31 Jan 2014

HS2 benefits 'made up', economists tell MPs

Government calculations used to justify the £50 billion HS2 scheme were “essentially made up” a former member of Whitehall’s high speed rail advisory panel has told MPs.

Henry Overman, professor of economic geography at the London School of Economics said he had quit the panel after he felt its role had changed from providing independent advice to promoting the project.

Article in Daily Telegraph.

30 Jan 2014

Transport Secretary blocks HS2 report

The transport secretary has blocked the release of a sensitive report believed to undermine the case for the proposed high-speed rail network. Patrick McLoughlin took the unusual step of vetoing the publication of a November 2011 review by the Major Projects Authority, despite the information commissioner saying it should be released after Freedom of Information requests. Read more here.

2 Jan 2014

Government to pay to convert 1st class vehicles to standard

Patrick McLoughlin, the transport secretary, is preparing to pay millions of pounds to turn first-class vehicles to standard-class on First Great Western trains operating into and out of London’s Paddington station.

The simple answer to this is to have a reasonable standard seating density in a single type of vehicle and change the class designation as required. A mark 3 coach will accommodate 76 passengers and their luggage comfortably, which was the arrangement before their most recent refurbishment. The virtual image above illustrates an interior with a mixture of facing bays and airline seating. This gives the same number of seats in a slightly shorter vehicle than the mark three, which could therefore be slightly wider, built almost to the full width of the loading gauge.