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New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?
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Old 07-01-2012, 12:23   #1
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New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

Quote:
Business leaders have joined union bosses in urging the government to push ahead with plans for a high-speed rail link between London and Birmingham.
The move comes as a government-commissioned report out today gave the clearest indication yet that the proposed £32bn project will be given the go ahead.
The 100-mile rail link, due to be completed between 2016 and 2026, aims to cut the journey time between the two cities to 49 minutes.
http://news.sky.com/home/business/article/16144165

Given the cost of building this and the high cost of rail travel in general is this new link going to be worth the time and money invested just to cut 1/2 hr of journey time between birmingham and london .Yes i know it will create jobs but could that money be used more wisely in other more meaningful infrastructure projects
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Old 07-01-2012, 13:24   #2
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

I think building infrastructure is a good idea but I can't help thinking the final cost of this project will mushroom out of control and that because of that the price of using the service will be beyond most people's reach and require massive subsidies to make affordable. A sort of state owned Concord on tracks if you like but with relatively minor journey time savings.
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Old 07-01-2012, 13:32   #3
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

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Originally Posted by Osem View Post
I think building infrastructure is a good idea but I can't help thinking the final cost of this project will mushroom out of control and that because of that the price of using the service will be beyond most people's reach and require massive subsidies to make affordable. A sort of state owned Concord on tracks if you like but with relatively minor journey time savings.

As with all government projects the final figure will be think of a number and double it .My main concern is spending that kind of money on about 100miles of new track ,i just don't think it will be worth the saved 1/2 hr travel time
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Old 07-01-2012, 13:58   #4
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

While I'd agree that a massive expansion of social housing would currently seem like a better use of resources to get the UK economy back into shape, we need to be thinking far more long-term.

In 20 or 30 years, when accessible petrol and diesel supplies have been exhausted and private car owners can't afford the rocketing price of hydrogen, perhaps our grandchildren will thank us for investing in extra train lines?
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Old 07-01-2012, 14:07   #5
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

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Originally Posted by martyh View Post
As with all government projects the final figure will be think of a number and double it .My main concern is spending that kind of money on about 100miles of new track ,i just don't think it will be worth the saved 1/2 hr travel time
While the reduced travel time will help widen the commutable belt around London and hopefully take a little housing pressure off the southeast, the main benefit of building the stretch to Bitmingham is that it is essential to get that in first if the line is ultimately going to get to Manchester and, hopefully, Scotland.

Sadly the project is already subject to a lot of typically British short-term ism, nimbyism and general whingeing. Frankly this is the sort of large-scale infrastructure project we should be pursuing to the greatest possible extent, now of all times.
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Old 07-01-2012, 14:25   #6
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

I think we all agree the cost of this is going to be huge but unless it's affordable then it won't be fully utilised will it? It seems to me that the only option will be for the line to be subsidised in some way and that opens up all sorts of problems both with the taxpayer and the various other rail franchises which aren't subsidised but may suffer competitive disadvantage in one form or another. IMHO the railways should be state owned but even that's proved hugely troublesome in the past as we all know.

Set against a backdrop of already soaring rail fares, I can't see how the maths for this adds up.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-16390608

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Rail fares have gone up again, leading to claims that Britain has the most expensive trains in Europe, if not the world. So what is Britain's most expensive stretch of railway?
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Old 07-01-2012, 14:38   #7
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

No, there's been absolutely no persuasive evidence that this is worthwhile.

It'll be immensely expensive to travel on, a rich persons' railway paid for by every tax payer.

It's the Tories' vanity project, nothing more. Far cheaper works would deliver results far quicker and with far higher value.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Speed_2#Journey_times
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Old 07-01-2012, 14:47   #8
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

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Originally Posted by Chris View Post
While the reduced travel time will help widen the commutable belt around London and hopefully take a little housing pressure off the southeast, the main benefit of building the stretch to Bitmingham is that it is essential to get that in first if the line is ultimately going to get to Manchester and, hopefully, Scotland.

Sadly the project is already subject to a lot of typically British short-term ism, nimbyism and general whingeing. Frankly this is the sort of large-scale infrastructure project we should be pursuing to the greatest possible extent, now of all times.
Is the need going to be there though?.More and more people are moving towards working from home or at least a base outside of london .Would it not be better for the government to invest heavily in fibre optic BB to assist this than a limited train service that will only benefit a few .I am more inclined to think that a better line from Scotland to Birmingham may be more beneficial .
I don't use trains anymore so my views are that of a person looking from the outside .Regular comuters may of course feel totally different
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Old 07-01-2012, 15:08   #9
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

Last night on Iain Dales phone in show on LBC radio he was taking calls on this subject,a train driver who works on national rail phoned in he was saying he thought it wasteful to build this line,he was saying a lot of the current lines are in such a state of repair that there is a lot of speed restrictions over the current network being applied,for instance over many sections of lines trains go at 40-50 mph instead of the faster speeds they are capable of.

He suggested that the money be spent on the current network to allow trains to travel faster on the infrastructure we now have,instead of ripping up more countryside to build a line where possibly its not needed.

His idea sounded good to me and as a driver he must have some idea.
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Old 07-01-2012, 15:30   #10
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

Sorry, that's like saying a bus driver should be the source of knowledge on national Motorway Infrastructure and traffic patterns and flows, imho.
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Old 07-01-2012, 15:36   #11
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

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Originally Posted by richard1960 View Post
Last night on Iain Dales phone in show on LBC radio he was taking calls on this subject,a train driver who works on national rail phoned in he was saying he thought it wasteful to build this line,he was saying a lot of the current lines are in such a state of repair that there is a lot of speed restrictions over the current network being applied,for instance over many sections of lines trains go at 40-50 mph instead of the faster speeds they are capable of.

He suggested that the money be spent on the current network to allow trains to travel faster on the infrastructure we now have,instead of ripping up more countryside to build a line where possibly its not needed.

His idea sounded good to me and as a driver he must have some idea.
for years the network has had to adopt a "patch and make do" approach ,this was largely due to financial restrictions .Now that finance will be available for a new line ,upto 32billion over about 15yrs i agree that existing lines could and should be upgraded instead to give us a quality network nationwide instead of a quality line used by a few
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Old 07-01-2012, 15:37   #12
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

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Originally Posted by Hugh View Post
Sorry, that's like saying a bus driver should be the source of knowledge on national Motorway Infrastructure and traffic patterns and flows, imho.
Not quite Hugh this driver obviously drives over large sections of rail infrastructure and i do not think you can dismiss his views so easily where speed restrictons apply,i travel on the Norwich section of line and can tell you the train on that line has lots of speed restrictions alone.

Its is anknowledged that rail investment is not what it should be,by upgrading the current infrastructure it may be possible to shave 20 mins off the journey times now without the need for a posssible white elephant.

Has a review been done to find out if upgrading of the current network would do the trick i wonder.

Or is this a project to leave a "legacy" for the government minister concerned.
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Old 07-01-2012, 15:39   #13
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

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Originally Posted by Hugh View Post
Sorry, that's like saying a bus driver should be the source of knowledge on national Motorway Infrastructure and traffic patterns and flows, imho.
but the same driver will know how fast his bus can go on a poor road ,equally a train will know when the speed has been restricted because of poor line quality
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Old 07-01-2012, 15:45   #14
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by martyh View Post
for years the network has had to adopt a "patch and make do" approach ,this was largely due to financial restrictions .Now that finance will be available for a new line ,upto 32billion over about 15yrs i agree that existing lines could and should be upgraded instead to give us a quality network nationwide instead of a quality line used by a few
Yes i think you are right i would not mind so much if all that had been done to maximise the existing infrastructure had been but it seems more could be done for that sort of money without ripping an area of outstanding natural beauty up.


And yes it may be a line for the well off only to use at a high cost,but in order to shave just 20-30 mins off a journey that may well be possible with the money spent within the existing structure.
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Old 07-01-2012, 16:08   #15
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Re: New high speed rail link ...is it worth it ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by richard1960 View Post
Not quite Hugh this driver obviously drives over large sections of rail infrastructure and i do not think you can dismiss his views so easily where speed restrictons apply,i travel on the Norwich section of line and can tell you the train on that line has lots of speed restrictions alone.

Its is anknowledged that rail investment is not what it should be,by upgrading the current infrastructure it may be possible to shave 20 mins off the journey times now without the need for a posssible white elephant.

Has a review been done to find out if upgrading of the current network would do the trick i wonder.

Or is this a project to leave a "legacy" for the government minister concerned.
Sorry, I didn't explain myself very well.

I would expect the train driver/bus driver to know the tactical impact of issues (slow trains, hold-ups and delays), but not the strategic reasons for them (major infrastructure refreshes required, the difference in costs between upgrading/making do/completely rebuilding), or the political, economic, and social impact of any of those options, and the prioritisation of those.

It can often cost more to try and upgrade existing lines, with the impact on services whilst those upgrades are happening, than to build new. For instance, we just had to decide between refreshing/upgrading a 12 year old datacentre, or outsource, or build new (we actually built new, and it was cheaper than refreshing, without the risk of the centre upgrade negatively affecting existing systems and services - now we have implemented this, we can refresh the old one for Disaster Recovery).

I see the HS2 as the equivalent of the Motorway system - most people said we didn't need it, but where would we be without it now?
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