17 Feb 2012

Camden Council seeking judical review

Camden Council has joined campaigners in seeking a judicial review of HS2 because of its effects on homes and businesses, hundreds of which will be demolished to make way for the project.

One of the arguments for HS2 has been that the upgrading of the West Coast Main Line was so disruptive that a brand new railway was a better option. It now turns out that the rebuilding of Euston Station is a much bigger project than the public has been led to believe, and it too will be severely disrupt services on the WCML for several years.

Full article in Rail Technology Magazine here.

Have the supporters of HS2 been pulling the wool over everyone's eyes?

16 Feb 2012

HS2 - exactly what is not required

Google maps
80% of Britain's population lives within an area south of Leeds-Manchester and east of the Welsh border. Most of the rest is concentrated into two outliers, the Newcastle-Sunderland and Edinburgh-Glasgow conurbations.

The largest conurbation in Britain is Greater London, which can be defined in various ways, such as the area inside the M25. However, as an economic area, it can be considered to take in Reading, Oxford, Luton, Cambridge, Southend and Brighton. The second conurbation is that centred on Birmingham, whilst the third takes in Liverpool, Manchester, and arguably, Leeds. In between the conurbations are numerous towns with populations of between 100,000 and 250,000, roughly 30 miles apart. Since 1960, the tendency has been for these places to spread and join up, so that, for example, it could be argued that London and Birmingham are on the way to becoming a single conurbation. Also since 1960, the predominant forms of residential and commercial development have been on the assumption that they will have access by private car. Thus, in order to get to work and maintain their job opportunties, as well as to perform regular household tasks like shopping, people have been obliged to run one, and often more, cars per household, leading to very high levels of car ownership and use.

Such a pattern of development gives rise to a particular pattern of travel, with a myriad of different journeys being made, many of which would be very difficult to serve by public transport in any form. Nevertheless, people are continuing to live and work in towns and their travel habits could be catered for by public transport if the services were available. What is needed here is a system that provides the maximum journey opportunities. A high speed line between major centres, not stopping en route, is exactly what is not required. The right configuration is not a trunk but a net. Much of this could be achieved by reinstating lines closed under Beeching, with good connections where the routes cross.

If there is a case for high speed rail at all, it is to serve the outlying centres of Tyne and Wear, and the Scottish lowland belt. To maximise the benefit, construction should start from Scotland, where the obstacles are fewest, the potential benefits greatest, and where the routes could be brought into revenue-earning use long before 2026.

One has to wonder what kind of planning methodology was used to generate this proposal?

Judicial review threat

Opponents of HS2 are now going down the route of judicial review. It will be interesting to see how the case is presented.

In my view, has come about for a host of wrong reasons, which in turn points to fundamental flaws in the whole way that the decision was made. Whether this is grounds for judicial review is another matter. I shall discuss the underlying issue in my next post.

4 Feb 2012

British train ticket

British train ticket, originally uploaded by Henry░Law.

This credit-card size ticket format is convenient but the information on it could be presented more clearly. The important things such as the destination, ticket type and the dates of validity should be in bigger type.