someone who was also never elected Adonis who still lobbies heavily for HS2. Perhaps if he ever actually stood for election, he would find that he got the same treatment as Monti.
These unelected technocrats will do all they can to pretend that HSR is just a rational issue of so called hard facts about capacity crises, but voters know different! The obstinate facts about the Turin Lyon case are that freight traffic on that route is dramatically reducing , fundamentally removing the case for spending billions on a new HSR tunnel (see below for reasons). All that remains is the mafia and developer interests in forcing this useless mega project through, using the good offices of unelected people like Monti.
Well, elections are coming up in May. Cameron has registered the threat of UKIP and Labour might ponder the local impacts of the Green Party the only parliamentary party against HS2. As well as deposing Monti, No TAV are pleased to now have direct representatives in Government (from Five Star and Left Ecology and Freedom parties).
In HS2 s case we find too many MPs who are willing to totally agree in private that HS2 is desperately wrong for the country that it is not just a case of tinkering with compensation but they are not yet willing to vote accordingly in Parliament. Time to get representatives with more integrity??? The second piece of news regarding the same Turin Lyon line is that a French Deputy (MP), who has for long supported the case for that line, has now come out categorically against it: you are no longer able to count on me to defend the indefensible .
He should know! The MP is Dominique Dord a member of the Union for a Popular Movement (centre-right, Chirac, Sarkozy party). Here is a link:http://lecercle.lesechos.fr/economie-societe/international/europe/221166617/lyon-turin-desormais-sans-moi Dord spells out how the legitimation of the Turin-Lyon line is based on completely bogus figures for the projected growth in freight transport.
Firstly there are problems about the methods that were used for the calculation (30 years ago!). When criticised on this by the Cours de Comptes (translated as the court of auditors, something like a public enquiry), Sarkozy surreally and limply said but they have always been calculated this way . This reminds us of our Department for Transport still failing to respond to critical updating and remodelling of the HS2 capacity figures: Sorry Guv, the figures may be wrong but we ve always done it this way!
The second problem with the freight figures is that the real world hasn t turned out the way the projections assumed. As Dord says, 30 years ago China and India were minor players in the world economy. Something has happened since then and that something means that a huge proportion of the goods trafficked to or through Italy and France now arrive by boat.
And from Genoa and Marseilles they cross the Alps through Switzerland and Austria: They have no reason to transit between Lyon and Turin . Any goods for Northern Europe do not transit through France and Italy they go by boat to Dutch and German ports. Therefore, as a matter of FACT, freight traffic going between Lyon and Turin has radically reduced over the 30 years and not increased by the 300% it was supposed to by those pushing for the new HSR.
And guess what there is an EXISTING train line between Lyon and Turin that operates way below capacity and with a bit of direction and a few incentives could take even more freight off the roads. So there we have it. Powerful interests are still pushing for a scheme based on incompetent modelling and uncorrected assumptions that were made 30 years ago.
Meanwhile, as Dord also says, there are far higher priorities for infrastructure investment and, by the way, something of an economic crisis going on and might it be wise not to waste BILLIONS??? Now then Mr Cameron, these are the lessons that CAN be learned from Europe: Get up to speed on the major re-think about HSR that is going on across the EU. Learn from their mistakes it s truly foolish to make the same mistakes!
Set up a public enquiry to openly establish the need, FULL costs and benefits of HS2.
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See the original post:
STOP HS2 | The real European lesson for Cameron: High speed …
In their January 2012 announcement that High Speed Two would be going ahead, the Department for Transport set expectations that train services on classic rail would be improved as a result. High speed rail will bring a wide range of benefits including: Released space on the conventional railway for new commuter, regional and freight services Analysis by rail experts paints a different picture. Amongst the stations identified that would have a less frequent (classic) service once HS2 is introduced are the following: Coventry Stoke-on-Trent Warrington Wigan Wilmslow Stockport Leicester Chesterfield Wakefield Furthermore 16 stations would experience extended journey times on classic rail following the introduction of HS2.
More details are available here: http://stophs2.org/news/6496-mcloughlin-ignores-wcml-warnings-hs2-forgets-mention-planned-7bn-service-cuts Further investigation reveals other stations will also experience less frequent services. Alongside each is the percentage reduction in the number of direct train services to/from London compared to current services. Hemel Hempstead 15% Berkhamsted 14% Northampton 22% Wolverhampton 33% Each of the stations listed above handled one million or more passengers in the year 2010/11 according to data from the Office of Rail Regulation.
There will be other stations losing out with smaller passenger numbers. Existing train services have been taken from 2012 timetables and anticipated future services have been taken from the Demand and Appraisal Report published in April 2012 which is available from the HS2 Ltd website. Communication with Northamptonshire County Council has indicated that the latter document is a reliable source of information.
http://stophs2.org/news/6865-post-hs2-classic-rail-not-fit-purpose Project 110 will introduce faster commuter trains (110 mph) and more frequent services at peak times for users of London Midland. From May 2014, morning peak time capacity will be increased by 10% and evening peak time capacity by 20%. So in 2026, rail travellers from Northampton will see even bigger decreases in service frequency than those indicated in the previous paragraph.
The bad news does not stop there. Since the Demand and Appraisal Report was last published, the DfT has revised the HS2 business case. In doing so, it has increased the efficiency improvements (service cuts) from 5.1 billion to 7.7 billion i.e.
by approximately 50%. So there will be even more cuts to services on classic rail than those already listed. Are we not having expectations set by the DfT concerning classic rail services which will simply not be delivered?
Andrew Bodman Possibly related posts: